Why in the world am I giving up alcohol for an entire year, you ask? It turns out that that’s 12 whole months! (365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 seconds.) How could I, when wine and I have become so close?! What did she ever do to me!?
Well…..I think she (and her buddies tequila and gin) have been slowing me down and helping me hide. As comforting as the friendship has been to get me through anxiety and awkward social interactions, I am at a place where I’d rather set boundaries, leave, or creatively change the dynamics of the moment than dull myself with booze. Also, physically now when I drink, the next day I feel bloated and like I’ve been punched in the brain.
Also, I’ve seen the struggle of people I love who are alcoholics, and I know several more people who discovered themselves and their families were suffering because of their drinking and have moved toward recovery/cut it out from their lives, and been glad for it. Almost always, they’ve found depression or grief or other sources of fear and pain at the root of their use. There’s major risk that alcohol isn’t just recreation- for me, for all of us. It’s endorsed as a way to avoid the real world/real you, and there are times I’ve depended on that diversion. Maybe too much.
Now, whatever’s lurking in me I’m going to chase out, and not subdue my moment in the cave with alcohol. I don’t want to rely on something that isn’t serving me well and doesn’t promote my health and growth. I cannot have it controlling me or keeping me from being the best version of me. I deal with depression, I shouldn’t turn to a depressant for help. Logical, but hard, when it’s seen as THE THING TO DO.
I’ve always HATED (and still participated in) our society’s fascination with alcohol- all cheeky and coy and mysterious. I was over-served, wink wink. We’re going to have some (smile) adult beverages. Do you want some (sly grin) mommy juice? And on and on and on We’re fucking grownups! We turned 21 decades ago- why are we acting like we’re getting away with something?! Like we’re proud of the fact that we consume something (that everyone else also consumes) that slows us down? It’s sort of agreed that drinking gives us permission to be loud, be shitty, be irresponsible, be vapid. But…really? And…but why?
Tonight, I survived Halloween WITHOUT BOOZE in the 45 degree rain, by myself chasing 4 kids (2 of whom weren’t mine, so I had to return them in mint condition). Usually I would have had spiked cider or spiked cocoa or wine in a to-go coffee mug for a night like this, but tonight I walked unaided. In my moments of anxiety (when Snowsuit Pop Star was melting down and Snowsuit Spider Princess was freezing and Snowsuit Dementor and Snowsuit Zombie were running in opposite directions in the pitch dark) I got a little grouchy and snappy, but I recovered quickly, and it wasn’t happening through a thick wall of fatigue.
(In Carrie Bradshaw voice) I couldn’t help but wonder…is it possible that drinking to survive kids was actually making surviving kids….harder?
Despite all of this, giving up booze for a year is scary. I’m worried about facing social interactions, holidays, and hard days without it. What if I’m even MORE awkward? What if I’m not fun? What if I was never fun? What even is fun? Is this spiraling? How do you know when your spiraling? Do you hit your head on the bottom or something? And what if all this personal growth and not drinking is like truth serum and I become an even bigger over-sharing asshole?
We’ll see! Next stop, Girls’ Weekend in wine country! After that, annual family holidays back-to-back. So….this should be fine, riiiiiiight?
More soon. Thanks for listening. Drink your water.