Drinking is such a common part of Kiwi life that often when I make the decision to stop it for a little while, people think something is wrong with me. Or I’m pregnant. (Full disclosure: I’m not pregnant.) I don’t drink as much as I used to in my younger days so not drinking for 30 days didn’t hold as much challenge as it had in the past. Regardless, I was at the point of having a quiet glass of wine most nights, and more than a few on the weekends. Because life is for enjoying right! But I don’t like being dependent. And some nights it felt like I HAD to have a glass of wine to unwind. Or to celebrate. Wine works wonderfully on both occasions. So I decided to stop. Just for 30 days, to give my body a rest. I didn’t miraculously lose weight, get clear skin or become a millionaire from all those dollars I saved. But I did learn a thing or two which I wanted to share with you.
1. The reaction from some people is interesting. By me not drinking, does that make you feel something about your own drinking? Do you need me by your side, enabling you? I felt really clear about what I was doing. My why was a little more unclear, which is what some people seemed to struggle with. If I couldn’t give them a clear reason, they couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t be drinking. But why does drinking need to be the norm? Why do you need an explanation for not drinking? Why can’t it be the other way around?
2. You may not be going downhill, but maybe you aren’t going uphill as fast as you could be. My head was definitely clearer in the mornings. I wasn’t drinking to hangover levels before I stopped, but I would wake up with perhaps a little ache in my temples. Or just feel a little lethargic. Without the alcohol in my life, my head just felt better. Clearer, stronger, faster and ready to take on the world.
3. Weekend afternoon drinking seems like the perfect treat to enjoy on my days off. But as someone who has two jobs + a side-hustle, a Sunday afternoon could be used to write a blog post, work on our upcoming think.eat.move workshop or a dozen other things. Or even something as simple as a bush walk or a hike up Rangitoto.
My thirty days is up, and I am back drinking again. And I am enjoying it. But I feel like having a drink is more of a decision that I’ve made rather than an automatic reaction. I actually consider whether I want/need another glass of wine. Which means I’m appreciating it more and being more mindful. But more to come on the mindfulness soon. I’m not telling you that you should enjoy a drink, but I would recommend taking a step back and thinking about why you’re drinking and how it is really making you feel. And if you’re not sure of the answers to those questions, maybe take a few days off the alcohol and see how you feel. At least you’ll be approaching the questions with a clearer head.