Clear of Mind and Alcohol...

It's been 2 weeks since I have had any alcohol. Many people have first asked me why I have chosen to stop drinking, and whether it is permanent or simply a break? I honestly haven't been able to give them any concrete answer but I can tell them the pros of my choice, albeit the small amount of time that has passed. The questions also include scrunched up faces and raised eyebrows, truthful clues of their underlying feelings on the recent decision. Are they wondering if I will still be the fun-loving Jen everyone enjoyed sitting around? Will I become a born-again non-drinker? When will I start drinking again? 

I am asking myself these same questions. I stopped on Valentine's Day. Why? I woke up on my day off, extremely hung over and decided that day that I was wasting my life and money drinking. I, at first, thought my decision a bit rash, but I am 2 weeks in and am still dry. I equate this choice similar to my quitting smoking. I made that decision and stuck to it, never faltering, using a sometimes negative characteristic I have - extreme stubbornness. I remembered in my delirium that morning, that I was being an extreme "see-you-next-Tuesday" and have only myself to blame. I have always stated that alcohol can bring out the best or the worst of you. It definitely makes people speak the truth, or at least act out the truth, depending on the state of their lives, or what they perceive it to be. Let's just say, I wasn't very happy that evening. 

So here I am, clear of mind, and I am beginning to feel that this other crutch is about to meet it's maker in the dumpster of my past. I threw out my old ashtrays today and a zillion coffee mugs in my cupboard. For God's sake, I'm not giving up coffee! I just needed some room. Similarly, the removal of alcohol in the cupboards of my life, free up loads of room, and TIME. I spent so many hours, sitting and drinking in my other living room. Sure I made friends there, and yes there are a few relationships I have added to that dumpster when I quit smoking. There is also a trash bin filled with past romantic affairs, centered on the bar. Don't get me wrong...I am not avoiding my 'Cheers', but rather visiting it less and when I am there I am imbibing only on non-alcoholic drinks. For example, my favourite drink after a busy day cooking brunch has always been a double Caesar. Now I get the exact same thing, minus the vodka. Amazingly it still fills that desire! I also need to watch out for too much sugar in pop so I am drinking soda with a splash of lime cordial. I think it might be to early for a non-beer but so far so good.

Not only is there an enormous amount of time to fill in my non-working hours, which I have filled with movies at home so far, catching up on the Oscar nominated flicks, but I have worked out how much fatter my wallet is. In two weeks I have saved approximately $560 and have managed to get back on track with my bills. I have purchased a few items for myself to remind me of my small accomplishment, encouraging me to continue on my journey. My debts will be paid off faster and in a more timely fashion, as long as my 'reminder gifts' are kept to a minimum.

I have noticed a clearer mind in my work, allowing me to focus on the job at hand while at the same time see the bigger picture. Challenges are not so overwhelming every day, and I am getting more compliments in my general attitude. I am never used to compliments, but I am accepting them nonetheless. Perhaps, these positive reinforcements pinpoint my faults when I was in a haze from too many late nights. My frustration level is still a bit up and down but I am recognizing the contagious affect of positivity in my work place. I can recognize the dark cloud before I am under it.

So, the question is... How long will this last? I seriously don't know. The positive reaction I am getting is fueling me for a longer journey. I am hoping in the back of my mind that I can put this habit in my past. I know the pull is much stronger, especially in the line of work I have chosen, but I can honestly say, I feel better about myself at the moment, no matter how far away that light at the end of the tunnel is. For those friends and family who are reading this blog I thank you for your support and I hope those friends will continue to be in my life if I choose the alcohol-free path. I know my family will always be there.
Jen McIntyre | Create your badge

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