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100 Days of Sobriety?

I tried 100 days of sobriety.

No particular incident led to this decision. It was just a Monday morning in which I felt like crap, again. I felt it in my body and my spirit, for how much wine I’d consumed and the subsequent snacking that went with it. That reason, and because my stepsister, who’s a big-time over-achiever, just posted that she’d completed 100 days without a drop and I took it as a taunt.

For months I’ve met my Monday mornings full of resolve: This week I’m only going to drink Friday and Saturday.  Or This week I’m using a measuring cup, 2/3 cup seems like a reasonable pour. I’ll just have that each night. Or I’m just picking up two bottles this week and when they’re gone, that’s it for the week. etc. I hadn’t stuck to any of my promises I made each Monday morning. I’m a different woman Monday morning versus Thursday evening. I can justify anything by Thursday. When I reach towards the bottle with my mind saying, Come on Nikki, make good choices, I still break the seal and pour much more than 2/3 cup, feeling both deeply satisfied and quietly disappointed. As I pour the first glass of the week, with the red elegantly sloshing into my goblet, my mind sings Etta James’ At Last.

Why stop if I love it so much and clearly don’t drink everyday? Just how much is too much? The answer is, it’s too much if I feel that my actions aren’t aligned with who I’d like to think I am and who I aspire to be. I’m a Yoga instructor who leads a pretty healthy life. No smoking or drugs, very little processed food, largely plant-based meals, drinking a ton of water, managing stress well. Which is why my husband and I sailing through a few bottles of wine each weekend, largely unconsciously, just doesn’t fit in. When every week I go to the liquor store and use a basket for my shopping, and then require a box to carry it home, it’s too much for me. Not to cast judgment on anyone else, this is about me.

I considered a month of sobriety at first. It’s certainly easier. But I wasn’t sure it would be long enough to for me to shift the many habits I’ve made around drinking. So 100 days seemed the next best thing, not a full year, but long enough to make an impact. It already seemed impossible as I counted out the days on the calendar. It was hard enough to imagine a week!

I completed two weeks. The second week was harder than the first. I had some family friction and strong feelings of loneliness one day and I really wanted the comfort of my wine friend to help me numb and settle. I resisted. My husband cooks on the weekends and I always ask ‘how can I help?” and his response is always, “you can pour yourself a glass of wine and keep me company”. It’s one of my favourite things he says. Instead, I kept him company while drinking my lemon water, missing my wine like crazy!

I “fell off the wagon” after those two weeks. I keep thinking of the image I have in my mind of myself. Healthy skin, body at ease, peaceful mind knowing that I’ve got habits under control. I want to be her. I’m back to just Friday and Saturday and try to do just one glass. I devised a great plan to teach yoga in a rented space Thursday night. I only had a few students out and only made a little, but it didn’t matter. I was out of the house, away from the wine. It worked perfectly! Until there was another lockdown and I had to cancel all the classes.

It’s particularly tough when most people in my circle would encourage me to drink. It really isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s just that I rarely stop at one glass, and I start snacking unconsciously, and it’s never veggies and hummus. I hear Atomic Habits is a great read for helping with habit breaking and forming. I’ve just purchased that. Let’s see what I can do.

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