Day 316 – Crossing a New Threshold

Since I last wrote, I’ve crossed a new threshold. I’ve now been on this journey for over 300 days and have just than 49 days left in my formally planned experiment. I write a lot less often than I did in the beginning, probably as much because I am busy with a variety of other things as anything else. But it’s also because over the course of the last 45 weeks, I’ve really learned to live my life without alcohol as a major focal point. This change has taken place over time, with consistent effort, discipline, and sometimes difficulty. But more than anything it has happened because of COMMITMENT.

The commitment I’ve made is not so much about not drinking as it is about making being present and putting my overall health and well-being a priority above momentary and often artificial pleasure. At times I’ve substituted other things to take away the void left by eliminating drinking alcohol – and my chocolate consumption went up pretty drastically for a while. But week by week, I found that I needed to fill that hole less and less.

Over the last month or so, I’ve had about one small drink per week – a cordial of some kind – just to enjoy the pleasure of the taste and the mild warming feeling that came from drinking it. I’ve also tasted almost every beer, cocktail or glass of wine Dave has had when we’ve been out and none of it has appealed to me. Boy, times have changed.

As I come closer to the conclusion of my experiment, I suspect that I will for the most part remain a non-drinker. That actually kind of shocks me. However, I don’t think I’ll be a complete teetotaler as I now see I can enjoy alcohol in small amounts, especially at home, without it being a big deal or something I can’t control.

But for me, I don’t think drinking will ever be the same as it was. I sincerely feel that it will never again be a habit I participate in without truly thinking about it but rather an activity I selectively partake in when the moment seems right and the libation is something I truly enjoy. And that is something worth toasting to!

Cheers – and Namaste:-)


Day 115 – An Independent Study

Happy Independence Day! Hope you’re having a great holiday:-)

It’s been a good holiday so far, but I have to be honest. I’ve hit something of a wall (also known as burn out) after all the work and travel and projects and writing over the last four months. Thankfully over the weekend I have been able to rest a lot including taking a 13 hour “nap” yesterday. Other than that, I’ve spent most of my time being “independent” laying on the couch or sitting on the porch reading, and have taken a few smaller cat naps also.

Also over the last two weeks since a crazy stressful/tiring trip to Las Vegas followed directly by a great/tiring trip to Orlando, I decided to take a brief sabbatical from not drinking. It’s been good overall although my body has protested a little here and there. But I have to admit it’s been nice to feel “normal” – and to have an occasional buzz.

Tonight we are going over to a friend’s house and I am debating still whether I am going to openly drink a glass or two of wine in front of them or if I will go back to water only. I think I’ll probably be open about my break and faithfully start up a renewed campaign of abstinence on Monday. That will also leave me free to have a glass of wine with Dave’s cousin’s tomorrow without feeling guilty about it.

One curious thought…why should I feel guilty about drinking if I choose to do so? It’s not like I am breaking a promise to anyone, really not even myself. This quest of non-drinking is an experiment for the most part, and one that is harder than most people would want to acknowledge. Truthfully, in my weakest moments, I want to just scrap it all. But on days when I am feeling strong and empowered about doing whatever is needed to be “healthy” it seems like such a tiny sacrifice.

Then again, I think about the true definition of health. Here’s one I found on the UC Davis Student Health and Counseling website that I think puts the idea of wholistic health into a better perspective and one that seriously makes me think drinking a little here and there is “good” for me.

“Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.”

And another, from The World Health Organization

“…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” 

From a social perspective, a couple of drinks here and there while I was away did add to my overall social well-being as I expect having a glass or two of wine tonight will. The challenge is to let alcohol enhance my life and social health in a positive way without letting it cause damage to my physical health in a negative way.

And from a purely mental health perspective, I think drinking here and there can be a good thing also if it keeps your mental health in tact (as opposed to not drinking making one feel like an outsider, or abnormal person) as per this snippet from theWorld Health Organization.

“Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

Balance…its always about balance for me…and the irony of me choosing that name for my first business still does not escape me. Why, I wonder, is that state so hard for me to achieve?

Perhaps the real goal of my experiment is simply to drink alcohol consciously, not out of habit, stress or pressure from others but purely for the enjoyment of doing so and the enhancement of an experience or life in general. Whatever the case, thank you for accepting my recent choices and allowing me the opportunity to explore my discoveries and revelations about them with you.