Day 344 – 3 More Weeks

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I can’t say that I feel the need to give anything specific up this year, at least nothing consumable. If anything, I may give up something like using profanity or complaining. Or I may just add some positive practices back into my life like prayer, meditation or even begin training for a triathlon I want to do in June.

Tomorrow also marks the beginning of the 49th week of my experiment. I realized today, that on my 365th day, I’ll be in the same city (New York) I was last year on the first day of the journey. I wonder how the Big Apple will look and feel to me as compared to last year. I doubt I will make much notice of it really – I’m really beyond even craving cocktails 99% of the time and am excited to have more cash to spend on fun things in the city as a result.

Many of the biggest a-has I’ve had over the last few weeks have been not so much about not drinking but rather more about healing. Perhaps because my attention and intention are so much clearer now, I am able to recognize the amazing opportunities to heal lingering issues in my life and learn faster than ever before. This has always been a strength of mine, to be honest, but it feels like now I am grasping deeper insights more quickly and easily than ever before. It also seems that I am able to manifest that which I want with much less effort or struggle – and that I have an ability to keep my calm and center amidst all kinds of chaos.

As I once did, many people think that they need alcohol to relax and de-stress. But I can see pretty clearly that while a glass of wine – or three – would help me unwind in the moment, removing that additive from my life has actually made a longer lasting impact on improving my overall well-being and stress levels.

Despite the changes of the last year, I’m no longer a conversation piece among my friends, perhaps just a bit of a curiosity. But like me, they’ve mostly moved beyond the initial period of panic and hysteria of “what do we do when we’re with Felicia?” to a quiet, bemused acceptance of what is. Truly, isn’t that what we all eventually have to do with ourselves and each other anyway?

In some ways, I’ll be glad to see these next three weeks pass so that I can take the next steps on this project in terms of editing and rewriting everything I’ve written, and taking all the steps needed to turn it into a book. But in other ways, I think I will miss this period of observing my life along with the lessons and a-has that have come from doing so.

Bottom line, my overall perspective and understanding of my life has grown and deepened tremendously during this year. I feel much more in tune with myself as well as the world around me. I feel more compassionate, grounded, relaxed and healthy. I also feel a strong sense of pride in being able to stick with not drinking long enough to make it a part of my normal life rather than it just being a habit I was trying to break. I truly have found my zen by letting go of the zin. And that is pretty amazing – or should I say A-M-A-Z-E-N. I am blessed and very grateful for this experience and journey. Thank you for sharing it with me:-)

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Day 40 – Out of the Wilderness

Day 40 – Easter Sunday and our last day in Madison, WI where we’ve been celebrating my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. We wake up late and despite no alcohol I have the now familiar sugar hangover. I guess sugar will be my newest thing to regulate or give up. Time will tell.

We meet the family for brunch at a place on the lake called Sardine. It is pretty busy with after church folks and a number of families. We have a reservation for a fairly private corner for our family group of 24. On the way over I talked to my cousin Suzy about not drinking for all this time and my desire to toast her parents, to be a part of the moment. She says its likely there will be a toast at some point, probably with mimosas and says I don’t need to feel any pressure to order one.

Though mimosas aren’t my favorite, once we sit down I decide I do want one. It’s time to see what will happen if I have a cocktail and a mimosa seems fun, festive and celebratory. It comes out with a strawberry on the side of the glass and an orange twist on top. I have a few sips and immediately feel a little light headed. Throughout the brunch I have about half of it and feel even more light-headed, bordering on dizzy. I don’t like it and don’t even finish it.

By an hour later I have a headache that could easily turn into a migraine, another big sign that drinking is not a good thing for me. But I have to admit, the feeling of wanting to like the way I felt after drinking some of the mimosa – or wanting to drink something else to find the feeling I do like – is back stronger than it has been in weeks. I worry that I’m going to have to start the whole detoxing process again and am dreading it.