I am trying to repair my relationship with alcohol by starting off the year with “Dry January”. I encountered my very first test during the first weekend of the year. My family hosted a Masquerade Ball for my Aunt’s 60th birthday party. It was at an event center with an open bar. My family loves to party (we know how to get down) so I knew this would be hard. One, because I was in a social situation, wearing something I wouldn’t usually wear and everyone around me was boozing. Two, I wanted to booze with them and dance without a care.
I stayed strong and sipped my tonic water with lemon/lime while I people watched trying to make out who was who under the masks.
Two hours into the night my head was hurting from talking so much and trying to compete with the music. My cousin grabbed my arm saying “Come dance” but my body didn’t move. I didn’t feel comfortable. This is where the problem starts. I have a small amount of social anxiety in crowds of people, known and unknown. One drink leads to five and before you know it I’m bouncing around the group to group laughing and dancing until the shots kick in and my memory fades away. This usually leads to heavy anxiety and shame for the next two-three days. As if a body hangover isn’t bad enough pair that with a mental hangover and I’ve set myself back two weeks.
New year. Stronger me.
This happens more than I’d care to admit. So this year I’m going to repair my relationship with alcohol starting with this month-long cleanse from it. It’s two weeks in and already I’ve noticed how much the people in my life consume alcohol several times a week.
How are you doing in your new year’s resolutions?
Statistics say that by January 17th a whopping 80% of people have stopped. And believe you me, during Sunday’s football game was equally another test. All of my friends were either at a bar, or party, or somewhere else together enjoying the game. I stayed home in my Diggs jersey cooking lasagna and watching on my little iPhone. FOMO (fear of missing out) was felt intensely.
Maybe I’ll keep going. They say in order to be where you want you need to sacrifice something. For me, alcohol has always held me back, knocked me down, and kicked me in the stomach.
So how can we repair our relationship with something like alcohol?
If you search this topic on google, you’ll get tons of articles about repairing your partner relationships after it’s been destroyed by alcohol and addiction. There aren’t articles about repairing your relationship with alcohol unless it says you need to go to AA.
So since it is a consumable item, I will treat it like food. There is SO much online about how to repair our relationship with that. Heck, how many fad diets are people doing right now?
There are millions of people who struggle with their relationships with consumable items. When I drink, sometimes I don’t stop? So I’m thinking it’s more of a willpower conscious awareness issue. Ironically in the two weeks since I have abstained from alcohol I have lost weight and my skin looks phenomenal. I have been exercising almost daily and my sleeping has improved dramatically.
Yesterday is gone.
I have to admit something sort of sad. If I complete this one-month alcohol cleanse. It will be the longest I have ever abstained from alcohol in 10 years. And I am only halfway through my 25th year. So yes, you are understanding that correctly. I started drinking almost every weekend when I was 15 years old. Those of you cringing, I feel you, I also cringe thinking about this. 10 years of toxicity running through my organs. 10 years of embarrassing moments. 10 years of built up shame and guilt. 10 years of trying to mask and hide that guilt.
Enough is enough.
Now, in my 25th year, I am walking away from that past and I’m telling anyone who will listen. Anyone who will offer their support and who believes in me.
I believe in me.
Last Saturday when I suppressed the urge to have just one drink at the party- that was my biggest win. I won that night, I went home (exhausted) and smiled with accomplishment,
To most people that isn’t a win, to most people that is an easy Saturday night. But most people don’t use alcohol to feel confident for a night. So yes I am on the right path.
So how am I going to repair my relationship with alcohol?
- I’m going to stop punishing myself for the past. It’s done and over. I’m still so incredibly young and I’m glad I had that then vs. now when all that dumb stuff could really cause harm now.
- Practice mindful drinking. When I decide to introduce alcohol back into my life I will taste it, breathe with it and feel it. I will be aware of what I’m feeling when I’m feeling it. Also drinking for celebrations or maybe a glass of wine once a week.
- Practice gratitude for alcohol. Booze is actually an amazing thing. Monks brewed beer thousands of years ago and our ancestors made wine. Alcohol is in the fabric of our DNA
- Enjoy the alcohol. Don’t just drink to forget or feel like someone else. Enjoy it, smile because it tastes good and you are surrounded by your favorite people.
- This is it. One life. One body. Treasure it and look after it.
And there you have it folks an outline for repairing relationships with consumable items. I think this can be applied to anything that you have struggled with. Be it food, alcohol, maybe even an unhealthy friendship. Look into the mirror hard tonight and ask yourself what can you work on to better your tomorrow?
Subscribe to this page if you want to see how the rest of the month goes. I’ll be doing an update February 1st.