Steering Clear of the Excuse Buffet

My husband is sick. We had electricians in the house today. We had a contractor stop by this morning. It’s raining. It’s Saturday. It’s cold. I have both kids and both dogs to deal with on my own. I have to cook. I have to clean. I’m hungry. I’m tired…

All true. All potential excuses. The list goes on and on. Or at least it would have if I were still stuck in my wine-dependent existence.

But I am not. And so I was able to accept the more-challenging-than-usual parameters of my Saturday and #SaturSLAY anyway.

I took the dogs on a long walk to wear them out. I squeezed in a 45-minute Peloton ride with the mellow dog upstairs and both kids and the puppy down in the basement with me. (And I even broke 300 for my output which I hadn’t done all week!) I didn’t have time to shower but got my son to karate class and the place smelled like sweat anyway! Took my daughter to basketball and then even though it was only 4:30 the kids and I decided we all wanted dinner so we got some groceries and had a lovely early bird special while watching the Olympics.

All of this, and I’ve got enough points leftover for an entire pint of Enlightened ice cream and it is GOING DOWN once everyone is in bed.

I still think about wine. A lot. I still have a moment of longing to pour myself a glass every night.

But it’s getting easier. My nightly urges are a lot weaker than they used to be.

There is still a void where there was once a bottomless glass. But the void is shrinking. I have my flavored seltzer and my tea. I am wearing a pair of size 4 jeans. I have the energy reserves to not only survive a hectic day like today but to slay it.

If I were still drinking like I used to, today would have been an excuse buffet. And I would have had all I could eat.

But I’ll take my pint of Enlightened and call it a night, thanks!

Dry January Day 27

I am staking my claim. Planting my flag into the dirt of this beautiful day. Posting early so that I can spend the rest of the day being totally present and productive with my family and focusing on clean eating.

Today I shall #SaturSLAY. It’s on, y’all.

Workout done: another awesome #ww_warrior Peloton ride, onto which I tacked 15 minutes of abs and 10 glorious minutes of stretching.

Today I will score a blue dot which eluded me yesterday as I dug deep into that damn bag of small batch artisanal restaurant-style tortilla chips. (Why can’t I quit you???)

And no booze of course!

The sun is shining, the deep freeze has lifted, it’s Day 27 of Dry January, and I’ve left yesterday in the dust.

It’s a good day to slay. How will you slay today?

Photo credit: my 6-year-old daughter (who can’t read yet – ha!)

 

Dry January Day 24

Except for having no control over a pint of #Enlightened ice cream this afternoon, today has been a wonderful, reaffirming, milestone-making day.

My daughter lost her first tooth this morning! Milestones are fewer and farther between nowadays, so this was a big one. The tooth had been very loose for several days and there was excitement, but also a lot of apprehension on her part. What would it feel like? Will it hurt? Will there be blood? All understandable concerns. You can’t forget the feeling of losing a tooth, but do you remember not knowing what it would feel like? Pretty crazy to see my own daughter grappling with that!

In the end, it just fell right out. We were in the middle of a project this morning and all of a sudden she exclaimed, “My tooth just fell out!” She was ecstatic, giddy, and bursting with pride as she held the tiny tooth in her hand.

I will never forget that moment. Not just because it is such a huge milestone, but because I was there. I was 100% THERE. Completely present. Not fighting a hangover, dehydrated, puffy, and full of regret. After what has been kind of a meh week, experiencing this milestone with my daughter this morning completely re-charged me and made me appreciate, truly appreciate, how much better my life has been without alcohol.

There. I said it. And I mean it. My life is better without alcohol. EEK. I just typed that.

I still crave it. I have anxiety dreams about it almost nightly. I still can’t imagine my life without it.

But this morning I got to experience my daughter having her big kid breakthrough moment with such pure, crisp clarity and complete presence that I also can’t imagine going back to where I was. So to this profound gratitude I cling, and I remind myself to take this one day at a time. And this was an excellent day.

… Oh, and I had the creative energy and wherewithal to make her a tooth fairy pillow (shown in this post’s pic)! I haven’t used my sewing machine in months and my day was jam-packed, but I got it done and she adores it. Woohoo!

 

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 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.

 

Dry January Day 16

Day 16. What was notable about this day? The fact that it felt just fine, thank you. Normal. Steady. And even though my dog woke me up at 5am and I did a 6am Peloton spin class, I have not crashed all day.

I felt noticeably more patient with my kids, too. Before Dry January, I would need to have wine to get through the witching hour and then by story time I would be irritable and impatient, overwhelmed by how much I still had to do. Tonight, after we finished their stories, I sat with my kids and we just chatted. We snuggled, we took stock of the day. Together. No rush. And I still got them to bed on time and came downstairs to cook a delish dinner.

So tonight, I delight in normalcy. No, in NEW normalcy. A happier, more patient and energized, less anxious normal. And even though it feels normal it also feels miraculous.