Limiting my drinking – that was usually Lisa’s goal. Once she discovered This Naked Mind and freedom from alcohol, she realized a life without limits is the best life.
My drinking career spanned 28 years. Alcohol has played a huge role in my life. After arriving home from work, I would have a double vodka and club soda to take the edge off of a rough day. One drink would end up being three or four and on the weekends, I could easily drink at least 6 cocktails. I found that I consistently anticipated drinking alcohol on various occasions. ‘Let’s go to the beach and make sure to pack the cooler.’ ‘Oh, we are going to my in-laws. Don’t forget to bring the vodka, whiskey and the mixers.’ No matter the outing, I always made it a priority to ensure that my need to consume alcohol was fulfilled.
Limiting My Drinking
There were several instances where my husband and I attempted to moderate drinking. We would say, “let’s just limit our drinking to weekends.” That would last for a week, then the following week, one of us would have a bad Thursday. I thought, ‘it’s Thursday; it’s almost the weekend.’ Before I knew it, I was back to drinking with the same frequency as before – two to four drinks a night almost every night. With such frequent consumption, I soon needed to drink so I could get to sleep. The alarm would go off the next day, then I’d hit the snooze button sometimes two or three times. This became the norm. Limiting my drinking was never successful.
On the morning after my father-in-law’s birthday party in late September, I woke up and immediately felt terrible. The first thought that came to my mind was that I drove home. I was buzzed and also tired. Looking back, I should have taken an Uber. Regardless, that was a poor decision that could have had disastrous consequences. My second thought was, ‘do I have a problem with drinking?’ I am fortunate that I have a loving husband, and so I opened up to him about my thoughts. After telling him my concerns about my drinking, he paused. Then, he suggested that neither of us drink for 30 days. My eyes got big. I was scared at the thought of limiting my drinking for 30 days. Then I took a deep breath and said, “Ok, let’s give it a shot.” Immediately, I looked for different resources that dealt with taking a break from alcohol and I was surprised to have found quite a few.
The Alcohol Experiment
Interested in trying a 30-day break from alcohol? The Alcohol Experiment is designed as a no judgement, no pressure approach to help you reevaluate your relationship with alcohol. Join us!
On September 30, my husband and I signed up for a 30-day no alcohol challenge. I also signed up to join the Facebook group that was affiliated with the challenge. In addition to posting to Facebook, I kept a written journal. In the journal, I listed my “why” for enlisting in the challenge, then I listed what I would gain from not drinking for 30 days. Throughout the 30 days, I paid very close attention to how I was feeling. Two weeks into the challenge, I started to feel more energetic. I also realized that that was the first time in as long as I could remember that I did not have alcohol for a two-week period.
Additionally, I was questioning whether or not I even wanted to drink anymore.
Free and Happy
My husband and I went to a concert at an amphitheater on October 18 and enjoyed ourselves with refreshing club soda with limes – which is my favorite drink! We left the concert and had flavored coffee and dark chocolate. A week after that, we went to a wedding and had a blast – no alcohol needed. We hung out with family. As they drank their alcoholic beverages, my husband and I enjoyed our flavored sparkling water. Throughout the 30-day no alcohol challenge, my morning runs were getting easier. I was not hitting the snooze button because I woke up before the alarm. I also lost 16 pounds.
To Drink or Not to Drink?
On November 2, we met with our friends – who enjoy drinking. It was after the challenge and I was still questioning limiting my drinking. So I split a bottle of champagne with my husband and a friend. We left that restaurant and headed to a sports bar where I ordered a vodka and club soda. I took a sip of the vodka soda and instantly had a headache. My first thought was ‘no!’ I stopped drinking immediately.
That following weekend, we went to Washington D.C. because my husband had a professional music audition. While in the hotel, I had a craving for champagne. I figured I’ll just have a glass. No big deal. After the glass of champagne, I had a glass of wine and another glass of champagne for dinner. I woke up the next morning and felt fine. That wasn’t so bad. Later that night, I started with a glass of champagne followed by a bottle of champagne plus two more glasses when we went out to meet friends that night. We walked back to our hotel and got back to our room safely.
On November 9 at 5:00 AM, I woke up and felt like I got hit by a bus. I did not remember the last hour of the night. That was it. My husband dumped the leftover alcohol. I was able to get a couple hours of sleep before we checked out of the hotel. Now, on October 31, I purchased This Naked Mind on my tablet and read some of the first chapter on the plane ride up. Throughout our trip home, I continued reading the book and I kept asking myself, “what do I do now?” I was scared out of my mind. Deep down, I knew that letting go of alcohol was the best thing that I could do for myself. While on the plane, I was scrolling through some photos from the trip. I stumbled upon a picture of a post that I screenshot it. It said:
The goal isn’t to be sober. The goal is to love yourself so much that you don’t need a drink.
That did it for me.
I too first tried limiting my drinking. Start readingThis Naked Mind today to see what I learned and how you can take back control.
Here I am. It is November 22 and I have been alcohol free for 13 days. I have not felt this good in so long. I am crying as I write this because I am so proud of this life that I am creating. For the first time in a long time, I am proud of me. This past weekend, I have been to 2 bars, a Friendsgiving gathering and a professional football game. I enjoyed all of these events without a single drop of alcohol. We live two hours away from a major city which is where the football game took place. I cannot even begin to describe the sense of satisfaction I felt about not having to worry about how we were going to get home. That alone brings tears to my eyes.
Happily Living Without
All of the latter events have prepared me for the holidays. I am looking forward to spending the holidays for the most important reasons: family and friends. Alcohol – consciously and unconsciously – holds no place in my life because I see it for what it is: poison. I will remain cautious. I am not sure how my family will respond. Regardless, I am steadfast in my choice to be free of alcohol addiction so I am prepared for their reactions. The friends we hang out with know that I no longer drink alcohol and they respect my decision. I simply tell them that I am happier when I don’t drink. Period. My husband will have an occasional beverage if we go out, but most of the time he does not drink at all. We also have no alcohol in our house.
Share Your Story
I am grateful to you, Annie. Sharing your story has inspired me and I will pay it forward. Please share your story and inspire others!