Making the decision to stop drinking was, surprisingly, an easy one to make. Surprising for a handful of reasons like the fact I’d considered how giving up drinking may actually be a good thing more times than I can count or how I rationalized that not drinking anymore would mean giving up having fun, especially when most everyone I know drinks and uses it as a way to connect.
Coming home after a long day at work and pouring a glass of wine was my payoff for working
hard. It was my reward for a crappy day, a good day, a toast to the beginning of the weekend, a celebration for surviving Monday. There was nothing sexier then pouring a glass of wine while I listened to music and cooked dinner. Relaxing in the bath? Wine required. The point is, I could justify pouring a glass of wine every day, so I did.
But when I woke up on New Year’s Day this year something clicked (most likely the headache from having wine & champagne because it turns out that combination is in fact always a bad idea) and my first thought was “I’m so tired of this.” I had spent weeks journaling my goals for the new year, none of which included headaches from drinking, and the absolute lack of motivation I felt meant I most likely wouldn’t be doing a single thing to start working on any them. So instead of waking up determined and ready to punch 2021 in the face, I woke up disappointed that I felt like shit. It was the exact opposite of how I had intended to start the new year.
Like the responsible adult I am, I popped four Advil, made some coffee, and crawled back into bed. But instead of trying to go back to sleep until my head wasn’t about to explode anymore, I decided to do something good for myself so I opened up a book I had started about three years ago and read. This doesn’t seem like much but for me it was a turning point. It’s not often I give myself the gift of doing something that just feels good when I wake up feeling like crap. Normally I’d immediately start doing all the things that needed to be done Laundry? Three loads in. Cleaning the kitchen? Done. Staying busy and productive helped ease the guilt I felt from overdoing it the night before. It showed the world, and myself, that I was okay so I stayed busy, never slowing down.
I didn’t make any grand announcement about my decision, and truthfully part of me was worried I wouldn’t stick to it because I had considered this decision before and never followed through. Instead I allowed myself time to get comfortable with it day by day. It wasn’t so much a “dry January” I was out to conquer and I didn’t have an end date in mind, (which continues to blow everyone’s minds when I tell them I’m not drinking) I just knew I wanted to see what life looked like beyond drinking.
For me, the last 53 days have been the best I’ve had in years. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been challenging moments or that I haven’t had shitty days, because this is life and that’s part of living. It’s just that everything seems more manageable without alcohol, which is the exact opposite of what I expected. Instead of coming home from work and pouring a glass of wine, I pour a glass of sparkling water. I’ve already read five books, well on my way to reaching my goal of reading 52 this year. I’ve joined a yoga studio that I frequent 5-6 times a week. I wake up at 5:00am so I can give myself an hour to journal before I get ready for work. And I’m spending far less time on social media because I’m currently less interested in other people’s lives than my own.
This has been a reset I’ve desperately needed. This is about loving myself enough to simply slow down, listen to my body and to nurture myself. It’s about doing something different, something that feels bold in a world that thrives on selling a drinking culture. It’s about reconnection, surrendering and an inner peace I’d long forgotten about. It’s about punching 2021 in the face.