My Year of No Beer- Sprint 6

These blog posts 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 are 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 the challenge, so there’s plenty of time for us to be goal friends.

Sprint 6- December 25, 2021- January 7, 2022

Day 71

Today’s inspiration threw me off… The video was about taking cold showers. Apparently it’s invigorating and gives you a dopamine rush. However, the written component was about reflecting on making it to the final Sprint of the 90 day challenge. Interestingly, the timing couldn’t have been better given that the new year is approaching. 

Here are some of my reflections of the last 90 days:

I signed up for a race and plan to start training this week. I’m also getting more serious about blogging. This challenge has made this easier because I’ve decided to blog about my year without beer. I haven’t noticed many physical changes, but I’ve seen emotionally ones. I’ve gotten bursts of energy and feel more drive to do things. I haven’t felt this good for about 7-9 years. I’ve also noticed a glow and others have too. I look happy because I feel happier and more alive. 

Day 72

Today’s inspiration was about finding someone to admire and emulate. For some reason, I’m finding this hard. My mother has always been my hero, but she’s not necessarily the person I want to use to model all of the aspects of my life. I think my road block is figuring out what I want to be or do. What is my passion? I need to find something that’s important to me and someone crushing that. Being a polygot keeps coming to mind. Of all my goals, it’s likely the most neglected. However, I feel that speaking to someone in their language is so important and beautiful. Especially if it’s not expected. I love to meet new people and it’s amazing to see people’s faces light up when you genuinely want to learn about their language and culture. I feel that Americans don’t really have that excitement or appreciate it. I’m saying all of this to say that I’ll likely need multiple roles models, but I need to first learn what I really want.

Day 73

Today’s inspiration was about always striving to improve. The analogy was that life was like a golf swing. Apparently, a golf swing is never perfect. This inspiration made me think about work. I do my work fine, but I can absolutely improve. Earlier this year, I had the goal of making my productivity bonus. However, I made more excuses and have convinced myself that it may be impossible given my recent hospital privileges. As much as I convinced myself, I need to encourage myself to at least try. Sure… I’ll get the bonus, but the bigger picture is being a better employee and physician. 

Day 74

Today’s inspiration was about nature vs nurture. Those weren’t the terms used, but those are the terms I use for the back and forth between what dictates our life; our genetic predispositions or our environment. This inspiration took it a step further by emphasizing that it is our choices that make the difference. I don’t have to be dictated by my genetic, theoretical hindrances because I can choose to be better and do better. I can choose to lose weight and I can choose to not drink even if those things are in my family. Ironically, drinking heavily runs on my father’s side of the family. I drank heavily before, but I’m seeing that I don’t have to. I can choose. I’m not prisoner to the choices of others. That feels empowering that I could either “break the chain” or at least just live a different life for myself. 

Day 75

Today’s inspiration was about knowing myself. I was asked if I knew what I wanted, what I wanted to be, and who was being. Of those things, I struggle most with what I want. I think I’ve been a consistent person for decades. I have not changed much, but how my essence manifested in my hobbies and pursuits have changed. I was challenged to do an activity in which I wrote down what I wasn’t happy with and also write what I wanted to be doing. My list for what I’m not happy with boiled down to my whys for not drinking. However, thinking about what I want to do, gets so broad and abstract that I can’t really figure out what I really want in the end. I was also encouraged to pencil out time to think about myself. This inspiration also turned into an advertisement for Mastermind. I decided to look up an informational video on YouTube to help decide if this program could be helpful. If I’m honest, the advertisements didn’t help me decide that  to join as much as how well this challenge has gone thus far. So… I will bite the bullet and join Mastermind! I’m a little scared because I’m doing D-group at the same time, but maybe that’s a good thing. Unlike this blog, I won’t be doing daily reflections for Mastermind. That’ll be my special thing… Ultimate me time and reflection. 

Day 76

Today’s inspiration was about increasing the wellbeing baseline by not drinking. By not drinking, I am more able to focus on my physical activity, nutrition, and habits. The point of the challenge is to pick up tips to add to my daily routine in order to meet my goals. The inspiration also urged me to reflect on what I wanted my relationship with alcohol to be. Up until now, it seemed that the program was for abstinence. However, it’s not necessarily for abstinence, but changing my relationship with alcohol. I want my relationship with alcohol to be abstinence. I really can’t envision a reason to drink other than pleasing others, trying to fit in, or getting drunk. None of those sound like excellent reasons. I’ve lived so fulfilled the last few days that moderation doesn’t make sense. I can only envision drinking with the purpose of getting hammered or tipsy because every other reason has been refuted by this challenge. However, it is freeing to know that I do have a choice and I’m not bound to abstinence. Not drinking is a privilege that allows me to do  much needed work on myself. 

Day 77

Day Off!!! Today’s inspiration encouraged to find my happy place. Given that it’s NYE and I’ve been working since midnight, my happy place is my bed. Hands down. I love a nap. Sleeping is my refuge, especially when I’m sleep deprived… which is more often than not. Thanks to Headspace, I can also transport myself somewhere shortly before falling asleep; Mars, Cat Marina, Moon… Sometimes, I’m so keyed up that even those don’t hit the spot like silence and drifting away. I will not only nap between my shifts today, but fully embrace and enjoy the nap. Maybe I can find a wind-down where I think about my own getaway. My go to is always floating in water with my husband or being near water with my husband. It’s really perfect if I hear the kids laughing in the background as well. 

Day 78

Happy New Year!!! 2022 is HERE!!!

Today’s inspiration was about life being a self fulfilling prophecy. Essentially, what I believe will likely happen. If believe I can’t finish this challenge, I probably won’t. Vice versa, if I believe in myself, I’ll likely finish. This is timely because as people are making resolutions. I am making mind shifts. Yes… I have goals, but bigger than those goals is how I view myself and my ability to reach those goals. I want to focus on myself this year. I’m not referring to the things I do, but the things I think. I am capable. I am motivated. I am important. I’m an asset. I’m invaluable. I firmly believe that believing in myself and focusing on when/why I deviate from positivity will be my major pursuit this year. 

Day 79

Today’s inspiration was about whether I was doing the year challenge. The answer… Yes. Interestingly, I had thoughts today about breaking the challenge. Arlinton’s birthday is in the next few weeks and we are going to a 3  Michelin Starred restaurant. My conditioning with chef tables has been getting the wine pairing. Sounds like a super first world problem, but many people have associations like this; drinks during a game, drinks for holidays, gotta try that new IPA. I was able to resist the temptation at last pairing, but I rationalized to myself that it was a 2 starred restaurant. As I write this I’m still on the fence. I don’t want to go back to drinking rarely or even at all. I think about if I were pregnant… That pairing would be an easy no. Even if I thought about this for other legal drugs, the answer would be no. There are no circumstances to which I would want to smoke again; even a trip to Amsterdam or California. I also ponder where this ends… What other “special” thing is worthy of getting me off track? How many special things will I allow in a year, month, or week? How close would I be to continuing exceptions and going back to what I don’t think I’d benefit from in the long run? I don’t believe this exception would be a reversal of everything. 364 days of 365 isn’t bad, but I don’t want this to turn into an ongoing mental battle of what’s “worth” a drink. 

Day 80

Today’s inspiration was about resilience. I was prompted to think of a time I failed and came back stronger. The first think that came to my mind were my personal statements for medical school and residency. My first drafts were always a flop to my first editor. However, as I failed with every rewrite, the statement became more competitive and more reflective of what I wanted to convey. I’m thankful for those experiences because I know I worked hard on those statements and they made me a stronger candidate. 

Day 81

Today’s inspiration was about reflecting on what I wanted my life to look like at 104 years old. They even snuck in a meditation to do it. Although that may be a good activity, I had more pressing issues. I really wanted help on my decision to get that wine pairing. After more than 80 days, I finally decided to reach out to the Facebook group. I’ve been in group forums before and the responses back were typically superficial, didn’t address my concern, or generic. The OYNB tribe is on another level. I received so many comments that included personal experiences, encouragement, and suggestions. In the end, the consensus was that it was my choice, but the better choice would be to press through the temptation. Ultimately, I decided to call the restaurant and see if they have a temperance pairing or was willing to create one. I am so fortunate that I can turn to that group for real support. Thank you OYNB Family!!!

Day 82

Today’s inspiration was about sticking around if i were going to do the 90 days only. I’m doing the year, so this didn’t apply as much. However, the inspiration also reiterated their desire for me to give back by encouraging others. Blogging was mentioned. I have enjoyed blogging about my experiences with OYNB, but it is reinforcing to know that they encourage me to spread the word in this way. Sometimes it feels like I’m just shooting in the wind. However, even if one person reads my blog and changes their relationship with alcohol or whatever is holding them back, this was more than worth the effort. 

Day 83

Today’s inspiration prompted me to think about the best part of my journey without beer. Two things came to mind immediately. The first thing was being available. There were many times in which I was faced with extreme stress since I started my journey. Since I wasn’t drinking, I was available for late night calls, I was able to drive at any notice, and I was available emotionally. That feeds into my second aspect which was having better distress tolerance. There were many instances where I know I would have loss my cool or insisted on my views. However, I have been at peace and find no need to express myself in those ways. I also feel like I’m better able to be there for others who are having emotional instability. During the work day, that’s what I do as a psychiatrist. I’ve been better able to keep that switch on in my home life, even when things are most distressing. I believe those two benefits are so invaluable and should be enough reason for me to never want to drink again. However, we all know life isn’t that easy and I’m not always rational. Parts of me hope that I remember I have this blog so I can encourage my future self.

Day 84

Today’s inspiration was a review of Sprint 6, the last sprint of the 90 day challenge. I think this was the first time I’m fully appreciated how much of an achievement that is. I signed up from the beginning to the year challenge without appreciating how amazing the other challenges are. I need to plan a celebration! As I reviewed Sprint 6, I realized that I completely blew off an inspiration that’s worth revisiting. I was asked to reflect on what I wanted my life to look like at 104 years old.

I want to be at peace… With myself, my surroundings, my life’s course, my circumstances, and my relationships with others. I don’t want to have strife with anyone. I would love for my husband and children to all be alive and if they aren’t, I pray I was comforted and at peace with that tragedy. I would want my relationship with God to be as strong as ever and that I was able-bodied enough to bring people to Him. I would want to have active and loving relationships with my descendants. I want all of my needs to be provided and always have help when I need it. I hope I’m healthy in body, mind, and spirit. I hope I am be fully independent, but I am not alone and there’s mutual enjoyment in my presence. I want to bring joy to others. I want to have forgiveness towards everyone and they forgive me as well. I want to be well enough to help others. I want to be able to look back on my life with tears of joy. I want to have complete calm at the realization that my days, although meaningful and beautiful, will likely come to an end soon. 

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.

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