Be the Change

I am in the greatest mood today! I had a fulfilling, alcohol-free weekend that was full of tempting situations. However, sobriety came easier this weekend than it has in awhile. It was a major relief!

I have been trying to pinpoint why, exactly, it was easier and I have a few theories.

1. I am more confident in my decision to quit drinking, which has led to a confidence in myself with regard to situations involving drinking. That’s not the most eloquent sentence, but here’s an example of what I mean:

Friday evening is a standing happy hour for my husband and his cycling team. This includes spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends etc. Last Friday was no exception, and I found myself at a backyard happy hour with my husband. I had stopped at the store and was equipped with a six-pack of NA beer, and I sat around with all the drinkers and hung out. It was not weird, no one said anything or even noticed. I stayed for an hour and a half and then I was done. I said goodbye to everyone, my husband included, and headed home. Once I was home and settled in watching Cupcake Wars, I had the realization that I am in complete control of my comfort level. I can come and go as I please, or not go at all!

2. There has been a subtle, yet noticeable, shift in my celebratory needs. I received wonderful news on Saturday morning and my immediate thoughts for celebration were, “I’m going to wear my favorite sundress, leash up the weenie dog, and get the largest iced coffee I can find!” Which is exactly what happened and it was SO satisfying.

3. Confiding! This weekend I opened up to two of my best friends about my decision to quit drinking. We were all at brunch and they were asking honest, thoughtful questions about sobriety and how I was doing, and I thought, “Why not?” I told them that even though it had started as a 100 Day Challenge, I was planning on making it a permanent change. It was such a relief – since I’d been nervous that both of these individuals were going to want to celebrate my 100 Days with a cocktail. They were incredibly kind, receptive and respectful. I didn’t get into any hairy details, or tell them about this blog, but simply saying “It’s a forever thing – that’s my goal” made the impending end of the 100 Day Challenge far less terrifying.

4. It’s up to me to build my life and create happiness. When I quit drinking, I thought that everything in my life would be drastically different. I was under the impression that I would morph into this distinctly changed person with infinite patience and wisdom, with unlimited social ease and wit. I would become the person I had initially been trying to create with all the alcohol. If that makes sense… Instead, nothing was different except I wasn’t drinking. I realized that I had been waiting around for the impossible. The changes I want to see in myself are only going to happen if I actually work on them. Sobriety is not a solution, just as drinking was not a solution.

5. Being thankful. I took the time this weekend to truly feel thankful. Thankful for sobriety, and all its perks. Thankful for hangover-free mornings, the energy to be out all day in the sunshine, the opportunity to be a good friend and wife who listens and is present for each and every conversation. I practiced being thankful for the rough stuff, too. Thankful for the social anxiety and the ability to power through and feel it become easier, thankful for the grief that comes from watching buzzed patio dwellers sip cocktails because that grief is a reminder of why I shouldn’t drink. Gratitude is a powerful tool.

Today is Day 75! I am three-quarters of the way to my initial goal, and I feel like I’ve accomplished so much. I can’t wait to see what unfolds in the coming weeks, but more importantly, I can’t wait to embrace Gandhi’s eloquent advice to be the change you wish to see in the world.

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