As I mentioned in my last post, I’m experimenting with cutting out alcohol for a while to see what happens and if and how it effects my life. I’ve been cutting it out for 4 or 5 days a week the last few weeks and today I’m on 9 consecutive days without it.
I want to treat myself with kid gloves and kindness.
At the moment I am my own patient recovering from stress burnout and I want to do everything I can to restore my energy, health, peace, wellbeing and contentment. I got so fed up feeling high anxiety every day as things came to a head.
I thought that my end of the day tipple was helping my anxiety. It was a little ‘treat’ for getting through another day.
I want to report that so far it has been a JOY not drinking.
Easy too, as the rewards are high and the negatives of drinking are more apparent.
Nobody really ever talks about negative side I realise, that even relatively moderate drinking regularly is really really bad for your body and mood. The negatives are usually only ever discussed in the context of the out of control wrecked lives of extreme drinking.
I am surrounded by functional well off middle class people who drink daily and often much more than me. A bottle of wine a night is very common and it is normalised.
I was reading what drinking even low amounts regularly does to your body and mind. I was shocked to discover that emotional instability goes hand in hand with drinking regularly, including increased anxiety and depression. And also the amount of multiple diseases that go along with it. I wondered how it was effecting me, and impeding my recovery from my stress train-smash.
It astounds me that we live in a society that engages in, promotes and almost revolves around a toxic highly addictive drug that kills many more people than any other drug.
It’s bizarre when you think about it. I wonder if in the future alcohol will be regarded like heroin or cigarettes and become less socially acceptable. I read that over 80% of adults drink regularly. It’s amazing!
In the UK they recommend no more than 14 units for women a week, and I was easily around 30 units a week, and sometimes more if there was a usually once a month dinner party at my friends place when we drank all evening.
So the gin equivalent of half a bottle of red wine a day until a few weeks ago when I started experiencing the benefits of having days off during the week. Why not go the whole way and have a break even at weekends.
What would that look like, feel like….how would it effect my (pretty quiet already) social life.
So a while back I went to my boozy friends house for dinner and offered wine or Prosecco, and asked for a soft drink. And noticed I was slightly concerned about being seen as a party pooper. Then the hostess herself decided to join me and not drink that evening either. Interesting. We still had just as nice an evening.
Then my close friend was staying over last week as she often does on a Thursday night. We normally have 4 standard measures of gin each over the evening. I asked her just to bring gin for herself as I was having a break.
She arrived without any, decided she would have a night off too. We had just as pleasant an evening as we always do, and maybe even better.
Then I was at my (party animal) hairdresser and she said she is on day 200 of no drinking. Wow. I was astonished. It didn’t even occur to me that non alcoholics might choose to do that. Her reasons were all about health and fitness. She told me that it started as a 30 day bet. And she had experienced such benefits that she just carried on and so did her boyfriend.
If I ever did overdo it and get a hangover I’d be devastated by guilt and remorse. That happened a couple of times a month. Now that I’m not drinking I see that guilt and shame were present even when drinking amounts that don’t even result in a hangover.
I only noticed by trying out this abstinence experiment.
I don’t have it at all without drinking. My mood has been better, more buoyant and the lack of guilt and remorse is an added bonus. I like myself more for not doing something harmful to myself.
Today I give myself permission to drink any time I want to.
I’m not using willpower here so don’t feel any conflict about it or that I’m missing my ‘treat’. I’m experimenting with what I have in my life and what I don’t to see how it effects me.
PS. I did remove a massive amount of stress by cutting my business back, so think that has helped make the need for a drink at the end of the day less ‘required’. I don’t want to undermine anyone who is struggling to give up here, by how easy I’m finding it. I know it’s not the same for everyone and some people find it tougher.
Feeling grateful. Enjoyable 🙂