I started this new year with a focus on noticing, embracing, shifting and releasing.
2017 was a big year for me…I married my guy and he is the best partner I could have dreamed up. Our relationship has given me a foundation I never thought possible…or necessary. I truly didn’t understand the solidity I had been missing until I felt myself on solid ground for the first time.
We spent a lot of time planning our wedding which brought a lot of feelings to the surface that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I also realized that if I wanted to find my purpose, I needed to work on it instead of waiting for it to be revealed.
To that end, I started my studies to become a health coach, I started getting back in touch with my body, I opened up to creative outlets…and I talked a lot about the changes I wanted to make, but wasn’t always successful on implementing or following through.
Heading into 2018, I felt a shift and I knew it was time…so here I am. Writing it down to help with accountability.
This January, like a lot of other people, I have decided to release alcohol. I tell most people that I am having a “dry” january. but the reality is a bit more complicated than that – and that’s what led me to the idea of “releasing.”
I LOVE drinking: a glass of wine after work, a beer on a hot summer day, or a tequila when I’m out on a Friday night…or a Tuesday. I love the taste of alcohol, I love the ritual of drinking, the shared experience and the way I’ve always felt that it melted away my stress. My social media feeds reinforce this: stressful days involve alcohol, our jobs drive us to have a cocktail or three after work, parenthood seemingly cannot be handled without free flowing wine at all times. Everyone seems to be working or waiting for the next cocktail. Myself included.
I’m also a bit of a shy person and so I’ve always used alcohol as a way to help me break the ice, or at least feel comfortable enough to break the ice.
The past few years I’ve noticed a physical shift in how my body processes alcohol: blinding headaches in the morning, terrible hangovers, waking up feeling more intoxicated than when I went to bed, memory issues. I’ve also been more cognizant over the past few years of how I act when I’m drinking: I either have zero impulse control and go along for whatever is happening or I’m super irritable and start arguments.
Drinking has shifted from something I thought took away anxiety to something that creates anxiety. I’m always counting the drinks I’ve had, wondering if I should have that next glass of wine. “Am I feeling drunk? Have I eaten enough? Will I be hungover tomorrow?” I’m always replaying the night the next day “Did I say too much? Did I post a stupid picture? Was that argument justified?”
The mental space it takes up before, during and after became too much. And I finally decided that I was strong enough to act. That I can release alcohol and that that is okay.
Not that it’s that easy. My friends love to drink too and it’s a big part of hanging out…with family too. And if you’ve ever gone out and not had a drink with people who are drinking…there’s a lot of “Why aren’t you drinking?!” I think people think I’m judging them. And I’m not. I’m just judging myself and how I am when I drink…which is why I’m choosing something else right now.
I’m not sure what the something else is specifically but here’s what it’s been like so far:
-I’ve been mapping my 2018 – and being super intentional and careful about choosing where I want my energy to go.
-I’ve been spending more time on my health coaching curriculum – going beyond just the requisites and doing more research, spending time thinking about what direction I want to go in.
-I’ve been eating healthier. Spending more time preparing my food and putting more focus on healthy items. Researching more.
-I’ve been reigniting my physical outlets – in the midst of a 14 day yoga challenge, stretching, pilates classes. These help me feel stronger and open up my access points.
-I’ve been meditating more. Working towards having a daily practice.
-I’ve been falling asleep more easily and waking up earlier, more refreshed.
-I’ve been noticing how sugar affects me – and have been conscious not to swap in lots of sugar just because I’m not drinking.
-I’ve been spending more time on social media…which is not a good thing. But I’m noticing how much time I spend and trying to figure out if I can have a balanced social media life.
-I’ve been a little bit more tired than normal. And on Saturday night we went out (for the first time this year!) – and I didn’t drink. But the next morning I was super tired and low energy. And I wonder if there was some emotional release in there – being social without drinking. Or maybe I was just having a low energy day.
I’ll check in again at the end of the month and see how things are going…