Winging It

The thought of ditching alcohol used to scare me. A lot. I didn’t know how I could celebrate, commiserate, travel, or watch TV without it. How could I relax? How could I rev up? How could I go to a restaurant and enjoy dinner? Or lunch, or – gasp! – brunch?!

But perhaps most terrifying was the prospect of parenting without wine (or tequila) (or whatever was in the fridge). Alcohol was the key to surviving motherhood. There couldn’t be “mommy juice” without “mom.” How could I ever be the mom I wanted to be if I couldn’t drink to treat myself and unwind at the end of the day?

You all know the punchline: I never knew the mom I wanted to be until I stopped drinking. I never knew how much I could enjoy my kids; or, when enjoyment went out the window, how effectively I could work through conflict with them. In ditching alcohol, I have gained energy, patience, compassion, and clarity. I am a better mom, wife, and human without booze. And I can type that without hesitating now, because it’s my truth y’all.

Making the scary choice to go alcohol-free has indeed opened me up and given me wings. I am forever grateful that I somehow had the guts to listen to the voice inside when she finally stood up and said, “Enough.” I still don’t know where I will be at the end of this year, if I will be ready to commit to forever or just to day 365. But I’m not afraid anymore. A teensy bit anxious on occasion, yes, but I’ll take that over the profound fear that glued a wine glass to my hand for so many years.

Am I where I want to be? Heck no. I am still very much a work in progress, and I’m still scared. What scares me now, if not booze? Freaking sugar, that’s what! As the wine witch has receded to a mere wisp in my conscience, the sugar monster has absorbed her power and begun to attempt a coup. My reliance on sugar has grown since ditching booze, and it’s starting to spiral out of control. I am managing to maintain my weight but the “to drink or not to drink” quandary that bombarded my brain on a daily basis is starting to be replaced by “to sweet or not to sweet” – and the answer, too often lately, has been GIVE ME ALL THE SWEETS.

I am reaching my limit. I can feel it. I can hear my inner voice warming up her vocal chords as she prepares to declare a war on sugar.

There are many parallels between my issues with booze and sugar, but there are also key differences. I can’t simply apply all my alcohol-free tools to sugar. Sugar is a more complicated issue, more prevalent in #momlife and society as a whole, and more deeply ingrained in our family life than alcohol ever was. The path forward is a lot less clear.

So I’m reading. I’m learning about the history of sugar, its role in society, and its impact on the body. I’m starting to ponder going sugar-free for 10 days or possibly doing the Whole30 at some point. I feel like I need a clean break from sugar but before I commit I need to have more knowledge, and a strategic food plan in place.

THIS IS VERY SCARY FOR ME. Have I mentioned that? Sweets have brought me comfort since I can remember. But I have also struggled with being overweight since I can remember. So. Here we are.

Mama needs a second set of wings.

8 thoughts on “Winging It”

  1. Hi Jen- when I first went AF I really increased the sugar (as many do) and gave myself some grace on that as I could only tackle one thing at a time! But then when I was ready I really was able to apply some of the tactics that helped me go AF to beating sugar. I found success by applying the same tactic of focusing on all the good food I get to put in my body to fuel it, instead of focusing on the fact that I had to avoid sugar or give something up. I really dove in to learning about whole food plant based eating. This worked for me by putting a focus on healthy plant based foods that were energizing my body. I am choosing to eat healthy rather than being forced to not eat sugar, sound familiar? 🙂 Not saying you should go plant based but I highly recommend researching all of the delicious whole food plant based sweets you can make. This really helped me when I first quit sugar. I made really healthy sweets without any sugar, butter, eggs, flour etc. So delicious and still healthy! Okay so I do still love chocolate chips but in total my craving for sugar has decreased to almost nothing. I think you are on the right track and applying the tactics that helped you go AF will move you in the right direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. well done on your sauce-free lifestyle, ditto on the parenting advantages! I have just taken sugar out of my diet: not an easy task, psychologically or physically- but definitely worth it. I must say it is a rabbit hole indeed once you look at the junk that we all put into our bodies and minds, and make the determined effort to eliminate them. Other things to eliminate that you may eventually want to consider: late night screen time of any sort (leads to sleep quality), car (to be replaced by a bike with a child seat) which really helps physical side of things, low-quality entertainment, extremely violent or sensual entertainment- causes its own misery in the mind…the list goes on…but well done and good luck if you decide to do it!

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    1. Hi! So interesting to hear from someone who has eliminated sugar – a task that is much more daunting to me than saying bye to booze. Thank you for chiming in and letting me know it is possible!

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