Once upon a time there was a girl who loved Jagermeister, but, after many learning opportunities, discovered it did not love her back. Later on, she realized gluten prohibited her from enjoying her favorite beers.
Soon after, the wine she replaced it with made her sad. She thought and thought. What could she drink now? Since the answers didn’t seem to come easily, she figured she’d join Team 100 until she figured it out.
In case you haven’t followed my blog for long, that girl is me and this is my 100th day without any alcohol. It’s a celebration! In honor of that, I’d thought I’d write down a few observations about my last 100 days.
1. Running immediately became easier. I went from misery to enjoyment on my jogs in about two days.
2. I didn’t have trouble falling asleep like some people do, but I became a sleep monster. I was averaging around 10 hours a night with naps for the first month. I’ve never been a nap person mostly because I hate waking up, so why do it twice in a day? Who was this person?
3. The first few weeks I smelled weird. I think this is a chemistry thing. I’m one of those people who tends to smell like a brewery the next day, even if I didn’t really tie one on. Some people don’t. I read a very funny article about it here.
4. There are no words for how dehydrated I have felt in these last few months. I can’t explain it and couldn’t really find anything online about it. My theory is that aside from a 30-day stint last year, I haven’t really given my body a break from alcohol for an extended period of time in more than a decade. It’s probably working its ass off doing some repair work and needs all the water it can get.
5. Many people think I’m pregnant, from waitresses to friends of mine. I am not.
6. Other people don’t question me at all about it. These weren’t the people I expected. These were the friends who seemingly associated alcohol with every part of their lives. This led me to realize …
7. Not every one drinks as much as I thought. In fact, most people sip on and off throughout the evening, never really having more than one or two.
8. I don’t weigh myself so I can’t say whether I’ve lost weight (many people do), but I will say my muscle tone is pretty stellar these days. Alcohol apparently makes it pretty tough to build muscle.
9. Things I thought would be difficult really weren’t. Vacations aren’t so hard. I went camping this weekend. No biggie. I visited New Orleans 30 days in, a place where you practically have to have a BAC of .08 to get in the city limits (or so I thought), and I ended up having a blast. I just wrote a crafty blog post about it.
10. My other addictions showed up though. I definitely drank a TON of caffeine. I also legitimately considered smoking a cigarette. The moment passed, thankfully.
11. I got irritated with people who drank for a while. I got over it.
12. After spending most of my adult life thinking about drinking (how much I’ve drank, how much I can drink, how much wine is left, when I’ll drink again, why I’m hung over, what will I drink differently next time, why I drank so much and on and on), it is refreshing to stop thinking about it for awhile.
13. Even if I’m making it sound easy, the cravings were pretty intense sometimes. I guess I’m just used to it because I quit smoking. Seriously, alcohol may be a bitch, but I swear nicotine is its older sister who taught it everything it knows.
14. One of my biggest dreams became a reality during this time, I think because I was more ready to handle it and I had the space for it.
15. I feel remarkably free. I can go anywhere in the world without anything more than food, water and shelter. I am no longer tethered to the liquor store and the wine bottle. I felt this way after quitting smoking too.
16. I’m a big fan of mineral water with a splash of juice, like Strawberry C Monster. Not too sweet. Very refreshing.
17. Non-alcoholic wine is OK. It did the trick when I really missed wine. I wouldn’t recommend it over the real thing. See No. 16.
18. Time has slowed down. I seem to have a lot more of it.
19. I watch much less TV. Shows that used to enthrall me now seem really, really bad.
20. I still say things I cringe about later, but now I know it’s a self-esteem thing (or maybe an insert-foot-in-mouth thing) rather than a booze thing.
21. Other people have stopped drinking for a time. It’s fun to share observations.
22. The Artists Way was right. This is my biggest creative block.
23. There are loads of ways to quit drinking. There is no one right way.
24. Sometimes I feel like I get off on depriving myself: dairy, wheat, caffeine, and now alcohol? It seems easier to take things away from my life than add them.
25. Other animals besides us get drunk and make asses of themselves. I always thought we did it more often. Turns out it just depends on who you spend time with. Looking back over the past few years, I’d say that the incidences of drunken stupidity in my company has decreased exponentially.
This makes it easier to not get stupid drunk yourself. Or to drink at all. Because the only way to enjoy that kind of stupidity is to be drunk yourself.
26. Waking up every morning feeling NOT hungover is not easily described. Know that it is a very special feeling.
27. My depression has lifted significantly. I also notice I am more comfortable handling emotions I used to ignore.
28. On the other hand, my anxiety increased for the first few months. I upped my St. Johns Wort dose to the recommended amount (I took less before; I’m pretty sensitive to the effects of medicine) and feel much better now. I can’t decide if the anxiety was just temporary or if the meds helped.
29. I do not want to host a party at this point. I don’t mind being around a few drunk folks at a BBQ as long as I can get away from it all. I hope this changes because hosting parties is fun.
30. There are some great sober bloggers. I’m a fan of Belle over at Tired of Thinking about Drinking. I also like Taking a New Path. You can see my whole list here. They prove to me the thing I’ve been desperately searching for ever since I read Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn: Being a drunk isn’t a prerequisite for being a good writer.
I guess the biggest thing I realized in this 100 days is that I don’t have to come up with an answer for the question: What can I drink now? I know I can drink whatever I want, really. I guess it’s more, What do I want to drink now? And the answer is soda water with a splash of strawberry juice please! Although I might try this NSFW-named mocktail as well.
At this point, there are just too many good things going on to consider this all a coincidence. I’ve decided to re-up for another 100 days and see what happens. Who knows. Maybe that Nothing’s Impossible List will have to change.
Wondering if you should quit drinking? Check out my audio class here. In the 20 minute class, I’ll walk you through my simple test to tell you if you should and tips on how to do it. Ready to quit? Take my audio class How to Thrive During the First Month Without Alcohol.