Friday, April 17, 2015

Taking a booze break (update on The Year of Living Drinklessly)

A great booze-less Baja evening.

When I decided to take a break from booze, I had no idea there was a movement afoot.

These days, people are doing a lot of writing and talking about the role of drinking in their lives. They are looking at why they feel compelled to drink in social situations or most evenings. Or why they drink to celebrate or soothe. For many, traditional views of drinking (such as espoused through 12-step programs) don't resonate. So they are finding other ways.

One of the most exciting for me is the social network Hello Sunday Morning. Some people on the site are taking a break. Some are sober. Some have developed a "drinking plan" to foster mindful drinking. What they all have in common is a desire to understand.

New books on the topic abound, such as Glass Half Full, Sober is the New Black, The Sober Revolution, and Kick the Drink Easily!--in which Jason Vale makes the great point that "alcohol is the only drug you have to justify not taking."

There are many reasons to take a break from booze. It doesn't have to be that you're an alcoholic or have a "problem." I don't identify with either notion. I was realizing how I didn't feel good the next day, even after one or two drinks. And I wanted to step back and take a look at my patterns.

I haven't had a drink in two months--the longest period of time in my life except for when I had brain surgery.

For the most part I've been very good at focusing on not drinking as an adventure. I'm seeing that I'm not missing out on anything, except hangovers.

But the other day, I endured an hour-long super-craving for a glass of wine. The desire was so strong, it surprised me. I didn't pretend it wasn't happening, and I didn't impulsively act out (unless you can call eating a few jelly beans acting out). I just watched that crazy part of my mind buck like a wild horse. I actually laughed at myself as that voice developed all kinds of rationalizations about why I should do it.

I told myself I could go buy a bottle if that's what I really wanted. But that didn't sound so good either.

So then I drank a big glass of sparkling water with a dash of grapefruit juice and went for a swim. Drinking that water helped a lot. Makes me wonder if I was a bit dehydrated and, therefore, more susceptible to the craving.

Soon, the desire disappeared. As Joe Dispenza days, "A habit is when the body becomes the mind." The mind knows what it wants and doesn't want. But the body has become so habituated it overrides the mind.

The question is: Who's in control?

During this time off, I've come to realize the limiting thoughts I have about booze. The main one is that only uptight, un-fun people don't drink.

Today I embrace my empowering belief that what I imbibe has nothing to do with my happiness, joy, strength, personality, or sense of self.

Every day, every moment, I have choices. I celebrate my choices! I know what makes me feel good. My sense of ease, peace, spontaneity, fun, purpose, and power come from connection to my inner being--not from some outer source.

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