Alcohol-Free May!

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May is a great month for change and renewal. It’s named after the ancient goddess Maia, who is associated with flourishing spring, fertility, and playfulness. In that creative spirit, throw off the habits of winter and wake up to spring!

If you’ve been struggling to go alcohol-free for some period of time, why not choose May? I’ve been AF for a couple of years, but I have some major habits I need to vacate in May, and I will use this time for my own mental spring-cleaning.

So … for every day in the month of May, I’m going to post one motivating blog that deals with self-love, self-empowerment, and the creative mind. The posts will also deal with how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world.

This will be a spiritual blog, but not in the religious sense. I follow A Course in Miracles, which is exactly what it says … it’s a course and not a religion, although it deals with spiritual themes and the nature of perception. And though I use the words God or Spirit, you can just as easily substitute Higher Power, Buddha, Yahweh, Allah, All That Is, The Universe, or any other term you’d like.

What I’ve found in my long search for sobriety is that the power to choose begins in the mind, and that it’s possible to use your thoughts to change not only your behavior, but your entire outlook on life. This power is available to every one of us, and in it lies the power to change the world.

Stay tuned!

Next Blog: Where I get my inspiration.

 

No More Tunnel Vision

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Today is Saturday, and I’m free as a bird.

I can do anything I want, or nothing at all. Yoga? Maybe. Or I might drag out my camera and try to take some really artsy photos. Or I might take the dog to that park with the sign that says, “No dogs” and sneak him in under the fence. That’s always fun. And I MOST DEFINITELY am going to the Starbucks drive-through and get a giant chocolate chip cookie and some iced green tea.

I ramble on here for a reason. What I have today is possibilities. I have no goal for the day except to enjoy it and do whatever my heart desires.

No more tunnel vision.

I remember a well-meaning friend asking me if I wanted to join a hiking group a few years back. But how does the involve drinking? I thought. As if reading my mind, she said, “It’s a short walk through the woods, and then we end up at restaurant and have some drinks.” Now we’re talking.

And because drinking made me a slug, I told her that my ankle was acting up, but that I’d meet them at the restaurant. Perfect plans!

I got there early and had a nice pre-drink so as not to drink others under the table, which is seen as unladylike in some cultures. Plus, these weren’t my regular friends, so they might be the type to order a glass of wine and then sip it slowly, making it awkward for other people to order another and another. So rude.

And that’s exactly what happened. They showed up with those hiking stick things, all glowy with health, and ordered tea. (Sweet tea, how decadent!) The waiter ruined by pre-drink plan by saying, “Do you want another glass of wine, miss?” I hesitated just a second, and said, “Sure,” as if he’d pressured me into it. Then I remembered to rub my ankle as if it hurt.

The whole thing was a fraudulent act to hide my only goal: to drink. It was Saturday, and no one was going to stop me from drinking. Not that I didn’t drink the rest of the week as well, but Saturday gave me an extra license to drink. Besides, what if I quit Monday? Better enjoy it while you can.

I could never have relaxed at this outing without the wine. My tunnel vision would make it so I couldn’t think about anything but leaving. I might have gone to the ladies room (alone) and popped open a mini-bottle with my name on it, hidden in my big purse for just these types of emergencies. (My purse could hold up to four mini-bottles for dry weddings, etc. It was big and ugly, as my daugher liked to point out, but it served its secret purpose.)

It’s so nice to be free of that tunnel vision. My mind is free to wander and enjoy the possibilities of just going with the flow. I don’t have to arrange for a drinking lunch, an afternoon nap to sleep it off, and then an evening of more wine.

And a Sunday from freaking hell. Liquor stores don’t open until 12:00.

Free at last.

💕

Success! The 30-Year Plan to Sobriety

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So so many of you have asked me “Wow, you have over one year of sobriety! What’s your secret??” So I’ve decided to share my sobriety plan for FREE because I am that evolved spiritually, now that I am no longer lunching on wine.

This plan is simple, easy to follow, and fool-proof!

To begin, choose a starting date. Then set aside 30 years or so (more if you’re a slow learner). Go out and buy your first six-pack. You are now ready to … LAUNCH!

DAY 1: You are young!

Call up some beer-swilling friends. (A quick shout out to Lisa, Carly, Dan! You know who you are!) Invite them to meet you at the local pub.

Have a “Get Ready Beer,”  because a friend has taught you that this really takes the pressure off getting the bartender’s attention for that first drink. Plus, it’s one less beer you have to buy at an exorbitant price.

Drive to the pub.

Throw yourself completely into group mentality thinking. Use the group’s mood to guide your behavior. NEVER be that sullen person refusing to order a drink, which often drags down the rest of the group. Learn to keep up! When drinking lulls or people want to go home, always suggest one more round.

Earn a reputation for fun! When you reach the witching hour (that magic time of night when a decision must be made to go home or not, because maybe the bar is about to close or it’s a school night), speak up! Loudly yell “One more round!” Order shots for the table.

Drive home. TIP: If you have that pesky double-vision, cover one eye and concentrate on keeping to the RIGHT of the center line. Drive to the LEFT of the center line if you are in the UK, Australia, Honk Kong, or South Africa. If you’re not sure which rules apply, don’t drive.

Day 2

If you made it home and are not too hungover, go to school or work. If you didn’t make it home, try to locate your car. If you find it, drive it home.

If you are unemployed or have been fired, lucky you! Sleep it off.

Call your friends around 5 PM (or whenever you wake up) to commiserate and find out what all you did. TIP: NEVER make this call before drinking the Get Ready Beer. You can’t laugh it off without a buzz.

Meet up again. Same place. Same people. Same time.

Day 3 through Year 10: Build Your Stamina!

Continue every day for ten more years, or whenever your schedule permits.

Don’t do things that are too demanding mentally. If you are in school, shoot for just passing grades. Same goes for jobs. Avoid ‘real jobs’ as long as possible. Always work below your potential so that you can give minimal effort. Don’t raise expectations! Show up just enough to not get fired.

Take jobs that enable your lifestyle: restaurants, bars, sales! Take this opportunity to travel on the drinking circuit. If you somehow save a little money, spend it on a weekend splurge/drunkfest with your friends. You deserve it!

Decade 2: Growing Up

You made it. Yay, you! Now it’s time to take a breather and begin some much needed work on maturing.

In your second drinking decade, you will begin to find helpful signs that you need to change. Some of these signs will be life’s typical milestones, coupled with this nagging feeling of wanting more. A dog? House? Marriage? Children?

One sign is that some of your drinking buddies are growing up as well. They won’t go out as much. They want to go home early, which is OK because, believe it or not, you will too! Sleep becomes more important. You will also start to get some serious feedback from your body that you can’t quite continue as you have been. Stubbornly slog through by drinking more, because persistence is key to the success of this plan.

Decade 3: The Home Stretch

You look like shit! (LOL!) No seriously. Your looks are going to slide this decade, but no worries. You will be in the kind of mental state where you notice this, but then it just gets added to the pile of other shitty things that are happening to you.

There’s so much to discover in this decade! And all you have to do is keep drinking.

Here’s a checklist of what to look out for:

  • Declining health (as mirrored in your looks).
  • Financial instability.
  • Cognitive decline, including long and short-term memory.
  • Hair loss.
  • Deeply troubled relationships.
  • Legal problems.
  • Loss of friends, except for other drinkers.
  • Plummeting self-esteem.
  • Comments from loved ones (whoever is remaining) about drinking habits.
  • Nagging thought that maybe alcohol has something to do with the state of your life.

During this decade, attempt to quit drinking for short periods of time. Then attempt for longer periods of time. Keep attempting, allowing a year or two between attempts. Or commit to every Monday for the entire decade. You choose!

Final Day

Wake up one day. You will be hungover, just like almost every other day. Attempt to quit, with just a whisper of hope that it might be possible. Ask for help.

Succeed.