Changing my Relationship with Alcohol
For most of my adult life, alcohol was a lot of fun.
I was a social drinker. I never considered that I had a problem with alcohol: I drank only on the weekends and didn't seem to have drastic negative side effects. Perhaps because I am naturally an introvert, a glass of wine would give me a warm buzz that left me feeling confident, funny, lively, creative. I realize now that on many occasions I used alcohol as a crutch. I felt that drinking loosened me up, highlighting my more socially enjoyable features. Truthfully, I was disguising a confidence issue: I didn't think I was enough. Not interesting enough, not funny enough, not spunky enough. I would have fun drinking, but the next morning I usually felt self-doubt and regret. (My beautiful friend Casey refers to this condition as "Sensitive Sundays.") I can recognize this now as being out of alignment with my true self.
As we prepared for our initial primal challenge, my husband and I decided to commit to five weeks without alcohol. I will be honest and say that this seemed even more daunting to me than giving up grains and sugar. What would I do at social events? Friday and Saturday evenings would be so boring! I would be so boring! It actually seemed borderline impossible to give up wine for such a long period of time.
Now here is the amazing thing. After about two clean weeks we began to discover that we weren't missing anything. In fact, evenings with our mocktails were perhaps even more enjoyable! We listened more, we remembered more, we stayed in the present more. The best part was the next morning: no brain fog, no headaches, no regret, no desire for Bloody Marys. We felt so clean and clear-headed.
After five weeks of teetotalling we evaluated our situation. How did we feel about alcohol? We agreed that we missed our weekly wine and cheese date. We declared a desire to sip añejo tequila during our annual trip to Mexico. But we didn't want to revert to old patterns: using alcohol as a social crutch or a mood elevator. We created new rituals that involve drinking way less frequently and way less in volume. I often decide to abstain in social situations. This is fascinating to me because this is precisely what seemed most daunting to my pre-primal self. Now I often choose to be present socially; to be my clear-headed self.
What are your thoughts about alcohol? Are you interested in taking a break with a mocktail? If so, here are some fun low sugar options:
- sparkling water with lemon, lime, berries and/or ginger
- iced coffee with half and half
- If you are feeling adventurous, try:
Casey's Mocktail Recipe
- equal parts iced herbal tea and sparkling water
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
- dash of turmeric and cinnamon