Dry January Day 23

Still tired (i.e. Fred is me). But a solid sober day. And that in itself is an accomplishment.

I was able to carve out some reading time this morning and made it through more of This Naked Mind – coincidentally, the “Liminal Point” chapter on drinking to relieve stress and anxiety. It just hit me this week that my usual anxiety has been MIA for the past several weeks. I feel cautiously liberated from this ever-present mental burden that ebbs and flows between minor irritant and consuming captor.

I thought alcohol eased stress. I drank “to take the edge off.” But I was wrong. Totally wrong. Duped. And I know now I’m neither alone nor at fault.

As Annie Grace puts it, “Why do we believe alcohol helps stress and anxiety? Because it can make you oblivious to your stressors even when it’s worsening them… it inebriates you, which covers the pain for a short amount of time. As soon as it wears off, your stress returns and, over time, multiplies.”

Yup.

So. Day 23 in the bag. 6am Peloton spin class completed, blue dot earned. Aiming for more sleep tonight to start feeling more on my game tomorrow!

 

Dry January Day 22

After a disappointing weigh-in today (0lbs lost… which of course can also be looked at as 0lbs gained!) I decided that today was going to be an non-scale victory (nsv in WW lingo) kind of day. I tried my best to put the scale out of my mind and instead stay present and focus on all of the nsv’s throughout my day.

Here they are:

  • I slayed at kickboxing class despite feeling very tired today. And by “slay” I mean I worked as hard as I could, learned a lot, and had a blast. I am still a newbie but I’m enjoying it tremendously – even just enjoying exercise so much is in itself an nsv for me!
  • I took my son to lunch at Whole Foods, where I looked for the cleanest thing I could find to eat (fish and kale salad). And I had a cute date to boot!
  • I baked with my kids when my daughter got home from school (nsv: staying present with my kids).
  • We made our first Mudhustler recipe – the Elvis Cake! It was delish!!
  • … and I managed to not eat the whole thing!
  • And of course, no wine. Which I have started to take for granted, but since today is an nsv kind of day I am consciously reminding myself that any night with no wine is a big nsv for me!

22 days down. BOOM.

 

Dry January Day 21

Alcohol-free for three weeks: check!

During intense and exciting football playoff game: check (even though there was a lot of buffalo chicken dip consumed)!

And through another weekend with relative ease: check!

I’ve got this.

And here’s what else I’ve got:

  • More energy
  • More patience
  • More space in my brain
  • A clearer brain
  • A more creative brain
  • Increased productivity
  • Clearer, brighter, more glowing, less congested skin (and I have always had problem skin)
  • Less belly bloat (inching – or at least millimetering – my way to #bikinigoals)
  • Deeper sleep

And a huge one for me that I am just now starting to believe:

  • Less anxiety.

This is not a comprehensive list. This is just off the top of my head on a tired (but happy!) Sunday night.

The anxiety piece is something I want to read more about. I have dealt with varying degrees of anxiety since I was a kid. I never thought about the impact alcohol had on my anxiety. Never thought to connect the two. But it occurred to me at some point this weekend that I have not felt anxious in, well, about three weeks. I am cautiously embracing the liberation I feel. Trying to stay present. And eager to explore this further in the coming days.

I weighed myself this morning (the day before tomorrow’s weigh-in) and I had gained a half-pound. Which was discouraging, considering how clean I ate this week and how great my exercise routine has been. In my discouragement, I ate too much junk today. I’ve stayed within my weekly points, but I’m expecting a perplexing gain tomorrow. Disappointing, BUT at least I have been sticking with Dry January like a boss. Tomorrow is a new day and a new week and I’m so proud for making it this far.

 

Dry January Day 20

Here’s my Saturday night, folks! Living my best life! Or at least my dog is.

Tonight I am feeling a little bit stuck. Stuck in between the old me and whoever this newly enlightened me is going to be. I find myself missing the ritual. Pouring a glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc and taking the first couple of sips that instantly make me feel relaxed. Wait. Let me repeat that: Pouring a glass of cold sweetened ethanol and taking the first couple poisonous sips that instantly deaden my senses, weaken my heart, inflame my liver, disrupt my immune system, and increase my risk of cancer. Sigh.

I believe both of those sentences. I am so much better informed now than I was three weeks ago, yet I still miss it. So, stuck. But resolute in my choice to stick with Dry January. And proud of myself for that.

And another day goes in the books.

Dry January Day 19

Here’s a screenshot of my Dry January app. Look at all those sweet little teacups! I feel very proud when I mark this calendar every day. Every little teacup is a huge victory for me.

Something that seemed impossible and torturous three weeks ago – to forgo alcohol for one entire month – is now my new normal. My routine. I still have at least 20 bottles of wine in my house and while I do still get nightly cravings, I am not even tempted to open a bottle. That would be cheating myself out of this life-changing gift I have chosen to give and to receive.

Now that we are more than halfway through the month, thoughts creep into my head about where I will go from here. Will I be able to moderate? Will I even want wine? Will I stay alcohol-free? Or will I fall right back down a boozy black hole?

When I think about what I will do on February 1, I get a little anxious. I’m afraid one glass will turn into two which will turn into three which will turn into a bottle. I’m afraid I will fall right back into old habits and I will be in the same place (with the same puffy face) on December 31, 2018 as I was on December 31, 2017.

Starting to get caught up in the anxiety, I remind myself to stay present. Yes, I am more than halfway through. Yes, I can now see the light of February 1 at the end of this sober – and sobering – tunnel. But what matters is today. Today’s tiny tea cup with a little umbrella in it. Today’s flavored seltzer on the rocks in a wine glass. Today’s blue dot. Or not! I have lots of weeklies waiting to be used.

Wherever this month is taking me, it’ll be a better place than the one in which I’ve spent too much of my adult life. I am only beginning to grasp where I was, now that the booze fog has lifted. I still have a lot of processing, reading, and pondering to do. And I just have to trust that I’ll never go back.

So, here’s to today. Not tomorrow, not next month, not next year, and not forever. Today is everything. Today is enough.

 

Dry January Day 18

My husband and I are going to the movies tonight!

Confession: before Dry January, when my husband I would go to the movies together, I would always pour some wine into a small glass bottle (full confession: it was a baby bottle leftover from when my kids were infants) to sneak into the theater. I thought it was a funny thing to do. A small little rebellion for someone who is normally a staunch rule follower. I’m beginning to see it differently. I’m beginning to see someone who was too reliant on alcohol to have a good time. I’m beginning to see someone who was more focused on seeing a movie buzzed than enjoying a date with my husband. That makes me sad. But at the same time I’m also so proud to be growing apart from that person.

Tonight’s timing couldn’t be better since I had such a tough day with my kids yesterday, so I will deeply appreciate every moment of this date night. And every kernel of movie theater popcorn for which I hoarded smart points today.

 

Dry January Day 17

Yes it’s empty.

But I am broken. I’m over the edge. My soul has been sucked. Snow day witching hour reared its ugly whiny attitude-y head in my house this evening and broke me.

Yes it’s empty.

But:

1) At least it’s not an empty bottle of wine; and

2) I am still getting a blue dot thanks to the delish 1-smart point turkey chili I made for dinner.

So at least there’s #snowdaygoals!

Beyond that, I have the two most amazing children in the world. Like, I actually believe that. As every parent does. I actually believe that my two kids are the greatest human beings to ever grace this planet.

But they can be real assholes.

And tonight they broke me.

I cried, they cried, and then after awhile we talked it out, we read some books. We returned to our regularly scheduled bedtime.

I tucked in my son who said, “I’m trying to be a better boy, Mama.” And I believe him.

I tucked in my daughter and we agreed, she and I, to be kinder to each other. To speak to each other with less attitude and more empathy. We both broke down tonight and now we are in cahoots. We will build each other back up again tomorrow with love and kindness. I hope.

I was broken. And I’m exhausted. But I shudder to think of what shape I would be in right now if this were 18 days ago. If my kids had behaved this way 18 days ago, with the whining and the attitude and the stubbornness. I would have started drinking before 5. I would have eaten anything and everything I could get my hands on that would give me a mere moment of comfort. I would have thought, well I blew it tonight so I might as well not track the rest of the week.

And I never could have ended this day with grace.

But I did. My kids and I, together, ended a witching hour for the ages with grace, and understanding, and love.

So yes, the pint is empty. I didn’t need to eat it all, but I did. And that’s ok. This evening held smaller and more significant triumphs.

And tomorrow is a new day.