Friday 7 April 2017

Day 30 and beyond - the 30 day sobriety solution

As  you transcend your own limitations and tendencies, you will naturally show loving kindness to others.  As your own light shines more brightly, you illuminate the world.
Dan Millman, author of Everyday Enlightenment

Well, here's my wrap up of my recent journey of exploring my life without alcohol and here's me on my day 30 of being alcohol free. Gotta say, i feel pretty incredible.
This was a journey that i never expected to be taking - like why would I.  I loved the social aspect of drinking alcohol. I loved that with the right people, the fun would just flow and so would the laughs, but i began to hate the way it was making me feel and how i kind of felt like it was my best friend when i got home from work each day.  I'd much prefer a 2 legged friend to come home to, or a 4 legged one, so this fake friend was wearing out its welcome.

Once i committed to the journey, there was no stopping for me.  I had to see it through. After all it was just 30 days and i had no idea of what to expect during or beyond, but i like an adventure.  I didn't begin documenting this on my blog till a few days after i started though. I had planned to do it, but just wasn't able to commence the same day. But what was good about this, was that i pretty much read the book twice, as i was reading a few chapters ahead but writing about a few chapters behind. You definitely need to be sober to keep up with that.

To help me keep my eye on the goal, I made a little calendar which i crossed off for each of the 30 days that i had to be alcohol free and as it stands now, i am a very proud and happy 46 days of not having had any booze and i feel like i am moving further away from wanting it. I deliberately choose not to use the word sober.  The opposite of drunk is of course sober (which i currently am)...but i find alcohol free sits better with me and my reasoning for wanting to do this as a lifestyle choice.  I guess it's similar to being meat free, for example.
As i started the journey, i began to make notes of how i was feeling each day.  It really helped to just scribble my feelings down. This made a real difference as i could acknowledge if something was playing on my mind and i could be totally honest about it, because in the early days, it was a very strange thing to not be doing something that i had been doing for so so long. I was able to let the thoughts go and move forward quite easily.
I didn't really have any withdrawal feelings - not that i know what they feel like, because the book just made it really easy to commence and stay on track.  Before i knew it, i was on my way through those chapters and was becoming more excited about what was unfolding in front of me and the possibility of what was for me beyond the book. 

Getting successfully to the end did require 100% commitment, a willingness to be totally honest with myself and repetition of the actions - which i am still repeating with repetition.  This was a true change management book that just flowed beautifully to make it pretty much impossible to fail, but with any change, you need to think about what you are doing cause auto-pilot is on and we need to give it a new route to follow. 

I found the book late last July for $2 at an opshop.  I guess even back then, i was thinking about how to make positive change, so i bought it figuring that i didn't have anything to lose. Talk about return on investment.........  

As the months went on, i would pick up the book, flick through and put it down. Pick it up, put it down.  I just didn't think i was ready to make that kind of commitment. After all, i was just doing what most other aussies were doing daily - enjoying a few vinos and living life. 

To find a book about quitting or cutting back drinking in the privacy in your own home kind of had a BIG FAT self labeled FAILURE invisible sticker on it. I was a scared of not having alcohol - what would life be like without it. Alcohol is everyday life. To think about changing this comes with so many considerations - places you go, things you do, interactions with your friends - so much of life is built around alcohol.  But, I still wasn't sure whether i had the book because i had a genuine drinking problem or because i saw it as an opportunity to explore the possibility of letting go of a habit that was not serving me well.

I like to party just like plenty of others.  I'd be more than happy to knock back a tonne of drinks in the name of fun, but when i was waking up more and more feeling like shit, I just started to have a desire to not drink, but i just didn't know how and i understand why willpower just doesn't work in some cases.  I would think about what it would be like to not have alcohol or have access to it and i didn't like the thought.

In my quest to try and cut back myself, i would do things, such as mark on a wine bottle how many nights i didn't have alcohol, i would put a note on my wine to remind me why i didn't want to have glass, i would toy with the idea of doing some NLP - neurolinguisitic programming - i think that's italian and went lovely with a chardonnay,  .....but it came back to the will power and I just didn't have any...I am totally okay to put my hand up and own it. Throughout the day, the thought of booze didn't even enter my mind, it was totally an evening thing, or a social weekend thing, so you think it would be easy to just not pour a glass of wine right?
All that aside, i have had lots of conversations with people who are inspired and encouraged by my journey and who share similar stories and it's totally okay to go, hey, i think i'd like to change this aspect of my life and i feel really good about doing it and hopefully, by starting this conversation it may inspire others who feels the same way that i was feeling.

I did say i would add my final action item from my final day of the journey and here it is.

Action 4. Day 30. Review before you and photo and keep journaling. 

The before me.  In looking back i think i could probably have added more to this but i think i was a bit too shocked to actually put it on paper.  I would like to add to my rock bottom moment though.  I woke up one morning, it was a weekend - so i wasn't needing to go to work and when i walked out of my bedroom, i noticed 2 glasses.  a wine glass and a small water glass sitting on the table beside the lounge. that is strange i thought, i didn't remember getting up and getting that other glass, and can only guess that i went to the kitchen, forgot to take my wine glass, so grabbed another one and put some wine in it. For me, when i saw that second glass and realised that i didn't actually remember going and getting it, i knew right then that it was time to pick up the book.  so i did and read the getting started chapter.  

With my son staying with me and going through his own journey, i am definitely under a bit more stress emotionally and financially so drinking wine, stress and tiredness isn't a great combination. I need to care more for myself, and I want to be a great role model to my son. 

I have done the 30 day program and i did wonder how on earth i would make it through day 1, 2, 3 4, etc without having alcohol and i have. And i am SO FUCKING PROUD OF MYSELF.  People say i look amazing and i feel it in so many ways. xx to me.

So what happens next for me, well i'll continue doing what i am doing. It feels great and it feels natural. I have 24 hours in a day and the majority of that is spent at work, the next largest amount is spent sleeping and the remaining small amount is my actual free time (apart from on the weekend) so i think it makes great sense to use the small amount of free time that i have to doing meaningful things and sitting and drinking a bottomless glass of wine isn't meaningful.

I loved all the inspirational quotes and stories in the book and many i have stuck up around my apartment to remind me of who and where i want to be and this is one that really resonated with me....

Am i willing to forgo the short term satisfaction that drinking brings to ensure the longer term happiness and fulfillment you desire in your life?

So having shared a very personal account of what i did and how i felt, it would be really easy to look at this full of judgement, but I don't feel this way, i look at it as empowering and freeing. If you ever consider taking a journey such as this, don't be frightened of it, don't brush it off as being not a big deal - explore it, embrace it and consider the possibilities, not the limitations, how much money you may save and how many less trips you need to do to the recycle bin. 

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