Yesterday, I decided to abstain from drinking for the month of February.
Kind of impulsive, I know. But it’s how I roll.
While I am fully aware many people make a similar decision at this time of year because:
- They want to lose weight/take back control of their health, or
- They feel like they need a “detox”, or perhaps,
- They are having too many blackout nights and need to get a handle on their alcohol consumption
My reason was really much simpler: I’d never consciously done it before.
Part of what the theme UNRECOGNIZABLE means to me is putting more time and focused awareness onto the parts of my life where I coast on autopilot. Rather than always reacting to life - Hey Sam, want to go for a drink? Yea sure, why not! - I am striving to be more deliberate about the thoughts I think, the feelings I feel and the actions I take in order to play a more direct role in the results I create for myself.
And what I’ve always found interesting about drinking (and consequently, not drinking) is that I never believed there was a “good time” to stop.
How bizarre is that?
I explicitly remember having a conversation with a girlfriend last year where we both mentioned we’d like to take a month off drinking. But when? We proceeded to go through the months…
January….but it’s right after New Years and the holidays so you’ll probably have a few before starting up work again.
February…well it’s cold and there’s not much else to do and PLUS, Valentine’s Day is coming up and you might have a date so you have to have wine.
March…I'm planning to go on vacation so obviously March is out.
April…it’s So-And-So’s birthday, so April is out too.
May…wedding season begins. Hello open bar!
June-August…three words: summer, cottages, patio. Not gonna happen.
September…Labour Day, celebrating the end of summer, also not a good time.
October…MY birthday - nexxxxxxxt!
November…holiday parties are starting, there’s no way we can cut out drinking then.
December…are you for real?
So what’s a girl to do? It just never seemed like there was a good time to stop drinking. What would people say? What would events be like if you were the sober one? Would they even be fun? Would YOU even be fun?
And so another year went by and I continued to approach drinking from a place of unconscious reactivity and the belief that I had no choice and certainly no control over whether or not I drank.
Now to be clear, I’m not a big drinker. I’ll have the odd glass of wine on weekdays, possibly a few more on weekends and if I’m really feeling sassy, I may toss in a couple vodka waters, but generally, I drink much less than what Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines suggest for women (no more than 10 drinks per week, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days). But if presented with a glass of red (I’m currently digging the California Cab variety atm), I seldom decline.
So I’m taking on this personal challenge for the month of February with full awareness, deliberateness and a generous helping of detached curiosity. Who knows what thoughts, feelings and emotions will come up without alcohol to buffer them?
I’m looking forward to the next month. To having complete control over my choices. To discovering ways to seek pleasure and connection and fun without alcohol. To try new things and push myself outside my comfort zone.
But most of all, I’m looking forward to getting to know myself better and learn to love myself more in the process.
Maybe you totally disagree with doing a Dry February or any Sober month for that matter. Maybe you enjoy nights of drunken shenanigans and girl talk over wine. And that is TOTALLY okay. Rock on, sister! I’m not here to tell you what to do or how to live and I’m certainly not one to judge your choices. I'm doing this for me and hopefully you still come along for the ride!
HOWEVER, if you’ve ever considered what it would be like to see what your life truly looks like without the distraction of alcohol to keep you from really being present to and in the full experience of your life, maybe you’ll me?
Can you imagine the kind of life you could create for yourself if you consciously and deliberately stopped drinking, even if just for a month?
Imagine being comfortable enough with yourself and your life that you didn’t need to get drunk to relax or have fun, to be yourself, to connect, to live and to love. Imagine finding that there is so much more potential for all of these things, without booze.
What does my life look like with drinking?
What does my body look like without drinking?
How do I show up in the world differently without drinking?
I want to see.
Stay tuned, folks!