My Week Without Alcohol
Between the ages of 17 and 28, I abstained from alcohol due to religious reasons. Then I separated from my first husband, also a separation from the religion, and I had a few drinks. Nearly four years later I remarried, and I abstained from alcohol while trying to get pregnant, as well as during pregnancies and nursing.
When I was on my last maternity leave, I watched a lot of Dr. Oz, and he talked about the benefits of drinking red wine: good for the heart and high in antioxidants to help reduce aging. Because I was a somewhat older mom (in my late thirties), and I was tired due to the lack of sleep that comes from having a baby, the thought of something that could make me feel younger appealed to me. So, when I was done nursing, I started drinking red wine, occasionally and proportionally (5 to 6 oz.) with my dinner. To be honest, I didn’t really like it at first, and I forced myself to drink it.
Over time, I developed a taste for it, and I found that during the day, I looked forward to dinner and my little wine buzz.
Eventually, I discovered that drinking wine while making supper made a mundane task fun, so what was one glass a day turned into two glasses a day.
After my second separation, I found myself drinking further into the evening more and more. It always made me happy, never miserable, but I found myself stating that I was not proud of my drinking and apologizing for some of my behavior. It’s not like I did anything too shocking (well, my mom, my dad, my kids, and some friends might find it shocking . . . . best to keep a few things to myself), but I felt I needed to make a change.
So, a week ago, I gave up alcohol, and here are my notes from the week:
Day 1: I feel low, hungover, like the party is over. I am zoning out, I have no motivation, I want to cry, I am tired, and I am just not myself. I woke up this morning cringing over the night before, and realized I need to stop this. I messaged a friend who was aware I was drinking too much—but never judged me for it—that I needed to make better choices. I appreciate the support; that, taking things one day at a time, and willpower will get me through this.
Day 2: I messaged my friend in the morning excited about going a whole day without alcohol, and the response was “Great work.” That made feel good, but I am not going to message every day about my progress because that makes me feel pathetic. It was a long day today due to a whole afternoon of mediation, but some good progress was made. When I got home, it was late and I did not feel like cooking. Two of my older daughters were home, and we decided to go to the bar for fish tacos. Wine was half price, and people around me drank it, but it did not bother me. My girls did not drink either, and it was funny that they still had to provide identification.
Day 3: I woke up in the morning with an overwhelming desire to go skiing in the mountains: something I have not done since my teenage years. So, I went online, booked a trip for tomorrow, and waited until 9:30 to wake my older daughters up to see if any of them could come as well. My nineteen year old daughter Odessa was available, so I booked her a ticket. Then we devoted the rest of the day to getting ready for the trip. When we finished shopping, I told her it was my third day without any alcohol, and her response was, “I’m proud of you, mama. That’s a good change, and think of all the money you will save.” I love her.
Day 4: It’s 4:00 a.m., and I feel good, alive, excited, and energized. This tops feeling buzzed any time. Can’t wait to hit the slopes.
Day 5: Being outdoors yesterday, doing something fun, rejuvenated me. I need to get my younger kids into skiing. It’s a shame I never got my older kids into it; yesterday was Odessa’s first time skiing in the mountains. She loved it, and I had fun skiing with her. As far as drinking goes, I don’t miss it. I like having a clear head and not having to straighten myself out by drinking water part way through the night. I feel confident, and I like myself.
Day 6: It feels normal now to drink water with a splash of lemon juice at supper instead of wine, and I like that I can accomplish more in the evenings. I also realize that I am still a fun person without alcohol.
This is day seven of my week without alcohol, and I have learned that it is possible to change habits, that grapes and blueberries also contain antioxidants to reduce aging, and that I am a naturally happy and fun person capable of facing life without getting buzzed every day. It doesn’t mean I will never drink again, but I can go another week and another . . . until I feel I can do so in moderation.