Day 7 of no alcohol and Day 4 of juice fasting!

Other than being ever so slightly hungry, I feel like a million bucks, seriously!  I can’t believe how good my body feels for giving it this gift of cleansing.  It has made abstaining from alcohol easier the past couple of days, because I’m focused on the cleanse and detoxing.  For the past four days, I’ve been drinking fresh juices and water, with mixes made from veggies and fruits like carrot, celery, apple, kale, parsley, beet, pear, ginger, chard, cucumber, and oranges.  I’ve never felt so healthy since I was a child.  It’s weird.  My vision even seems clearer!  I have a natural energy that I know I’ve felt before but it’s been so many years that it’s a foreign feeling.  

Today is a bit hard, only because it’s Saturday and the husband and I are lounging around the house with no plans other than to relax and watch a movie or two tonight.  He just went to pick himself up a burrito (swoon) and some organic berries and mint for me to make myself a dessert juice.  Sounds good, right?  It’s going to be my mock wine.  Only better.  But seriously, lounging around the house with time to relax definitely makes me want to drink.  I associate relaxing with wine.  It’s the weekend!  Relax!  Pour a glass of pinot and have some lovely cheese and crackers!  (Okay now I’m really making it harder on myself.)  I’m wondering when those thoughts will dissipate, or if they ever will.  It’s a learned behavior — for so long I’ve had wine to relax at home.  I’ve loved nothing more than to curl up in front of a favorite show or good movie, snack away on something fun and delicious, and wash it down with some fancy wine.  I live in wine country after all!  It’s a way of life here.  

I need to experience the discomfort of creating new habits, and it’s hard.  (Whine.)  Today in yoga my teacher kept saying that the true practice of yoga is to experience happiness in times of discomfort.  In a challenging pose, for example.  That concept translates to life off the mat and I find it extremely useful to meditate on it when the cravings hit hard.  I am happier sober.  This has proven itself to be true, time and time again.  If I can breathe through the craving, breathe in that happiness I feel when I wake up hangover free in the morning, and breathe out the craving, breathe out that urge for a vice whose happiness is a lie, it helps.  

On that yoga-geek note, I’m excited to say that I’ve signed up to start my training to attain my yoga teacher 200 hour certification!  This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I really started a regular practice in May of 2011, and I’ve decided that this is the perfect time to dive in.  So I’ll be busy for five weekends starting in February.  When I am practicing regularly, I am better able to handle everything, including quitting drinking.  Plus, having yoga training on weekends is that much extra incentive to be alcohol free… drinking and yoga teacher training just do not go hand in hand.  

Staying focused on my goals and breathing through the hard parts… that’s my mantra today.  What helps you through a difficult craving?

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My first sober new years!!

Well, ok sure.  I was sober plenty of new years under the age of 18.  But once I lived on my own, I know that I never had another one.  Wait, there was one, about ten years ago, when I had previously contemplated my intense party-girl ways and had retreated to a friend’s house in Seattle to take time off.  But that sobriety stint lasted a couple of weeks and then I never saw another sober NYE.  Until last night!  Party at our house and all, I did not have a sip of alcohol.  

We had about 15 friends over throughout the night, I had cooked food and made snacks, people brought food and smiles and hugs.  Luckily most of the friends we invited were not our craziest party friends.  They are all people who drink, but pretty moderately.  They are people we have other things in common with through our careers or yoga.  So it was not as hard as I expected.  I had a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne that was actually pretty decent.  Turns out, there was another person at the party who was not drinking too, and he kept coming back to share the bottle of the non-alch stuff with me, which was pretty cool.  We talked a lot about health.  He had come prepared with tea and coconut water, which he shared with me too.  He was open about being on his tenth day of not drinking, for health reasons.  Made me feel more normal and less like I had to hide that I was sober all night.  All-in-all, it somehow really wasn’t a big deal.  

As the night wore on and people started to show their intoxication, I found myself actually happy to not be drinking.  The hardest part was while we were waiting for people to arrive (usually when I down a couple to ease my anxiety about the event) and during the first couple hours.  After that, no one really seemed to notice I wasn’t drinking, and I just stopped caring.  Here’s the crazy part — I stopped caring because I was actually just having fun.  Having fun sober.  I have been telling myself that this is a foreign concept to me, but somehow my mentality shifted last night and I just decided to give it a go.  Luckily I have great friends and it simply wasn’t a big deal.  I even danced with my husband and friends.  And totally noticed how awkward my dancing felt, but also didn’t let it get to me.  

You know what really helps with this fun-without-alcohol thing?  Besides having good friends who I realized I need to spend more time with (instead of cousin and her husband and their circle, as previously written about), yoga.  Yoga really, really helps me remember to breathe and be present.  That I can even take it one breath at a time if I need to.  It seriously motivated me to have a yoga workshop to look forward to today and the thought of attending it helped me stay with my goal of not drinking last night.  

Today in the workshop the yoga teacher invited us to feel proud of ourselves today for something we’ve accomplished, even if it was just showing up to yoga.  When he said the words, “you should feel really, really proud of yourselves,” I was so moved.  Because I am.  I am really, really proud of myself for staying true to my intention to not drink and for experiencing the beginning of a new year with clarity.  So now I am on day four and I am feeling great.  Whole new ways of living are ahead of me and I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds.  

Happy new year friends, and thank you for getting me through this hurdle by sharing your stories in this sober blogoshpere, and with your kind comments of encouragement.  I am so grateful.  

 

Day 25: Officially the longest period of sobriety I’ve experienced since… teenagerhood?

This feels like a significant achievement!!  So I’m celebrating with a cup of tea.  I am in the middle of trying really hard to kick this awful cold to the curb and today I think the end is in sight.  I was even able to return to my workout today and it improved my mood immensely. I’ve always been into working out, usually running or power yoga, lately boot camp style training classes.  I never saw any conflict in my desire to stay fit and my affinity for booze.  In fact, nothing beat a cold beer after a long, hard run.  Seriously, though.  I will miss that.

But now you know what I notice?  That “runner’s high.”  I always loved it before, but I’d often (read:  almost always) reward myself, thereby masking the runner’s high, after a workout with a beer or glass of white wine.  (In my defense, I’m an evening workout person, I never did this in the morning.  Well, at least, not on a workday.  Ha.)  The afterglow from a good workout, in and of itself, is actually pretty great.  Definitely helps in creating a feeling of wanting to stay here, in this sober place, getting my fitness back.

Had this quote on my mind today:

“When you quit drinking you stop waiting.”
― Caroline KnappDrinking: A Love Story

One thing I was always waiting for while drinking was to see that muffin top disappear!  Never could understand why my workouts weren’t enough.  Hoping that’s one thing I get to stop waiting for… or at least I know I’m actually doing what needs to be done instead of lying to myself!

So overall, today has been great.  I’m still worried about the party I’m hosting on Friday, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s blog and keep tonight’s thoughts positive.  Took a while to feel this way so I’m gonna bask in it while it lasts.

Fitness and booze

Today is my 19th day and I had a little epiphany during boot camp class tonight.  Well, a couple little epiphanies.  I need these positive revelations to keep on coming, because that urge to pick up a bottle of wine on the way home is far from gone.

The first revelation was how much easier it is to actually stick to my workout schedule.  At the risk of setting myself up for failure, I have to say, that when my workout is not competing with happy hour, I’m much more likely to go.  And, I feel so good afterward that it really is kind of it’s own happy hour.  Especially when my workout consists of classes, where there are other people getting in shape with me.  Good motivation.  Before, even if I had the best intentions to work out, if anyone invited me to happy hour I immediately had an excuse to get out of my workout.  I would happily ditch it for drinks and snacks with buddies.  A couple hours later I’d get home, buzzed, exhausted, probably would have another glass of wine, and I’d generally feel like crap that night and the next morning.  Now, I look forward to the workout, happy hour’s not an option, and when I get home I feel great and sleep like a baby.  Duh.

Workout = 1.  Happy Hour = zero.

Revelation number two was along the same lines and seems totally obvious.  But I am realizing now how totally incompatible my drinking habits were with ever reaching my fitness goals.  When you suffer from a crazy hangover for at least one day of the weekend, therefore missing a workout, that inevitably leads to bad food choices, hair of the dog, lethargy, and missing a couple more days before getting back in the swing of things.  That’s like half the week, wasted!  Yet somehow I never truly faced this fact, always feeling sorry for myself for not achieving the results I felt I should see for working out and eating right half the week.  (Since I’m being honest here, even on most of my “good” days I’d plow through a decent amount of wine, I just never thought it “counted.”)  I’m loving the ease I feel around actually doing my workouts now.  I mean, it’s a hell of a lot easier to hit boot camp when you don’t have a hangover.  Am I right?  (Like I said, not rocket science here, but that’s how my denial system was working.)

What’s also easier = not grabbing extra snacks at night because I’m up watching junk TV with wine.  But oh, how I loved that feeling of checking out for the day.  It is so easy to look back on that little escape with rose-colored glasses and ignore the waking up at 2 a.m., unable to get back to sleep, the foggy-headed mornings, the fatigue.  No, the cold hard fact is that being responsible for myself and making healthy choices is just not as hard as I always made it out to be.  Turns out it’s not all that hard at all without wine in the way.  I’m surprised at myself for being surprised here.  Seems like a no-brainer.  But feels good to be honest with myself for once, and take stock of the ways booze was getting in the way of LIFE.

With that, I’m planning to ramp up my boot camp attendance this month and set a goal to lose five pounds by the new year.  Totally do-able and maybe by sharing that goal I’ll be even more motivated to stick to it.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep and 6 a.m. class tomorrow morning.