I have been extremely hesitant to share any of this publicly. I kept telling myself to wait. Wait until I had more days under my belt. Wait until I had a handle on it. Wait until I had it figured out.
But here’s the thing. Whether I have 44 booze-free days stacked up (which I currently do) or 440 or 4400, it doesn’t mean I have a handle on it or that I have it figured out or that I will never drink again.
I am still not sure that never drinking again is even my goal.
All that I am sure of is that I what I need right now is to rethink my drinking.
My relationship to drinking has always been something I’ve never quite been comfortable with. I had my first real drink when I was thirteen with my cousins. We stole cans of Budweiser and I hated the taste but forced myself to drink it by taking big bites of a ham and cheese sandwich on Wonder Bread to help wash it down.Why? Why at 13 was it so important for me to finish that awful beer? I wanted to fit it.
In high school I drank to fit in and to be less anxious. I became a way more fun version of myself instead of the usual studious, honor society version of myself.
In college, the trend continued. Drinking was fun. Drinking made me feel more confident. More comfortable in my skin. It made it easier to approach guys and their attention was something I craved.
I actually didn’t drink much while my children were young. I jokingly now say that that was a blessing because I probably would’ve turned into an alcoholic if I had turned to wine every time I was stressed. But it probably isn’t a joke.
For the last couple of years, I haven’t had a drink on New Year’s Eve because I don’t want to tarnish the beautiful blank slate ahead of me by being hung over on the first day of the new year.
I’ve participated in Dry January the last 2 years.
I stopped drinking for over 50 days earlier this year (after a particularly terrible hangover) but then had some wine the day my best friend had open heart surgery, telling myself that if there ever time the I “deserved”a glass, it was then.
We drank a bit on our trip to Europe but not as much as I would’ve expected.
This latest foray into not drinking didn’t start because of a hangover. In fact, we had friends over in June and were drinking Moscow Mules and I was tipsy but not drunk. I wasn’t even hungover the next day. So why did I decide to try sobriety again? I think it was because I thought I should’ve been more drunk than I was. And that disturbed me. Was I trying to get drunk? Was that my sole purpose in drinking? And how much more would I have to drink to get to that feeling I was apparently chasing?
These are questions that I still don’t have answers to.
I still don’t know how long this will last.
I do know that I managed to not drink over 4th of July, on my birthday, at the art fair, at Girls’ Night Out and on our anniversary. Every time I am able to show up fully without the blurry haze of alcohol distorting my experience, the better I feel.
What I know for sure (right now anyway) is that as a yoga teacher, yogi and human being I want to be the most authentic version of myself. Looking back to the that very first drink, I can see that my intention in drinking is to be other than who I am, to feel something other than what I feel. That is not being authentic.
Sharing this before I know where it will end up or how it will end up is me being real.
I am booze-free, for now.
(I will continue to share my journey here as it and I evolve. This is not a judgment at all on those who do drink. This is an exploration into why I drink and if it really enhances my life or diminishes it. I plan to share the ups and downs, resources I have been drawn to that I have found helpful and what I am learning about myself along the way.)