This year has been interesting, to say the least!
For me, it started in January when I welcomed the New Year by experimenting with ‘Drynuary.’ I went without imbibing for the entire month. I missed my glass of Pinot Noir with dinner but, in retrospect, it was pretty easy. It was winter. My husband, friends, and I had set new fitness goals, and I was ready for a fresh start; a way to remediate the holiday season’s food and drink excesses.
Drynuary gave me a sense of accomplishment. I survived a sober poker night, a few birthday parties, and a memorable trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida with my daughter.
I genuinely enjoyed the benefits of better sleep, healthier skin, and more energy. I found like-minded people who were sober-curious, and I learned more by listening to various books on Audible and free podcasts.
But, after January I was back to my usual routine: light on sleep, heavy on stress, and eventually full of anxiety because of COVID-19 work reductions.
This time of unpredictability and fear was a wakeup call. It gave me some needed clarity about what I can and cannot control. I decided some much needed ME time was in order!
I put out a message on Facebook looking for a new, socially-distant workout routine, and I was quickly invited by a neighbor to try what was working for her. I signed up for a four-week trial. After the first week, it became abundantly clear if I was serious about this fitness plan, I’d have to hit the hay earlier to make my 5:15 wake up, and that I’d once again have to relinquish the evening vino.
My search for support led me to Dry July. Wow! What a coincidence six months into the year, people were ready for another dry month! Dry July. (www.dryjuly.com) is actually a fundraiser for people affected by cancer. They encourage you to challenge yourself to 14, 21, or 31 alcohol-free days. You ask your friends and family to pledge money to see how you do. That’s philanthropy AND accountability! Last time I checked, 37,616 people had signed up and have raised $6,457,983.
I celebrated my first dry fourth of July since adulthood, and I’m gearing up for my 45th birthday. I realize this choice isn’t for everyone. But, once I saw that alcohol was taking more than it was giving me, the decision to take a break became a priority for me.
And, I can see the difference. I feel I’m a better parent. I’m not grumpy, sleepy, or short-tempered. I truly enjoy playing with my kids, going for drives with my teens. My extra energy is being poured into trying new homemade meals and desserts with my kids, as well as playing outside, getting more tasks completed on my to-do list, and spending quality time with the people I love.
What’s more, now, I have a more clear memory of everything. I’m okay feeling the feels, and not using alcohol to temporarily push things away.
I’m sticking to my early morning workouts (because anything later than early morning workouts in Texas are unthinkable!) and I’m seeing more positive results daily. I’m enjoying this break, this focus on my health and wellbeing. It’s exactly what I needed when I needed it.
I’m a live and let live kind of person. I’m not here to proselytize or tell you what to do. I’ve just been so inspired by how I feel I want to share with you. If you are interested in giving a “dry spell” a try, a ton of resources, like these books await you either in paperback form or Audible:
- This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
- Quit like a Woman by Holly Whitaker
- The Unexpected Joys of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
- You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Facebook groups and free podcasts can be found at:
- Jenn Kautsch, Sober Sisters (based in Fort Worth): www.sobersis.com
- Rachel Hart, host of the Take a Break Podcast: www.rachelhart.com
- Annie Grace: www.alcoholexperiment.com
And my new favorite mocktail recipe. Cheers to you!
Blueberry, Mint & Lime Mocktail by @themindfulmocktail
- 10-12 blueberries
- 8 mint leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- Sparkling water or kombucha
- 1 tsp sweetener (optional)
- Place blueberries, mint and lime and sweetener (if using) into a glass.
- Muddle them for about one minute
- Top with sparkling water or your favorite kombucha and stir gently
- Add ice and garnish with extra blueberries and mint.
Another hit for an evening wind-down is Chixotic Tea which has a ton of great antioxidants- even more than Green or Black Tea. Find them @chixotictea or www.chixotic.com.
Enjoy, and here’s to you retaking control of 2020!