It Begins (Tomorrow): One Year Alcohol-Free

I am taking myself by surprise here. But I haven’t felt a good fire like this in my belly for awhile and so I know that it’s there for a reason and this is where I am meant to be. Tomorrow, July 5, 2018: the first day of one year alcohol-free. It is ON.

How did I get to this point? I have not hit rock bottom. There was no wake-up call. No emergency that propelled me to jettison myself out of dire straits.

There is just me, my cognitive dissonance, and an opportunity.

I have felt a bit adrift since I completed The Alcohol Experiment on April 30. I thrived within the structure of that program. Writing on each day’s topic focused my general self-care efforts. It was educational, enlightening, rewarding.

And then it was done. And drinking became drinking? and despite my iron-clad non-negotiables, the shadowy possibility of drinking slowly started looming larger and larger over my life.

My days of alcohol-freedom during Dry January and The Alcohol Experiment were chock full of life-changing epiphanies, including the realization of the impact of cognitive dissonance on my daily existence. Liberating myself from that horrible inner conflict of not wanting to drink, but wanting to drink; knowing it’s not good for me, but not being able to resist the emotional boost from pouring that first glass and taking those first few crisp sips before the soul-crippling guilt set in – felt like my brain bursting open with light and love. For reals.

I may not be at rock bottom. I haven’t broken any non-negotiables, though I have blurred the line a few times lately. I haven’t been drunk. I haven’t even had more than two drinks in one day in months. But I want that light and love back. And I want it bad.

It struck me yesterday that this is the next step for me. A whole year alcohol-free, not just 90 days or even six months. It hit me like a firm gut punch. But instead of knocking the wind out of me, my new ab muscles were clenched and ready for it. Instead of gasping for breath, I felt butterflies.

But when to start, I wondered? Should I wait until after my husband’s birthday in a couple of weeks? Should I wait for August 1 so I can start at the beginning of a month? I’ve already missed the #DryJuly boat. Maybe I should wait. It is a whole year, after all…

I logged into Connect and there was the final sign: I hit 1,000 followers. There are 1,000 people I have the opportunity to inspire with my choices, my lifestyle, my words, my pictures. And my 1,000th follower? She goes by the username @doitnowsexy. And that was that.

Do it now, sexy.

Ok, I’ll do it now. I’ll enjoy my last cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc today. I’ll probably also have a final margarita, since those are my two favorite drinks. And, you know, ‘Merica. Happy 4th and all that.

And then tomorrow, July 5, it begins. One year alcohol-free. One year AF. One year AF AF! I got this.

4 thoughts on “It Begins (Tomorrow): One Year Alcohol-Free”

  1. Wauw, Jen ❤️Really: WAUW! You are so inspiring and I love following your journey and reading your words and thoughts 😘

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  2. So I have never commented on a blog before but I found your blog through TNM and the timing seems serendipitous. Your story is so incredibly similar to mine. I did Dry January/Alcohol Experiment this year after years of toying with the idea and worrying about my drinking. I felt amazing. It was like a fragile, amazing gift had been given to me— I wanted desperately to hold onto it beyond 30 days but I also knew on some deeper level that I couldn’t do it. I have tried repeatedly since then to restart my AF life but I keep failing. I thought Dry July might work for me (hey, it’s another defined, 30 day challenge with lots of other people involved!). But then I had some wine last night and woke up this morning feeling that familiar self loathing. And then I found your story and it really hit home for me that I can do this and I need to do this. There is no perfect time to start but now is a pretty damn good time (we are also about a year away from leaving the little kid phase and starting kindergarten). So I just want to say thanks for being such a wonderful inspiration this morning. I will be following closely with your journey this year and trying my best to work towards an AF life.

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    1. Wow. Merry, thank you so much for commenting. One of the hardest things about battling that drinking-induced self-loathing was feeling like I was alone. Like none of my other mom friends had a problem with drinking, and I was a loser for not being able to drink my “mommy juice” like a “normal” person. Well, TNM sure opened my mind as I’m sure it has for you! We are not alone, and we can make the changes we want to make. It is not easy, but we can do it and we will. I’m here for you! Please keep checking in!

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