One. Hundred. Days.

One hundred days of sobriety
Of alcohol-freedom
Of clarity
Of growth
Of presence
Of progress
Of learning
Of exploring
Of curiosity
Of beauty
Of pride
Of realness
Of honesty
Of support
Of courage
Of candor
Of confidence
Of authenticity
Of love
Of contentment
Of grace
Of peace.

One hundred days since I have consumed alcohol: an addictive, harmful substance that I once valued as integral to my life. I thought it brought me relaxation, when really it compounded my anxiety. I thought it made me happy and energized, when really it made me moody and exhausted. I thought hangovers were my price to pay for having a treat, when alcohol was a trick all along.

I don’t blame myself for being tricked. I don’t blame myself for still thinking about alcohol and sometimes really, really wanting it. And you shouldn’t either. Walking this unconventional path and dismantling decades of subconscious programming ain’t for sissies. Ain’t got time for the blame game.

So I don’t blame myself for missing it. I miss alcohol the way I used to miss old boyfriends. I knew they weren’t good for me, so I broke up with them. But I missed them, and on one or two occasions I took them back before breaking up with them again. Because navigating life without them was hard. It was a lot easier having a companion, a crutch, an excuse, a distraction, than it was to forge ahead on my own. But I persisted, because deep down I knew I didn’t deserve to settle. Then I met my husband. And I realized how good life could really be, how deeply I could love and be loved. How complete and content I could feel.

Breaking up with alcohol has done the same. I never knew adult life could be like this. This full of all that is good. All that I listed above, and so much more. Having left this long-term toxic relationship behind, I once again feel complete and content.

When I first stopped drinking on January 1, the start of my first of three breaks this year, I felt a vast, profound void. I felt a sense of loss. I felt disoriented and adrift. But I knew, in my gut, I had to forge ahead. I knew I deserved better.

I received the myriad, life-changing gifts of sobriety like my kids tearing into their presents on Christmas Day. Gimme gimme gimme. Is there more? There is? Yay! But unlike half of those toys which inevitably end up broken or unused, I hold these precious gifts tenderly in my heart and in my mind, and I access them daily.

One hundred days.

I’ve written this after dozing for a couple of hours on my flight to London. It’s almost 2AM in New York, and we are landing soon. I am so very tired, yet so very thrilled to be celebrating my first 100 days and kicking off the next 100 in one of my favorite places on the planet. I may be on my own, embarking on this next adventure. But I know I’m not alone.

I was never alone. And neither are you.

Me at Sixty (Days Alcohol-Free)

Today has felt like a normal day. A bit better than average, perhaps, what with my Peloton PR this morning, beautiful weather, and kids who ate their veggies without starting World War III. 

And then I remember that today is Day 60. I have not had a sip of alcohol in sixty days. I absorb that. I do a silly little mental dance that is a celebration of both the milestone and the normalcy. 

I am not at the end of a marathon. I am at the beginning of a new era in my life. An era of self-kindness, self-love, self-care. An era of energy, creativity, curiosity, gratitude. An era of joy and contentment. A time when not every moment will be happy, and no moment will be perfect, but every moment will be beautiful in its clarity.

More concretely though – because back in my drinking days I never could have imagined what it would feel like to go for 60 days without booze: 

How do I feel, having gone for 60 days without booze?

I feel lighter, both physically and mentally. I am still about the same weight that I have been, plus or minus 5lbs, for the past year. But I am less puffy and bloated. Mentally, I feel like a weight has been lifted as my willpower has not been drained on a daily basis with the to-drink-or-not-to-drink quandary. 

I feel stronger, both physically and mentally. Physically, I am stronger because I have been very dedicated to my spinning and kickboxing workouts. It’s a lot easier to exercise when I’m not feeling like crap! Go figure. But I am also mentally stronger. I have been building brainpower, breaking down my former beliefs about booze, and forging new neural pathways. I have been educating myself, and reinforcing this new knowledge by writing and applying these new tools in my everyday life.  

I feel more energized – and beyond that, I have more endurance – both physically and mentally. I marvel at how I am able to get through the day with a constant stream of energy. I no longer feel broken by the time I’m putting my kids to bed. I honestly didn’t know life could be like this! Mentally, I have regained the creative energy that I thought I’d lost due to #momlife (spoiler alert: it was actually due to #winelife). My brain is hungry, y’all. Hungry to learn and do and try and be.

I feel less anxious. That’s not to say I don’t still feel anxious sometimes, but my formerly crippling anxiety is now minimal and manageable.

I feel healthier on every level of my being. From my non-existent seasonal allergies and my clear skin to my clear head and my clear conscience. With all of that comes a new level of kindness and grace that I now give myself on a daily basis. The positive self-talk is actually happening now. I’m even buying more organic foods and health and beauty products. Which may seem like a silly thing, except it means that I now see myself as a worthwhile investment.

I now see myself as a worthwhile investment. 

I needed to type that again. Because it’s true. And it’s wonderful.

Alcohol’s role in my life has diminished from a controlling, willpower-draining force to a wisp of its former self, a mere passing thought that is (usually, though not always) easily dismissed. 

And oh, have I filled this void. There have been times where I’ve filled it with sugar and salt and carbs. But mostly I’ve filled it with good-for-me-goodness: positive self-talk; healthy foods; exercise; an authentic conversation with a friend or family member; reading and writing; play and snuggles with my kids. 

Needless to say, I don’t miss drinking much.

Am I going to stay alcohol-free? No. I am going to have a pomegranate margarita when I go out to lunch for Mother’s Day with my mom this weekend. Do I hope it’s not as good as I remember? Yes. Either way, will it derail me? No.

Because I have come too far to tumble back down to where I was. I am still on a journey. I am not committing to “forever.” I am committing to my non-negotiables, hoping that these lines in the sand will continue to guide me to my best life. I am committing to more reading and writing and learning. I am committing to loving myself and loving my life every day as much as I do today – if not more. And that is enough, for now.

Dry January Day 25

Day 25! Already! And, you know, no biggie. Which still boggles my mind but that is, in fact, how I feel. No biggie. Which of course is a huge triumph for me.

I feel like I have a LOT in my head right now and I kind of just need to let it percolate tonight. I’m starting to take stock of this month’s journey, while still plowing through This Naked Mind, trying to reach workout and blue dot goals, and being a Supermom to my two aspiring superheroes and their two doggie sidekicks.

A lot to ponder, plan, and achieve. And I’m rocking it, but feeling a bit overloaded at the moment. Not hopelessly overwhelmed like I used to be, but more like my life is opening up before my eyes and I need a moment to take it all in. So I’m taking tonight to get some extra sleep and hope for some subconscious sorting of all this awesomeness.

One more thing that’s on my brain:

I have a well visit with my doctor tomorrow afternoon. For the first time in my life I am looking forward to stepping on the scale and not stretching the truth about the number of drinks I have per week. I am interested to see what my numbers are and how my weight loss and not drinking for 25 days have impacted things. But mostly I’m just stressing about having to fast until 1pm. So there’s that.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day for sure. Bring it, 26!

 

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 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.