I wrote this on Tuesday 9/4, but struggled with it for a few more days. I wanted to address what I promised Part l, but also feel like there’s so much else, so much other, so much more I’d like to share.
(Note to self: write more, more frequently).
It just felt so overwhelming right outta the bat that I took some space from it and then had a hard time diving back in.
So the first part of this post is addressing those bullet-points I promised from Part l, and last part is kinda where I am today, with a promise to stay on top of it and share more frequently… so it feels a little more approachable and I don’t put it off!
Thank you for your patience. And here we have it…
Today is day 50.
I actually stopped counting the days around the time I last wrote you (day 30ish) because believe it or not, I don’t really care. I mean, don’t get me wrong, sure, 50 days feels great and kinda huge, but because I’m not letting this “define” me or take over my life (really!), counting days feels kinda trivial to me.
This is just what I’m doing, it’s not a race or a marathon or a “you-get a reward” thing, I’m just doing it.
However, when someone asked me last week how many days it had been and I knew it was time to get my butt writing “Part II,” I went and checked…and there was day 50, looming large on Tuesday. I had been putting off writing Part II and it felt like the day I needed to sit down and write.
So why my resistance in sharing more? I’m not sure. Dropping Part I felt a little like dropping a bomb. It was huge and scary and impactful and affected my life and relationships in many ways. Mostly all good. Some, well, just different.
I’ve had some seriously real and sometimes intense convos with people close to me. People who didn’t know at all what I was feeling or going through and as I guessed, were a little hurt by that. But they understood and the discussions were so good. #lovethem.
I’ve heard from old friends and long-lost acquaintances with their own stories of choosing to stop drinking, some as fresh as a couple weeks, a few around the 6 month mark, one at 6 years a couple for decades! I’d had no idea about most of them, and some really surprised me.
I’ve also not heard from some people I thought I might…still noodling on this.
I’ve heard from friends that were shocked, then really curious, and then full of questions. Probably the most meaningful thing for me to hear however, is “you’ve got me thinking Katie.”
THAT’S WHAT IT’S ABOUT AFTER ALL
And as I eluded when I wrapped Part I, that’s really all I’m here to do; to get you thinking about your relationship with alcohol, food, your work, personal relationships, your life! I just want us to snap out of any mundane or “this is good enough” thinking when it comes to our lives, because you/we deserve more. You deserve to be lit up, happy, and feeling f*cking good!
I don’t care if you’re 25, 45 or 65, it’s not too late to make the changes that you need to make to feel good. To feel purposeful. To not feel like your life is just trudging by.
Finally, the #1 thing that I’ve heard back on from Part I, (like, people have literally crossed the playground to tell me this), was my statement:
“ I wanted a life I didn’t want to escape from at the end of the day. I wanted to be a person I didn’t want to escape from.”
As scary as that was for me to share, it apparently resonates with a lot of you all. I’m glad. Once again, just something to think about.
So, I promised you a whole bunch more about this journey, and true to my word, here you go! I pulled the bullet-points from the end of Part I and did my best to fill them in as honestly as I can! (Thank God for journals because wow, do things change fast when you’re having fun!😉)
Bullet-point #1: More of my ‘whys’, including my my pro/con list from day #1 (that was a doozey!)
My ‘why’ (list taken directly from my journal dated 7/17)
- It does not serve me
- It often does even taste or feel that good anymore
- It’s an escape
- It’s a habit
- It’s keeping me from my life
- It’s holding me back
- It’s sucking my longevity/potentially making me sick (it’s bad for me/a toxin)
- It’s aging me. (I feel/look puffy, bloated, old.)
- There’s SO much more I could be doing
- I want to feel vibrant, healthy, “glowy”
- It worsens my mood, depression, anxiety
- It’s counter-intuitive that I focus on healthy “clean” eating/living, self-care but booze it up on the regular.
- It fucks up my sleep
- It worsens my constipation (not sure why that gem slipped in at the last slot there, but it did! Lol)
- It’s fun…sometimes. But worth it? Not usually.
- It’s what “I do” with my family and friends (and this will need to be re-worked).
Bullet-point #2: What I’ve done that has helped me the most these last 30 (50!) days, some healthier than others, and what I’ve had to distance myself from.
The following list is once again straight from my journal, at the 3 week mark. Notes to the side are my commentary here at the 50 day mark.
- Coffee the love affair, if possible, has deepened
- Ice cream I think I had an ice cream cone a day for the first 30 days
- Chocolate goes without saying
- La Croix/Perrier we should own stock
- Kombucha a bit here and there, a little goes a long way for me
- Green juice started this every am with my lemon water
- Iced Tea this was my new go-to at concessions/concerts, etc., slightly more exciting than club soda.
- Meditation so hard, but so good
- Prayer saving grace
- MUSIC this is quite possibly #1 (or a close 2nd to ice cream)
- Online shopping the timing of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale (July-Aug) was either a Godsend or a curse😬
- Exercise/movement once again, saving grace
- RHONY/RHOC when I really wanted an escape! #mindlessentertainment
- Walks at night/time in nature peaceful, healing, grounding, another major lifesaver
- Finding a community FIND THEM, this has made what is otherwise extremely isolating, quite comforting.
- Talking about it not always easy, always helpful
- Therapy so important and helpful to have a neutral profesh on this journey with me
- Writing/my journal for those brain-dumping, feelings-dumping, WTF days (so like, everyday)
- This Naked Mind (book), along with an 8 week online educational course I’m completing this week (Hip Sobriety School), podcasts and bloggers, have literally changed my thoughts and beliefs about my relationship with alcohol, and in doing so, changed my mind and my life.
***Important caveat here: I am fully aware that several things on this list are not healthy nor am I endorsing them. I am fully aware that in doing so I am 100% swapping the dopamine boost and emotional comfort of pouring a glass of wine with something else. I am aware and I am OK with this. For now.
NO MORE FOMO
What I have distanced myself from: people, conversations, events, experiences that felt uncomfortable, superficial or just “too much.” And I don’t even know exactly how to quantify that… kind of a gut feeling. The hard part at first was saying no for no other reason than, “I’m just not up for it,” and being OK with that, whether I truly did feel I was missing out or not.
There was definitely a lot less socializing this latter part of summer. I needed the space and introspection. It’s not like I holed-up completely, I just opted out of a lot of things and was OK, and often actually welcomed being alone.
Bullet-point #3: What I’ve done to take care of myself (by the way, I don’t think alcohol is “self-care” so giving it up has taken that meaning to a whole other level.)
While I do consider meditation/prayer/gratitude journaling self-care practices, sometimes that shit feels like work! It doesn’t always feel like ‘fun’ or like something truly indulgent. And that, is what I need/ed to do at times as well. (Everyone does by the way!)
So I committed to at least one of these a week and have been nailing it so far!🙌 A pedicure, massage, facial, a stop into see my favorite chair masseuse at Whole Foods who seems to know my soul (weird I know, but amazing), extended, pressure-free time (long coffee or an extended lunch) with a spiritual-running-buddy, good friend, my mama, etc. Even just a walk for no other reason than I just want to be outside. I schedule these in like important appointments with ZERO guilt (that’s a key piece people).
EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER
Bullet-point #4: There have been some really high highs and some really low lows and man if they don’t come out of the blue. I guess now that I’m “feeling my feelings” so damn much this is to be expected to some extent.
This I’m going to leave right here. While the extremes have definitely lessened they still come out of the clear blue and can almost take my breath away. I’m not that emotional chic who bursts out in tears during spin class for no reason! Or maybe I am? And I’m finally just allowing her to be, either way.
Bullet-point #6: How it went when I started ‘breaking the news’. Responses included: “Did something happen?” (no) “Are you pregnant?” (no) “Are you OK?” (yes) “Well that’s crazy!” (ummm…?) “Is this a forever thing?” (not sure).
My answers remain the same and as I mentioned above, even the most shocked and seemingly offended of folks quickly turned curious and then supportive. “Don’t worry, we can still hang out!” was one of the best. Ha! I’m so glad that my lack of intoxication will allow us to still be friends (I’m sure that comment was a joke, you never know though, texting and all🤷)
Bullet-point #7: What I’ve lost and what I’ve gained.
I’m keeping this one brief as well…still a major work in progress.
WHAT I’VE LOST
- Weight. Although not much do to my torrid love affair with ice cream. Again, I am OK with this, for now.
- Puffy face: someone recently told me my face looked different. I haven’t had any work done 😜 so, just “de-puffed” I told her.
- Dull skin- my skin is definitely clearer and healthier (less dehydrated and just brighter, as are my eyes!)
- Insomnia- I used to have horrible insomnia 2-3x a month, usually on a Sunday night, where I’d wake up around 2 or 3 am, begin ruminating, and not be able to go back to sleep for like 2-3 hours, Brutal way to start the week, especially if Sunday had included a hangover…just roll that baby right on into Monday! #brutal
- Anxiety- see above.
WHAT I’VE GAINED
In addition to better sleep, better skin, better fitting clothes I’ve gained…
- TIME: so much more time and energy to get shit done.
- CLARITY: a clear mind allows for so much clarity in general. (I’m reminded of that song…I can see clearly now, the rain is gone) So cheesy. So true.
- PRESENCE: I most strongly recognize this with my kids. I’m fully present with them whereas before if I was drinking, while physically present, I was far from being truly with them.
- FREEDOM; this has been the biggest gift for me! I have freedom from the ‘Should I/Shouldn’t I?’ ‘Will I be hungover for that?’ “I should try to limit to 2 glasses at the party tonight,’ etc. All that mental BS energy expended. So much freedom. I can’t tell you the lightness that has brought me.
- CONFIDENCE: I used to think I needed booze to ‘loosen up’, especially in social situations (#introvert). That was a huge false belief that I’m not even sure I fully understood even a couple weeks ago! My confidence, presence and authenticity in my interactions and conversations are through the roof, and that continues to build upon itself. No one’s more shocked with this one than me.
- LIGHTNESS OF SPIRIT: I was feeling so “weighed down” before. This has lifted significantly.
- PHYSICAL BENEFITS. See above, I think I covered most of it there.
OBSERVATIONS & FEELINGS
So this paints a real rosy picture doesn’t it?
Well, here’s the deal. Yeah, I’m super proud. I think I’ve grown a lot. I’ve learned a ton about myself even in these first couple months, but I’m not “there” yet.
There is no “there,” no finish-line that I’ve triumphantly crossed and I’m standing in the bleaches cheering everyone else on as they struggle their way down their own road. Nope, I’m just taking this one day at a time. Trying to celebrate the good days and just get through the bad ones.
I’ve had a zillion observations and corresponding emotions about my former drinking habits and now, my non-drinking habits. Some of them are quite comical and some are like major cloud-clearing lightening bolts. These include but are not limited to boredom, frustration, anger, discomfort, FOMO, annoyance, apathy, pride, clarity, freedom and peace.
There is also plenty to still work through; friendships, social dynamics, trips, holidays…we’re just getting started.
MORE TO COME
This post has gotten long enough already so I’ll do my best to write again soon and more often, if you’d like to continue to hear my story. And I would love to continue to hear from you too, privately or in the comments. And please, ask me anything and I’ll do my best to answer everything.
Finally, and speaking of feelings, I want to leave you with a quote that I heard just last night on the HOME podcast . Augusten Burroughs was talking about not drinking and I really loved the simplicity in which he shared this fact:
“The thing about not being able to drink is that it’s only uncomfortable. It’s nothing more. Sometimes it’s very uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s not fucking fair and sometimes it’s infuriating. But that’s all it is.”
I call it a fact because it’s true.
It is what it is and this is all it is. Nothing more. It’s quite simple really. We can make it more if we want to (and I think we often d0), but for me, it’s just simply what I’m doing now.
It just also happens to be a huge catalyst for some deep diving and personal growth, that without, I don’t think I’d be heading into the second part of my life as happy, healthy, whole, authentic or as on-purpose of a person as I want to be, and know I will be.
Thank you for reading, for commenting, for inquiring and for checking in with yourself, on whatever it is that comes up.
I love you!
STOPTOBER FOR SELF CARE
You are invited to join me for Stoptober for Self-Care. Taking the month of October to step away from alcohol, or anything that you’d like to examine your relationship with.
Read more about this accountability group HERE.
I am also offering a live Q&A call September 30th at 7:30 pm MST, exclusively for the first 25 people who sign up, and spots are already filling.