100 Days (and two sips)*

I haven’t had alcohol in 100 days. 100 days! That’s a long time! I am shocked and proud of myself, and because I feel better, I will continue this journey forever, or until I feel like stopping, whichever comes first. 

I have noticed numerous positive changes in my life since I’ve stopped drinking. However, the changes I wanted were not the changes I’ve so far received. 

I wanted:

-dramatic weight loss (zero pounds lost)

-to stop mixing up my words (still mixing)

-to sleep through the night (not completely)

-to shoot out of bed every morning, ready for what may come (NOPE)

-endless energy (nope)

-a fat pocketbook from all of the money I was saving from not buying alcohol (NOPE, NOPE, NOPE)

I’ve received:

-an incredible sober community through Tempest. I had no idea that I craved community until I had it. I’ve been avoiding talking about my relationship with alcohol when it turns out it was best for me to find others to talk to. With my Tempest membership I have access to numerous groups and coursework, and I’m actually showing up for it all.

-more energy. It’s certainly not endless, but having even a tiny increment of more energy keeps me positive and moving forward.

-better sleep. It’s not a perfect night’s sleep by any means, but I don’t wake up in the middle of the night wondering why I drank the night before. 

-a natural wake-up every day between 6-7 a.m. I still set my alarm for when I absolutely have to be awake, but otherwise, I wake up naturally feeling (mostly) refreshed. I don’t bounce out of bed, but I also don’t lie around for an hour trying to find the strength to get-going or berating myself for drinking two beers the night before. 

Here’s the BIGGEST gift I’ve received since I’ve stopped drinking: more time to be creative. I spent SO MUCH TIME thinking about drinking. “Should I drink tonight?” “How much will I drink tonight?” “I’ll drink x amount tonight and then I’ll go home.” “Do I have a drinking problem?”  “I’m not as bad as so-and-so, which must mean I’m fine” “I’m way under the recommended weekly allowance for women, so how could I have a problem?” It was a daily conversation in my head and I spent so much time worrying about it and then feeling guilty about how much time I was thinking about it and it was SO MUCH WORK. 

Now I have time to paint and write and read and cross-stitch and get ready to launch a new business. I can put work into to managing my  non-profit and I can help get an artist collective up and running. Instead of just being an “ideas person,” I have the capacity to execute the good ideas as well. 

It’s not like I have endless hours in my day, but I do have more time and energy to focus on things that bring me joy instead of focusing on what a loser I think I am because I drank again last night. 

At 100 days in, I can tell you that my life is better without alcohol. It is not necessarily leaps and bounds better, but better is better, amirite? 

Sending you love, thanks for reading.

XO, NKH

*the first sip was about 50 days in. We were at our friend’s place, and I was sipping sparkling water while Paul was drinking a Stiegl Radler, one of my favorite beers. I asked for a sip. Instead of swallowing it right away, I let the beer sit in my mouth for a couple of seconds so I could really taste it. I loved the taste of the grapefruit and the bubbles on my tongue, but the rest tasted gross. It was bitter and I didn’t need to taste it ever again. HOW COULD THIS BE? What did this mean??? Admittedly, I overanalyzed the entire experience for a minute and determined that if I liked the grapefruit and bubbly so much, I could just get a LaCroix and leave it at that. However, ten minutes later my face got very flushed and warm (I didn’t like it) and I had a buzz (I liked that part)! A buzz off of one sip of 2.5 ABV! Fantastic! A buzz off of one sip of 2.5 sounds just fine with me.

The second sip was a couple of weeks ago. Paul bought some amber-lager-brown ale-I dunno what it was and I took a sip and loved it. So I stopped at one sip and made myself some tea instead. 

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