The summer began with weekends including margaritas made with high-end tequila and fresh squeezed lime juice, homemade mai tai’s, or the latest gin + ginger beer concoction.
I also looked forward to weekdays with a chilled glass of chardonnay while making dinner – which usually turned into that second glass of wine to take “the edge off” while trying to negotiate an argument between my girls.
After realizing I was drinking about twice the amount as I did before my divorce, I decided to quit drinking for 30 days.
I researched the effects of alcohol on metabolism and was surprised to learn alcohol does not appear to effect weight gain, although it can negatively influence hormones, disrupt sleep, contribute to dehydration, and reduce energy levels, which can in turn – cause weight gain.
That being said, I believe most people would agree that a few drinks can reduce inhibitions and may increase food consumption.
My 30-Day Alcohol-Free Game Plan
1 I told a friend to check in with me every few days for accountability.
2 I had flavored seltzer in a glass with ice and crushed tangerines on hand while making dinner.
3 I am planning to reward myself at the end of 30 days (cost savings $100), to a spa treatment or shopping spree.
4 I removed wine from my countertops and out of my fridge.
5 I took evening walks after dinner.
This was not intended to be a permanent change, I just wanted to see how I felt and then reassess my health and fitness goals.
Related Article: Develop the Attitudes of Mindfulness
Here’s what happened – I thought a lot about alcohol the first three or four days, but felt completely in control and committed. I noticed how “going out for drinks” was an excuse to socialize with friends or coworkers.
Finding Empowerment in Forgiveness
On day 6, my usual Friday night event began to unfold: listening to a local musician at a restaurant, which normally involved cocktails and appetizers. As the waiter took my order, I considered what to drink long and hard. It was a nice summer night; I had gone all week without a drink; I was feeling festive.
I chose to order a margarita. I enjoyed that margarita. Just one.
The next morning I did something I hadn’t done in the past: I forgave myself. Historically, I would have emotionally beaten myself up for cheating, felt like a looser, and given up my sobriety. All or nothing. But not this time…
I jumped back on the 30-day abstinence train with the knowledge that I can choose to drink (or not) as long as I am using conscious awareness. Coming from this stance of empowerment, I find myself in a state of self-loving compassion and broadened mindfulness.