I didn’t post last night. I didn’t post last night because, for several hours, I did not look at my phone. I did not look at my phone because, for the first time in recent memory, my husband and I sat down to eat a yummy meal at an actual table and talked for several hours. We talked about a lot of big stuff that we have needed to talk about for several weeks but that has gotten pushed aside with the craziness of the holidays. It was a big talk. A necessary talk. And a good talk. And it occurs to me that before Dry January, when I was drinking six or seven nights a week, I wouldn’t have been capable of a talk like this because I would have been too tired and/or irritable and/or distracted. I have thought a lot about how Dry January is improving my life and making me a better mom to my kids, but I realize it’s also making me a better wife and partner to my husband. Long-simmering tension is lifting, I can see issues with greater clarity and discuss them with greater compassion. And my gratitude continues to grow.
These are my kids. But this is also how I felt 9 days ago. “This seems like a good idea… or is it? Will I get a great experience out of this or will I get crushed?” Nine days in, the answer is pretty darn clear.
Today I accomplished a fun personal fitness milestone: I completed my 100th ride on my beloved Peloton bike. I have been a regular in the Tuesday 6am class for several months because I can sneak down to the basement and get in a great workout with my favorite instructor before my household erupts into the day’s chaos. And even though my legs felt heavy today, it was not because I had several drinks last night – it was because I had a kick-ass kickboxing workout yesterday and a spin class the day before that. I marvel at – and try not to beat myself up about – the fact that I used to routinely do this 6am ride hungover. Or if not fully hungover, certainly hazy from the wine I’d imbibed the night before. I am still exploring my penchant for self-sabotage but feeling grateful that I am also a rule-follower. And right now the rule is no booze. Self-sabotage is not an option because I am sober and tracking my points like a boss. Could I actually be changing ingrained behaviors and habits? Only nine days into this experiment? I think I might be! And it is liberating.
Wherein I eat the ice cream cake but abstain from the booze. And that is an accomplishment considering we threw our daughter her dream birthday party today: two crazy hours at a trampoline park with 20 kindergarteners and a handful of toddler siblings. It was incredibly stressful for me because the place was jam-packed with cabin-fevered kids of all ages literally bouncing off the walls and our assigned party organizers were, shall we say, organizationally challenged. I am still vibrating with the letdown of cortisol, or something – all I know is I can’t soothe my stress with my precious wine. But this is my CHOICE and I am proud of myself for sticking to it. I also plan to dig deep into the 45 weeklies I saved up before my first Dry January weigh in tomorrow. Whatever it takes to get this weekend in the rear view mirror! So ready to tackle week two!
This sweet powerhouse of a girl turns SIX tomorrow. And because I have made the choice – conscious of that word I just typed – to have a Dry January, I am going to wake up with a clear head and be able to fully absorb her first moments as a six year old. If I had not made this choice, I would have relied on my trusty bottle of Sauv B or multiple margaritas to get me through gift wrapping tonight. I would be going to bed with the room spinning and waking up feeling nasty and ashamed. Instead, I conquered another Dry January milestone – a booze-free dinner out – and got the wrapping done without an energy crash (thank you Freestyle for the free protein!). This has NOT been easy and I am still processing what it all means to me, but I can say without hesitation that I am proud. And relieved. And oh so ready for tomorrow.
I was expecting to hit the hay tonight feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t get to drink. I can’t remember the last Friday night when I didn’t have several glasses of wine, so staying sober was a big milestone in this Dry January journey. But I DID IT. And it occurred to me, as I was wiping down the kitchen counter and turning off the light to come up to bed – that this is the time of night when the buzz would start wearing off and the guilt would start setting in. “Why did I drink so much? I went so far over my daily points! I feel so fat. I’m going to feel like crap tomorrow. How am I going to get through the day?” Etc etc etc until I would conk out in a haze and likely wake up sometime in the middle of the night dehydrated and soaked with sweat. Gross. I miss wine. But I don’t miss the guilt. Or the gross. So while I did dawdle a bit at my own pity party tonight, I didn’t stay long. Mama’s got better things to do.
Day 4 is in the books, thankfully! (Clearly our Frenchie is as relieved to see the end of this day as I am.) Due to the bomb cyclone I was definitely “white knuckling” my way through this long-ass cabin-fevered day. But! I made it. No booze and I stayed within my points (saving up my weeklies to celebrate my daughter’s 6th birthday this weekend!). I was also productive, present, and patient with my crazed kiddos, and I know when I wake up tomorrow I will be so grateful that I was so strong today. One day at a time, and this behemoth is DONE.
If not a happier hour, at least a healthier hour. Nobody panic, that’s seltzer in the glass!
I felt triumphant today with my increased energy and clearer head (so clear! Omg! But that’s for another post). And then the witching hour struck. And my kids were complete twerps. I wanted wine. I felt tired and hangry and overwhelmed with everything I had to do and defeated by my kiddos who were out of their minds (and also tired and hangry). On any night of 2017 (or 2016 or 2015 for that matter) I would have “treated” myself to a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Tonight, once my children were fed and magically transformed back into the world’s greatest little human beings again, as I chopped some butternut squash to roast, I treated myself to a moment of reflection instead. I felt bad for yelling at my kids. I felt relieved that it wasn’t just the wine that made me yell at them before. I felt happy that the kids and I talked through why I lost my patience and they ate a healthy dinner with no whining. I felt proud that I overcame the urge to open a bottle of wine tonight and marveled at how easy it was. I am delighting in the clarity of the last few days and I feel like I am reintroducing myself to myself. Most of all I am grateful for this Connect community. I may not personally know those of you who are on the dry January journey, but just knowing you’re there is everything.