Alcohol is part of life in Wisconsin, where I grew up. Like many states, countries, cities and cultures throughout the world, it is part of most social engagements. Wine on a romantic dinner date or ladies night. Beer during the football game or on a boat on the lake. Champagne to celebrate an anniversary or promotion. Cocktails at a concert, at a ski resort or on a lonely Friday night. There is always an excuse to drink. It is no wonder I started at the age of 15, which was actually not as early as some of my friends that started at 12. No one thought it was odd; it was almost expected. My parents would have been disappointed to know this, but I knew kids in my High school whose parents bought them liquor and let them have friends over to drink illegally. Who were they to judge since they had a six pack or more a few days a week, children to care for, and drove? This set the stage for my relationship with alcohol.
I didn’t start out drinking in moderation – I binge drank. Drank until I puked. Drank until I blacked out. Made out with boys I never in a million years would have kissed sober. Very classy and respectable, you can imagine. Ugh. Once I had a boyfriend, I slowed (a bit). Clearly it is not attractive to be that sloppy in front of the man you love, so I tried my best to contain myself. Sometimes I succeeded! Sometimes I failed, which resulted in a much dreaded talk about my drinking and behavior – all with red eyes, a fuzzy head and nauseous stomach the next morning. Oh joy. I have had more than enough shining moments that should have caused me to stop completely, but instead I have tried to find a balance so that I can keep it in my life. I love it!
When I maintain the balance, which I am much better at now, it is really wonderful. The warm sensation and robust flavors in red wine seduce me and please me in so many ways. Wine is my vice. There are so many varietals of wine, so many flavors to unlock and secrets to taste in every sip. Adventure and exploration roll over my tongue as I try to uncover the distinct flavors and subtleties within the glass. I could definitely abandon the tequila, vodka and gin, but oh, I would hate to abandon my red wine! She and I are besties. We have been through thick and thin together. But just like any friend, we have our ups and downs. Sometimes I see her daily, weekly, for hours on end or not for weeks at a time. Every once in a while, we spend way too much time together and I need a break from her. She tires me and makes me need some time alone. Time to reset and remember who I am without her – that as much as she enriches the moments in my life, I exist without her. I thrive fully on my own and she just makes my days brighter. She is not a necessity – she is a bonus.
I disagree with the notion that you cannot live without someone. Attaching yourself that much to any person or thing is not healthy. When you tie your happiness to someone/something else you limit your potential happiness and open yourself up to horrible disappointment and grief. Happiness lies within – I know this now. I have learned this from my mistakes and I do not want to make the same mistakes again. I do not want to feel dependent on any person, any one thing or any bottle of red wine. I can be happy on my own, without it, and it is important I remember that. Plus, my wine habit is hard on my liver, my wallet, my productivity and on my waist line. For these reasons, I have given up drinking for the month of October.
Giving up alcohol for the month directly coincides with my goal for 2012: to make better choices in my life. This is no small task and I keep tripping and stumbling along the way, but I am trying. I am finally at a place in my life where I am truly happy with who I am and am fully aware that my circumstances are a direct result of my thoughts and actions. I have no one to blame. No one that can act as my scapegoat – there is just me. If I want something to change, if I want something to be different, it is up to me to make it happen. And as we know, it all starts with the power of that first thought. Then we take that thought and dream about it, envision it, and we make it grow into our action and our future.
I started a business this year. I recorded a song with a friend. I had a poem and article published. I have met some amazing new friends, strengthened existing relationships and let some friendships take a backseat during this process. My dating life has been a bit all over the map, but I have tried to be open, honest and much more patient that I normally would be. I feel confident, capable and worthy of the good things in my life. But I want more good. I want to write more, sing more and really grow my business. I want to have more energy and lose the 5lbs I gained over summer. How do I plan to do this? Sober October! My bestie (Red Bottle of Malbec) and I have been hanging out too much again, so this month she is taking a backseat.
I put up a simple post on Facebook and from that post I started a Facebook Group Page with over 40 members and about 20 of us that are really taking this Sober October seriously. Together, we have committed to a month of healthy habits. We are eating healthy, working out, focusing on our work and side project, and not drinking. So far, we all feel great! We are sharing recipes, workout trends and success stories. Taking a month off is not as difficult as I expected and it certainly helps to have cheerleaders along the way. Together we are moving toward the future we want for ourselves. Together we are sharing our ambition and helping one another to succeed. Together we grow in our strength, our motivation and in our personal quests.
A simple thought. Envisioned. Shared. Action. = Future!