Wednesday, September 2, 2009

150 Days

I love to share my experiences and tell you about my journey across the USA but for the most part, I keep my life private. I had a conversation with someone very special to me last night who said, “You never know what will come into your life that causes you to change direction. It could be as simple as someone saying something to you that would strike a chord for change.”

Today marks my 150th day without alcohol. Not even one glass of wine with friends or a beer by the campfire. It has been one of the hardest challenges in my life. There were plenty of opportunities to drink during these 150 days, especially the day my beloved dog, Maggie died.

“Have a drink, you’ll feel better,” would pass through my brain. It’s easy to get lost in a drink to celebrate, to commiserate, or to just be. I have to say that this has not been an easy road. I love my wine. I enjoy time with friends over a glass of wine. I love the taste, I love having the perfect glass with a meal, and I love discussing the complexity of each sip with friends. At times, I loved it too much. It was my reward for a hard day or the nerve calmer before a big social event. My lover. My friend. Always there when I needed an escape.

I decided to make this decision for myself because I was just tired of it. Tired of the hangovers. Tired of the non productive hours of 8am to noon, or beyond. Tired of being tired. I had to face the fact that nothing positive came out of it.

The most difficult times were in the first 50 days. I suppose that’s the case with any change in life. It was a hard adjustment in a social respect. It’s a reason to get together with friends. It’s easy to have a glass of wine with one friend one night, another with another friend the following night. I had to tell some friends more than once that I stopped drinking. When I told one person in particular I wasn’t drinking, the comment back was, “well, that doesn’t sound like fun.” Quite frankly, it didn’t sound like fun to me either.

After a while, the questions would follow; “How long are you not drinking for?” “Can’t you just have one?” “Is this forever?” “Why are you doing this?” “You are not a heavy drinker, I don’t understand.”

All of the unproductive hours I waited to feel better are now spent doing things I’ve always wanted to do. I started to paint, I am taking more pictures, I am journaling, and I am living the life I wanted to live. It doesn’t hurt that I lost 20 pounds in the last 150 days. You would be surprised how fast your body changes just by eliminating alcohol from your diet. I wake up each day remembering the day before and free from headaches and regrets.

So here I am…living day by day. I am not perfect. In fact, you may not relate to any of this. It might be considered a weakness in your eyes. I risk putting it out there but for me, this was the choice I wanted to make. I am experiencing a sweet life full of potential. Listening, observing, grieving, healing and feeling everything. Thank you to my friends and family that have stuck by me and offered support. It means the world to me.

I believe that everyone has a voice inside of them that tells us what we really need to do with our lives. It’s whether or not we choose to listen and are brave enough to follow through on it. I have been blessed with this opportunity and am thankful of everything life has to offer.

Each day is a gift.


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