Hi friends! It has been a while. Looking forward to a lot more upcoming blog content because I feel like I have so much inside that I have been wanting to share about for a while. Getting into another new routine as the seasons change and making time for the things that matter to me — like sharing resources I think will actually help people!
If you’ve been interacting with me at all in person or online in 2019, you may have noticed I went through several periods of time not drinking. Besides doing week-long “cleanses” or the Tone It Up Seven Day Slimdown, I don’t think there had been a period of time when I did not drink between college until September 2018. Martin and I were just getting back from a two-week trip to Poland and with the upcoming holiday season, post Labor Day through the end of the month seemed like a great time to try going without.
It. Was. So. EYE OPENING.
I’ve never felt like I have had dependency issues or anything like that with drinking but being a health-conscious person, it was pretty incredible to see the change in mental clarity as well as my overall energy increase. With that experience behind me (and then the 2018 Holidays), I made a decision and goal for 2019 to increase my sobriety to 3 months throughout the year.
Besides January, I didn’t have the exact months planned. I also created a sub-group in the TIU Community and titled in “TIU Dry Team” because I had so many women interested in Dry January.
Although January is a really tough month in Seattle due to the weather, again being a health-conscious person, I love the energy and excitement everyone has around taking on new habits and challenges (I just want to help you be able to stick to those all year and beyond!) So between the norm of Dry January and the support of the group, it was a pretty easy month. I became really invested in the podcast Almost 30 at the end of 2018 as well and enjoyed listening to the hosts’ stories and experiences around alcohol as well as several of their guests who promote “Sober Curiousity” and Martin found a bunch of great written and online resources as well. We read several books and articles together this year on the effects of alcohol (as well as other substances, even food) on the body and it helped open a dialogue within our partnership as well as within our social group.
After front-loading my year with a ton of travel, April presented itself as the next obvious month for my personal experiment. I had just started a new role at my company and was realizing that I once had an honestly balanced relationship with drinking and now it was feeling like I swung to two extremes: sober or overindulging. In addition to noticing how your own body reacts to a substance like alcohol, you also begin to notice what it does to your social circle. Unfortunately, you might even realize that certain relationships are entirely built upon drinking or someone’s persona completely changes when they are not sober.
This is a truth that has to first be noticed with clear eyes. What you decide to do with that information beyond recognition is up to you. For me, I know that I want more and more decisions to come from a place of love for myself and that might mean examining certain relationships and definitely how I show up to them. But that’s just me!
Looking ahead to the latter part of 2019, I was honestly dreading the promise I made to myself of 3 months. Of course I didn’t want this to cut into any fun of the summer (my favorite time of year!) but then I realized we would be traveling again in September, possibly October and voila the holidays are back again (yikes, where does time go these days?!)
So I settled on August. Again this was a great time for me because I was home all month and able to work from a place of some control and familiarity. The strangest thing happened in August too.
It was the easiest month.
I’m not sure if that was due to this being the 3rd time I had gone through this exercise, or maybe I was in a better headspace, or maybe it’s just honestly so easy to have a great time and enjoy yourself without drinking when the sun is shining. Everyone else is already in such a good mood!
But honestly, part of the reason I think this third month was the easiest is that I had two months of practice exercising my truth. I flexed that muscle of standing in the power of my decision and why, and it felt a lot easier to do that the third time around. It made me realize that as someone who already considers themselves a strong and confident person, how many people must go about their day to day lives settling, going along with the options presented to them because they don’t feel confident enough to speak up for what they really want and need. That’s pretty upsetting.
Because I do actually enjoy the social setting of balanced drinking (wine with dinner, occasional brewery and distillery tours, visiting Martin’s family in Europe, etc.) I realized that truthfully I have no desire to give it up entirely. But I do have a desire moving forward to balance my physical goals with my social life and make decisions week in and week out that fit those goals. Sometimes that will mean cutting myself off. Sometimes it will mean planning around special occasions and not just participating in every single work event where there is free alcohol (this made me realize we have so many…..)
It would have also been impossible to know before this experiment that one of the best outcomes would be the incredible conversations it has led to among family, friends, and even strangers. Turns out that when you bring up a topic that is pretty taboo (who wants to talk about their drinking habits?!) in an authentic and kind way, it really helps people open up and meet you in your vulnerability. I have made some lasting friendships and also strengthened others by at least being willing to come to the table and talk on behalf of many others who maybe aren’t ready to. In fact, I’ve realized it is one of my greatest strengths.
So whether it’s giving up alcohol, going vegan, going plastic free, taking up ballet, teaching yoga, signing up for a triathlon — WHATEVER — once you are clear on your reason for trying something, nothing can stop you. But you might also learn more than you planned to along the way. Standing in your truth, owning your decision and sticking with it while allowing yourself to learn more is really, really incredible. This is the kind of comfort-zone pushing that we all need to grow and become better humans. It’s the little bit of chipping away at old habits so that we can allow new ones to come through and align us a bit closer to our souls.
I have not landed on all of my 2020 goals yet but I am so happy I crossed this one off for 2019 and hope I can continue to find ways to push myself this intentionally.
If you ever want to have a conversation in more detail about the experience, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It was pretty transformational for me so I have lots of passion and am always willing to support or at least entertain a conversation.
Thanks for reading!