As a part of my ongoing quest to improve myself, I have decided to abstain from alcohol completely this month. Why have I decided to do this?
1. A glass or two of wine in the evening has become the primary way I "de-stress" from the day or deal with immediate stress (difficult child, crabby partner, etc.). This strikes me as a borderline unhealthy coping mechanism, and I'd like to explore other ways to calm myself.
2. When I quit smoking, I gained about 10 pounds. I've also been drinking more, and I'm sure those two things are connected.
3. Drinking in the evening causes me to be sleepy earlier. The time after my daughter goes to bed is the only time my husbutch and I have alone together, and I feel like I'm cheating us out of that when I am ready to crash at 9:30pm.
4. Alcohol is expensive, and we have been exceeding our alcohol budget by about 35% every month for the past six months.
So it's making me fatter, sleepier, and more broke. Allegedly. I'm not certain that abstaining for a month will make me feel thinner, more energized, and richer, but hey, isn't that what experiments are all about? The biggest and most important motivator, for me, is reason #1. Drinking has just become too much of a crutch, I fear. Especially since quitting smoking, I find myself craving chemical therapy, something, anything. I've also been drinking more coffee, I've found. If I had pot, I'd probably smoke it. Why? To take the edge off, I guess. To help me relax and calm down from any stress I'm feeling. To adjust my attitude, to give me a break, to make me feel better.
It's that act of looking outside of myself for something to make my inside feel better that gives me pause. I know, we all know, that happiness and contentment can't come from things outside you. These are things you cultivate within yourself. We all know this, yet we subsidize our existences with alcohol, drugs, excess food, shopping. I know what it feels like to be trying to fill that hole. That's how addiction works, and most of us are addicted to something. It doesn't matter that I'm not an alcoholic. I've become dependent on alcohol to smooth out the rough edges, and that ain't right.
So, the logical solution is to re-learn how to regulate myself without the numbing effect of alcohol. I'm honestly not sure what I'll learn by doing this, but I am curious. Will I feel the need to eat more? Will the urge to smoke increase? Will I be more stressed out? Will I still enjoy the company of friends without being socially lubricated by alcohol?
I guess we'll find out!