I have never been much for making New Year's resolutions. I feel like when I do they never stick and then I feel disappointed in myself that I couldn't be disciplined enough to follow through. This last year I decided in December that I really wanted to take a break from alcohol and see how I would feel if I didn't drink at all. I started cutting back in December and drank over the holidays preparing my mind that I was going to participate in Dry January.
The first nine days are complete in this journey and the fog is starting to clear in my heart and mind. I consider myself a moderate drinker, meaning a few drinks several times a week. Then I will go a couple of weeks and not consume alcohol, but there is always this nagging at the end of the day I don't want to drink because I am trying to be kind to my body or trying to get into shape. But then I hear my subconscious whisper, "you worked so hard, you deserve to relax." Then the battle of willpower ensues. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose. I hate feeling hostage to the nagging and it feels like sometimes the alcohol has more control over me than I would like.
The first few days were not a ton of fun. Turns out it can take up to a week for your liver to fully detox from alcohol and I did not feel wonderful for the first part of the week. The last few days I can feel the mental clarity and sharpness that only comes from abstaining from alcohol. The difference is incredibly profound that I wonder why I drink at all. There is a lot that goes into the why I drink and I have been exploring that with a book called The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace. The book is set up into digestible chunks. There is a short daily reading followed by some journaling questions to look into the why and thoughts behind your drinking, while exploring facts and myths about drinking and how we perceive them. It isn't a book that makes you feel bad for looking at things, but allows you to look at your relationship with alcohol and explore your beliefs behind drinking.
There are many reasons I enjoy drinking; I love beer, the different tastes, the social aspect, and the feeling that it is a reward and I have accomplished something to earn it, and the list could go on. There are many reasons I don't enjoy drinking even when it is a small amount; I like the initial buzz, but hate feeling drunk, I hate walking up feeling anxious and irritable starting the day, and I don't feel like I am firing on all cylinders. It is a constant battle of balancing pros and cons in my mind as well as the feeling of why it is a constant battle to decide to drink or to abstain.
My goal in doing this alcohol free time is to feel the difference and really explore where my relationship with alcohol is. At this time I really want to be a special occasion only drinker. Having one or two beverages every once in awhile. I am still early in my journey, so this vision might change in the weeks to come. My journey is fluid at this point and the growth I am seeing already excites me for the weeks to come.
I look forward to sharing with you how my very own alcohol experiment progresses over the next few weeks. You don't have to wait for a new year to make changes, if you wanted to start today or next month there is never a bad time. Once you know you need to explore how something effects your life, procrastinating only wastes precious moments that you could be living a more full life.