These blog posts will document my journey of abstaining from alcohol for a year with the help of the One Year No Beer program. Please feel free to comment because I know there’s others that could benefit from hearing your voice as well. I would be thrilled if we could be on this journey together. I started this blog about 60 days in, so there’s plenty of time for us to be goal friends.
Sprint 4- November 27- December 9, 2021
Today’s inspiration was about preparing for big events. Thus far in the challenge, I’ve been to weddings, birthday celebrations, festivals, and chef’s tables without drinking. The most tempting was the chef’s table that I went to for my anniversary. I was, unfortunately, not prepared. I almost gave in. This hang up showed me that I’m still in transition and need to plan next time. I was able to resist temptation by asking for a non-alcoholic pairing. However, that won’t always be available. It’s possible they could have had nothing and I just drank out of feeling disappointed or wanting to “celebrate.” Putting in the extra effort to brainstorm and role play any situation that I relate to alcohol could be helpful. I don’t want to feel that vulnerable again.
Today’s inspiration was about gratitude. I was encouraged to make a gratitude journal in which I think about 3 things I’m thankful for daily. The basis of this is from positive psychology. The thought is that the negatives are there, but your mental state is much better when you focus on and appreciate the positives. Luckily, the journal (I’ll be trying to use more) has a spot for me to express my gratitude. I was also encouraged by the inspiration not to only go for low hanging fruit. I should try to think about the “mundane” things that I appreciate. I thought about this and feel another way to dive into gratitude is to go for those low hanging fruits, but be specific.
Today, I am grateful for:
1) A personal connection with Christ in which I can go directly to him with my needs
2) A loving relationship with my husband that evolves regularly
3) Three beautiful children that are obedient and treat me like I’m the best even when I don’t feel like much of anything
Today’s inspiration was about calculating the cost of drinking… Yes the actual dollar amount. I’ll admit that part of me is hesitant because I don’t want to see that number. I don’t want to think about the things I did associated with drinking like extra snacks, antacids, activated charcoal, taxis, alcohol pairings, and hobbies that evolved around alcohol. I would estimate that spent about $8000-$15,000 a year and I might be low balling. Naturally, I’m going to spend that money on something else. Wouldn’t it be awesome to think that that money could fund a few races, massages, healthier hobbies, self care products, outsourcing tasks… so many things. Thus, I agree with OYNB that this is hands down a great investment that will surely pay dividends in the future.
Today’s inspiration was about stoicism. It’s defined on Google search as, “an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge; the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.” The inspiration encouraged me to appreciate what I can and can’t control. I can control me. I control what I do, how I react, and ,to an extent, how I feel. I am the master of the Claudine ship. This reminds me of the serenity prayer. Focusing on having control of myself not only gives me power, it gives me peace. I was also encouraged to read the “Daily Stoic.” I got the audiobook and hope to listen to it with some of the time I’ve gained from not drinking and recovering from drinking.
For some reason, I feel compelled to share how much I drank. For at least a year before starting the challenge, I was drinking 1-2 drinks 2-3 times a week. This was so I didn’t drink during fast days or times that interfered with work. I also drank upwards to 5 drinks or more during celebrations, vacations, holidays, and chef’s tables. Those events could range from 3- 10 days a month depending on the month. My regular drinking didn’t seem as much of a problem, but I was definitely a “celebration warrior.” Those times are still my most tempting times and a lot of my mental work is concentrated on staying sober during those times I’ve programed myself to indulge.
Today’s inspiration was about random acts of kindness. Inspirations like these show me how this program is going to help me with my sobriety journey and life after I officially put away alcohol indefinitely. I honestly love to do random acts of kindness. I really liked the suggestions of broadening my idea of what those acts can be. So often, I think about monetary or material things when it comes to these acts, but I need to remember that the little things go a long way. Little things like calling a friend, giving someone a hand, or even genuinely acknowledging someone’s presence. It feels good to be kind. It feels good to make someone’s day.
Today’s inspiration was about the strength in knowing I can handle life’s trauma’s without self medicating with alcohol. I not only handle things better now, but I’m also able to fully process what’s happening whenever it happens. I’m available. I don’t have to recover from a hangover and wonder if my thoughts are clear. Moreover, I have more power to do other things now that I’m not drinking. Not drinking has added more time to my days and more energy. I have more power to work on this blog and maybe others. I have more power to prioritize my fitness. I have more power to have energy with my children. It feels wonderful. The more I acknowledge this power, the more powerful my positive feedback loop to end drinking becomes.
Today’s inspiration was about avoiding denial. This means I should avoid the mindset that I’m denying myself from having alcohol… I’m choosing not to have alcohol. I felt this most during my most recent temptation. None of the reasons associated with denial could have kept me from that legendary wine pairing. It took saying to myself that I chose to be alcohol free long-term to keep me away. Choosing gives me power while denying sounds like I’m losing or deprived. I’ve gain so much since I stopped alcohol.
Sometimes I do think about having a drink. Alcohol is normalized and so accessible. When I think about drinking, my mind goes straight to a “good night.” In my mind, there’s no fun in a beer or two. If I wanted to be sober, I wouldn’t drink. Nevertheless, my cravings do not negate the benefits of and my desire to stop drinking.
Today’s inspiration was about coming home… coming home to my body. Without drinking, I should be able to be more in tuned with what my body wants and needs. This was interesting because I just found out something interesting about my body. I can’t kneel with my butt resting on my legs. My knees are not having it. I’m not sure how long this has been happening, but it wasn’t until I started the bar method classes that I was reminded of my lack of flexibility. I’d like to believe I would have taken the Barre class without stopping my drinking habits. However, I would be ignoring my boost in wanting to be on top of my health since starting the alcohol-free journey.
Today’s inspiration was about mindfulness. As I progress through this challenge, I should be prepared to gain awareness of various aspects of my life. A big component of this will be learning to be aware of the present, mindfulness. The suggestion was to show up, pop the headphones in, and do a guided meditation on Headspace. I use the Headspace app, but it’s been isolated to the sleepcasts. I would probably benefit from exploring the other elements of the app. Somehow I feel like something’s wrong about having to be intentional about priorities to the extent that they need to be scheduled and in the calendar. Nevertheless, I agree that being intentional about mindfulness may bring fruits like not drinking. I never thought my drinking was holding me back. Maybe resistance to mindfulness is too.
Today’s inspiration was about how it only takes one black swan to disprove a theory. The theory that all swans are white is disproved as soon as a black swan is spotted. That goes for drinking. I’ve encountered so many black swans on this journey. I thought that without drinking I wouldn’t fit in, people would act weirdly towards me, my food experiences would be less meaningful, and certain events wouldn’t be as enjoyable. I used to look forward to drinking as a part of many events. It’s amazing knowing that my thoughts about drinking were false. Drinking isn’t necessary or a source of enhancement. I’m gaining by cutting drinking out.
Today’s inspiration is about controlling how you feel. My school of thought is that feelings are out of the human brain territory, but we can control how we think and react. Indirectly, through feedback, this can effect how we feel down the line. The inspiration goes a step further and asked me to use mindfulness… It’s confession time. I have not been doing my daytime mindfulness. I do sleepcasts like a champ, but adding the day mindfulness seems to be a target for this challenge as much at not drinking. The inspirations are regularly discussing how the aim of this challenge is life change. I have to put in the work.
Today’s inspiration was about cognitive bias. We are prone to cognitive biases based on whether something is presented to us now vs in the future. We are more inclined to say yes to future events, but as they become closer we think it through and can’t figure out why we said yes in the first place. I was encouraged to think through all events and situations as if they were happening tomorrow. This is especially important in this challenge because there will be places that I shouldn’t go or scenarios that I need to plan for before they happen. I think the larger issue is feeling the pressure to say yes. I want to work on saying no and not feeling bad about it. I also want to work on not having to say anything. I think these two things also play a major role into my willingness to agree to unwanted events independent of when they occur.
Today’s inspiration was a review of Sprint 4. The topic that stood out to me the most was coming home to my body. I am intrigued by how much I’m able to notice about myself without the numbing and distractions that comes from alcohol. One of my “whys” is that I want to be fully present and available. I’m available, but I still struggle with doing things to be more present… Mindfulness. Maybe one day I’ll do a meditation, finally show up, and be able to hone in on that skill. That’s it… Tomorrow I’m doing a meditation during down time at work.
If you want more information about the One Year No Beer program. Check out this LINK. I strongly recommend this program if you question your relationship with beer. Even if you’re doing a “dry” month, it could be helpful for you to meet your goal.