This change of season is bringing many changes along with it. Changes in my work, diet, habits, temperature. My resolution for the month of October has also been a surprising change. No alcohol. “Sober October” is what people keep saying to me. We had actually decided to do No alcohol for one of our resolutions at the beginning of the year but then kept putting it off. “Oh, we have that party to go to” or “July is in the middle of summer, we can’t do it then” and “Well, we need to be able to drink at Burning Man”. So when October rolled around I decided to take action. This is the month! People said, “What about Halloween? What about Octoberfest? What about those concerts that you are going to?” It was shocking to me to see people’s reactions of “what about….” rather than support or encouragement.
I have not drank alcohol for a couple weeks at a time in the past. Granted, it was when I was living alone and didn’t have a lot of friends. But I did it without thought or concern. Yet, when it comes to planning out a period when I am not going to include alcohol in my life it is suddenly challenging. I was taught that drinking was a natural part of everyday life. A beer with friends, a glass of wine at dinner. If your going to a show its always better with a beer or two. I also love to try different things and attend tastings. Its fun to discuss varieties with other people and learn more about the process and care that goes into making every bottle of wine. I don’t consider my intake a problem and now that I am older and wiser binge drinking doesn’t really occur. None-the-less, its still a habit.
To break the habit we replaced our wine with tea and soda water. On a weekend when we might go and have an afternoon beer and snack we drank water and went hiking. I have also been eating a few pieces of dark chocolate after dinner. While out with friends for drinks I will still partake in something fancy but the virgin version or stick with a water. My partner said over the thanksgiving weekend “It feels like something is missing in my life”. Almost to the end of this resolution and I am beginning to see what he means by that. Its the routine of it all.
I like to take my time when choosing a wine. Whether it is at the store or a restaurant, I slowly pursue the choices thinking about what I am in the mood for and what would go best with my meal. I like chatting with staff about what is available and learning about a region and year so I can share it with others. When it is eventually in a glass I enjoy the smell, examining the color and how it rolls around the glass. Finally, the tasting. Although exciting, not necessarily my favorite part.
Move forward 22 days and my routine has changed. I like the way it has changed as well. Still going out and being social. Able to sit and have dinner and conversation while my friends partake in the stronger stuff. And since I am not staying up late and waking up refreshed I am more motivated to spend my mornings joining community clean up and cultivating that sense of routine in my yoga practice. It is freeing to remind myself that I don’t “need” alcohol to enjoy dinner out, to have fun at a concert, or to celebrate accomplishments and holidays.
Now, the end of the month quickly approaching and I am considering taking this particular resolution with me just as I do with the rest. Keeping present that awareness that I am enough…. without all that extra stuff.