What’s up superstars? Here’s my belief for you this week: You can take 30 days off alcohol.
Disclaimer: This blog is directed towards high functioning people who may drink too much. Is that you? Great! Read on… However, this advice is not intended for alcoholics or those with medical diagnoses or conditions.
Let’s do 30 days off alcohol! Ready?
OMG WHY??? Here’s why: You will learn a lot. Do 30 days as a learning experience. Here are 3 challenges you can look forward to (LOL) and 3 rewards of 30 days without a drink. At the end, I include a list of resources that will help you succeed. As I write this, I have not had a drink in over 30 days and I’m personally shooting for 4 months.
OMG WHY??? Because challenging yourself is fun!!! AMIRIGHT???
Wrong? Uh-oh. Then you are probably gonna give up. Why?
Challenge #1: You will doubt your decision.
Drinking is helping you in some way. You think it helps you feel better. It is actually an anesthetic that is numbing you. To be honest, I liked that about alcohol. I also didn’t like it.
That’s right!!! It’s BOTH AND. I like it AND I don’t like it. It’s helpful AND not helpful. And so, it causes doubt. Should I or shouldn’t I? I want to and I don’t want to at all.
Welcome to Challenge #1. To pass this challenge, you will need to make a decision to stop drinking and commit. You will need a strong, compelling reason to stop. Do you have that? Good. Then get ready to face the next challenge! Yaaaaaay!
Challenge #2: You will feel all your feelings. Even the “negative” ones.
I used alcohol to cope with emotional pain. Guess what? When I stopped, I still had the negative emotions and had to feel them. Noooooo, I don’t want to feel nervous. Nooooo, I don’t want to still be angry about the past. UUUUGGGGhhh not this crap again!!!
Yeah. Unpleasant dirt will come out of the pipes. You will want to create another bad habit to buffer your emotion. I ate more sugar when I first took breaks from alcohol. A sugar high is just another way to avoid feeling sad, lonely, angry, you name it.
Quitting drinking initially made me feel like a lobster without a shell. Tender, emotional, vulnerable, angry and frustrated. And then… I learn that I can feel all those feelings and be ok. Feelings are temporary. They carry important information. We can turn toward our emotions and listen and learn from them. Ready for that? Good! Now your final challenge!
Challenge #3: You will feel urges to go back to your old self.
If you have done something habitually for a long time, you’re good at it. You like your old patterns. Your well worn trail. However, during your 30 days, you want to do something NEW. Your brain will FREAK OUT and want to go back to the OLD. What this feels like is a very important urge to drink.
You will want that glass of wine. Like a toddler wants a candy bar at Target. Like your dog wants to play ball until it collapses. Like a smoker wants to light up after eating. You will have to feel that strong urge and allow it to pass. The urges will come and go. And go. And go. And eventually dissipate in intensity and frequency if you allow them to pass.
URGE TIME: Set the timer for 20 minutes. Sit down and write about why you want to drink. Sit quietly and breathe. Feel the feeling that comes up. Listen to what it’s telling you. Question its validity. Is it true? Soothe yourself and remind yourself of the compelling reason you’re doing this.
OK, now that you have the three major challenges you will face, are you still considering taking a break? Good! There are SO MANY rewards. There are superficial rewards like spending less money and feeling better in the morning and clear skin and better health. I am going to offer you some DEEP rewards for this month off.
Reward #1: You will make a promise to yourself and you will keep it and you will be proud.
When you faced Challenge #1, you had to reconcile why you weren’t drinking. For me, I want to feel proud of myself and my behavior. I want to be a role model since I am a teacher. I want to develop mental strength and the ability to handle difficult situations without alcohol. I want to be mentally strong. Those possibilities excite me.
In the past 30 days, I made that promise to myself. I kept it. I feel proud. That is incredibly satisfying and worth it.
Reward #2: You build emotional and mental strength.
Giving up a bad habit for 30 days is BAD ASS. You went to the gym with your feelings. You got on the mat with your insecurities. You turned towards your inner demons and faced them and had conversations. Those conversations were challenging and yet so rewarding because guess what?
YOU GOT STRONGER. You learn that you can feel sad and it will be ok. You learn that your sadness is asking for you to make a change and you can make it. You learn that your insecurities do not hold up to challenge. You learn that you are human and don’t need to be perfect or feel good all the time. You learn that emotions come and go like waves throughout your life and you can surf them.
You become a great surfer. You welcome all the waves. You are mentally strong. You stick up for yourself. You get on your own side. You have compassion for yourself and everyone else. You like this new you.
Reward #3: The low lows and high highs of your life become a wonderful mid-range.
Drinkers are fun because they laugh big and act wild. They seek high highs and peak experiences. And then they hide in their houses and cry. Or is that just me? LOL. Basically, drinkers like big pleasure and no pain. But when you stop drinking to manufacture false pleasure and stop drinking to anesthetize self inflicted pain, you realize that you were experiencing unsatisfying pleasure and optional emotional pain.
High highs. Low lows. Drinkers spend a lot of time around 1-2 and 9-10.
Without alcohol, you find a genuine, solid, satisfying and wonderful range of pleasure and pain. It is 4-7 most days, with some dips to 1 and some soaring moments of 10. The painful moments come, but less often and they don’t stay as long. The satisfying moments come more often and HOORAY! They aren’t laced with regret and shame and disappointment.
Life without alcohol is VERY satisfying. Interesting. Connected. Healthy. Really nice.
So there you have it, folks. Don’t believe me. Try it. Take 30 days off alcohol. Don’t white knuckle it. Learn from it and do some work.
Are you experiencing any of my 3 challenges? You can handle them.
Are you finding even more unexpected rewards? I’d love to hear.
Do you know how much I love you even if you continue to drink and never stop? It’s a lot. I love you a lot. I love you no matter what your bad habit. I have many other bad habits to face and learn from because I’m a human being with a human brain. And such is life. Interesting. Messy. Challenging. And so freaking satisfying.
Loving you out there. You can do this. You can do anything you want. Go try. Get in the arena. Face a challenge. Make yourself proud. XO