What I Learned From Going 30 days (almost) Alcohol Free

Alcohol.

It’s responsible for some of the best and some of the worst memories in my life. It’s brought me immense joy and created life altering pain. Sometimes I use it to help me celebrate some of lifes most important moments and sometimes it has helped me forget the worst.

Some of my best ideas come to me while drunk. Well, they seemed great at the time.

Alcohol can bring people together and can rip families apart. Its a part of culture, of religious ceremony, a rite of passage, and a coming of age.

It can be used for both good and evil. It can be beneficial for health and a toxic poison.

Alcohol has given me courage and has made me feel massive shamed.

Alcohol. Moderation really is key.

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Cozy Up with a Koozie

Since the age of 18 I haven’t gone more then a week without drinking some amount of alcohol. Sometimes as little as one glass of wine up to the amount to black out multiple days in a row (not recently but back when I was like 21… oh yeah). So back in August when I was thinking of going 30 days without alcohol I knew it would be a challenege for me but I never expected to discover anything about myself through the process.

I thought it would be all about clear skin, more energy, less hangovers and giving my liver a break. Sure it was about those things but I didn’t realize the role alcohol played in my life until it wasn’t a part of it anymore.

I’ve never considered myself to have a problem with booze. Although I used to have an eating disorder, which is starkly similar to alcohol and drug addiction, I wouldn’t consider myself to be prone to addictive behaviors. And yet, I come from a family with several recovering and recovered addicts.

With the exception of avocados, I don’t think I’ve actually been addicted to anything. My inclination to try drugs and cigarettes came and went without hooking me like a guppy. Maybe it’s my biology or dopamine receptors in my brain but for whatever reason my desire for libations seems baseline to me.

Sobering Self Awareness

Giving up alcohol for 30 days is not hard.

Immigrating to a new country is hard. Going to fight in a war is hard. Being a single parent is hard. Losing a loved one is hard.

When I actually think about the reality of giving up alcohol temporarily, its easy.

And yet I found it really really difficult.

So challeneging in fact that on day 21 I had beer. AND wine.

I don’t feel any guilt about this since I put myself on this no booze cruise I should have permission to dock ship for a day if I want to (I hoped back on the train the following day) but why was it so hard that I couldn’t or didn’t stick to it?

I discovered it’s because of my associations with alcohol.

Alcohol is equivalent to a good time, forgetting responsibility, having FUN. When I want to celebrate life I want rose` to be right there with me. For me, alcohol represents some kind of expression of freedom. A kind of girl power pillar of giving no fucks. Plus I love the feeling of a little buzz, too. Can you blame me, it so fun?

Its also what I fill in the blanks with and this is where I feel like I need some growth and evolution. If I have a day off I tend to want to drink. I didnt realize that’s how it was until I was presented with a beautiful Saturday afternoon with nothing to do and nothing to drink.

This got me present to the fact that its sort of Plan A and Plan B. Especially on the weekends with my boyfriend and friends.

Instead of drinking I tried new workout classes, went on a TON of bike rides, cooked new recipes, read a book for an entire afternoon, finally did Instagram LIVE and shot some YouTube Videos. All good things.

Obviously, as a holistic nutritionist and health coach I am aware that it has very little nutritional value but I believe in balance, the 80/20 way, ya know? Having the freedom to indulge in less healthy things without guilt or excess is a part of a healthy blanaced lifestyle. For some people thats chocolate cake or chilly cheese fries. For me…well its alcohol. And I am ok with that. I gotta do me.

The Context For the Cleanse

When deciding to go 30 days without alcohol I was not attempting to test my willpower, rather see if I could create an empowering enough context around giving it up that it would be motivating and inspiring to stick to it. I also wanted to really challenege myself to something that would actually be a challenege. Meditating or working out everyday for 30 days would be a piece of cake for me so I genuinly sought out to push my limits.

The idea came from a post I had written about willpower and how it has nothing to do with diet, food and exercise.  

Willpower is the ego trying to force something to happen. When we come at it from this angle we are up against ourselves which is why its often a struggle. It’s when we decide to do something from a place of self love and creation that its a breez to accomplish.

So with that in mind, I decided that giving up alcohol would be about nuturing my body to a whole new level. Not only physically but mentally, as I am prone to anxiety and stress, I knew that eliminating alcohol would decrease the symptoms. I also knew that by giving my liver a much deserved break my body could focus on cell regeneration, detoxing and streghtening my immune system.

Lastly not having hangovers was something I was excited about. If I wasn’t hung over and had more energy then I would be more productive and get more shit done. AND YOU KNOW IT WHAT? I got a lot more done and was up a 6am everyday with tons of energy. This was without a doubt my favorite part… waking up and feeling clear headed, focused and just all around great every. single. day. was a true joy.

But being drunk can be a joy too. In conclusion, I am proud of myself for setting out to do this and will most likely do it again, maybe once a year just to reset the system and fill in my time with other things.

What about you? How is your relationship to alcohol. Do you drink, do you not? Why? I’d love to know 🙂

xo, C

 

 

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  • so interesting to hear about your journey! i’m not big on alcohol, mostly because i can’t get over the flavor, and get too uncomfortably hot (asian glow tho) before i can get anywhere close to drunk. sometimes i wish that i was able to associate alcohol with a good time personally, but that’s just not the case for me.

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