Quitting Alcohol For A Month – I DID IT

First and foremost, I’d like to give BIG THANKS to all of you who came along with me for the past four weeks – supporting me, checking in and sharing your own stories.

I used it all as a crutch as I walked on this path with urges in the shadows.

I know it sounds cliche but this was one of the best things I think I’ve done for my body. And it’s not all in my mind. Here’s an interesting article about the benefits a body gets from going a month without alcohol… pretty dang cool if you ask me, not to mention the other benefits you get as well, like saving money and time.

But it’s not easy. (Like most things worthwhile.) For me, the hardest part was actually starting. The beginning felt really long but by the third week in, my brain began to think differently and that’s when it got really good. Not gonna lie, though. Temptations were a big part of the process so if I can offer any advice it’s to prepare for those with a strong network of support, a fierce mind-over-matter-determination, and a willingness to see your ugly side so you can do something about it.

But what I think can really help anyone considering going dry a month (or more) is if I be incredibly honest about my experience, so here goes. I’m going to do it as a pro/con list. ***Fair warning though, I’m not going to hold back…

PROS

I lost 5.5 pounds, as the scale tells me so consistently.
My sleep has NEVER been better; and by that, I mean I don’t wake as much, it’s more restful and mornings feel way more vibrant.
I pee A LOT less.
I spend more time with my husband doing active activities. Rather than go to a happy hour, we opt for a bike ride.
Mental clarity is way sharper.
My skin is glowing, according to my husband.
My face doesn’t look bloated, according to several people.
My allergies got better. Not sure how, but they did.
According to my app Dry Days (thanks for the recommend Judy!) I have saved almost $250 dollars. (!!!)

CONS

A few days in, you get bloated. Like, really bloated.
Agitation is the name of the game. You will have to allow yourself to feel it.
Sadly, your bowels get way out of whack. Constipation city for the first few weeks.
Depression hits on weekends (and randomly at 2 in the afternoon on a Tuesday.) I binged TV shows that held my interest and made me laugh (Schitt’s Creek & The Golden Girls) and read a shit ton of books. (4 just this month!)
I felt A LOT less social.

That’s pretty much what I’ve come up with. If anymore pop into my head, I will add. But as always, thank YOU for joining me and I’d love to hear about any of your experiences :)

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – Day 24!

If there was a time I was going to cave, it was this past weekend.

Heat wave, Labor Day weekend, pandemic and the anniversary of meeting my husband eight years ago, Sept 3.

But I didn’t.

I stood strong and channeled more self-control than I think I ever have before.

People were drinking everywhere… and my favorite thing to do in a heat wave is enjoy a cold glass of sauvignon blanc with a good book by the Pacific Ocean. I had the book, in fact was finishing it, and the ocean, but I needed to teach myself the wine was not necessary, just a compliment.

And I did.

But what I’m most proud of is the fact I didn’t let the no-booze change my plans. My hubby and I went on a bike ride along the coast and even stopped at a boardwalk bar for snacks. I tried a Heineken 00 – no alcohol beer – and it was quite good!

So, here I am. On week four and feeling good. Down five pounds and my sleep has gotten so much better. I’m sleeping through the night without waking up multiple times and I also don’t feel bloated, like I would after a night of drinks.

Next week, my month dry will be over.

24 days in and it doesn’t seem as long as it had when I started. And while I’m not going to be sober, I know I have changed. My thought process for wine is different and my body is loving the results of being alcohol free.

Thank you for coming along with me. Stay tuned for next week, when I list everything, all the good and the bad, to expect from a month dry, as according to my time doing it.

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – Day 16

I really want a glass of wine, but I’m not gonna do it.

That’s been something I’ve been dealing with lately and this whole going dry thing has really put my self-discipline to the test.

There are so many lovely moments to have a glass of vino, from enjoying it with hearty pasta dishes to sipping a glass by the roar of the Pacific Ocean, from relaxing with a drink after a long day to toasting alongside others after a hard week comes to a close.

But what I’ve realized is that those things don’t NEED wine. Wine just compliments them.

So, I’m resetting my brain essentially to see alcohol for what it is – a most delicious treat that needs to be handled delicately.

Even if one isn’t addicted, it’s very easy to abuse drinking. And the pandemic had made it far too easy for me to indulge…

So, this is where I’m at.

Day 16 dry and feeling pretty damn good… despite the urges.

Thanks for coming along with me!

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – Day 9

Thanks for joining me again, on my month of going dry.

Not gonna lie, it is hard AF. Harder than it should be, yes, but doing it during the pandemic, well, I’m thinking it makes it extra hard.

But I’m not going to whine. Instead, I want to share some things, both positive and maybe not so much, that I’ve been learning on this journey….

Summer is the worst time to do it.
As a friend of mine said when I asked for guidance on my month of sobriety, “Well, first, I don’t do it in the summertime.” And she’s right. Hot weather practically begs for a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc and forget about BBQs… sparkling water just doesn’t cut it when refreshing cold beer bottles glisten in the rays.

I sleep better.
In all seriousness, my sleep has WAY improved. When I would drink, I would wake up during the night and also, trips to the bathroom were more plentiful. I find myself now sleeping restlessly through the night and waking up more refreshed and focused for the day.

Trips to the grocery store are cheaper.
It is truly surprising how much my receipts at the grocery store have diminished when I don’t add a couple bottles of wine or a six pack of beer to it. Alcohol is far from cheap so this was noticeable right away and my bank account is loving it!

I’ve lost three pounds.
Sure, it might have been water weight but still, the scale is consistently down a few pounds and I’ll take it!

I’m learning new habits.
Rather than head to the fridge for a glass of wine after a long day or with a good meal, I have begun to think outside my norm and get more creative. I pour sparkling water into a wine glass and it’s lovely. I drink way more water, period, and have begun to explore more alcohol-free drinks, such as Sleepytime ice tea for warm summer nights or adding fresh raspberries to my morning water.

And there’s more… stay tuned!

 

Going Dry – Come Along With Me!

I don’t know about you, but being home more has made me drink more.

And boy, do I love me some wine but while enjoying it is lovely, abusing it is not.

But damn, it’s sooooooo easy to have one glass and then, just keep going, right?

So, in these times, with moderation flying out the window, it’s at the point I need to reassess. And after a particularly alcohol-fueled birthday weekend, my husband and I decided we would give our livers a break and go dry.

For. A. Month.

For some, this may seem like no big deal. For me, it is a big deal.

I’m on Day 5 and feeling good but it’s Friday and the weekend is starting and I’m not gonna lie… it’s not going to be easy to go without that glass of wine on my patio with the book I’m reading, or sipping a Moscow mule at weekend happy hour with my hubby or enjoying a glass of bold red with Sunday pasta.

But, in order for me to reset so I can get back to moderation of having drinks at those times and not at, say, 3 on a Tuesday, I believe I need to go a month without any.

And that’s where I’m at.

Day 5 and going….

 

 

This is Friendship

I’ve had many jobs over the years and have made friendships along the way. Very fortunate to have come across some amazing people in my time and with social media, we all have a place to keep in touch and keep each other posted on what’s going on…

While no two friendships are alike… some will fall naturally into the “see each other when you see each other” and it’s lovely. Then some, you genuinely make an effort toward seeing and then there are those who become family.

One such friend, who falls into the last group, recently lost a family member. She lives a couple hours from me so our visits have become yearly and sometimes, even less. We try to catch up on the phone a few times a year but life happens and sometimes we go longer than we should.

Well, randomly, last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about this friend of mine, who again, I haven’t seen or spoken to in many months. I even thought I saw her. So I texted her a simple “Hey, I miss you.” Lo and behold, she texted me back expressing the pain she was in from the death of a loved one, that just happened.

I said, I’m coming to you. Give me a day and time.

And though we hadn’t seen each other in two years or even chatted in almost a year, we fell immediately into sync and didn’t stop talking for four hours.

Our faces have aged a bit and gone is the 20-year-old invincible attitude, but in their place, is understanding, history and love.

Many years ago, this friend could have walked away from me. I would have if I were in her shoes, considering the selfish way in which I’d conducted myself at the time…

But instead, she loved me more.

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.”

-Henry David Thoreau

 

 

This is Marriage 3

My husband and I went on a little road trip to Joshua Tree the past couple days. It was lovely, getting out of dodge, and being out with nature. Yes, it was over 100* so I had to mostly be indoors with AC or outside in a pool, but still, it was most relaxing.

On the way up (about a two hour drive from where we live,) I saw my husband was in a bit of pain with some foot trouble and also, in a bit of an agitated mood because of work stuff and a limited food diet.

The old Christina would have not liked it. She would have drawn attention to the mood and asked why the hell he was starting off our mini-vacay with the attitude…. full disclosure.

But now, nearly five years into marriage, I know myself better and I also know us better. I know that I have the power to take him out of this mood because I know what makes him tick and I’m learning what he needs.

The last thing he needed was for me to come at him. Even if I had a point, it would be far from helpful.

No, I knew he needed to have his cup of coffee and he needed me to just listen. I also knew a healthy lunch spot would put a smile on his face so I let him choose and I also knew he responded to touch so I made sure to hold his hand, give him hugs and just let him know I was right beside him.

And it worked!

Well, if that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.

 

A Beginning

I know I’ve been writing a lot about children lately… Perhaps it’s because they’re the only ones leaving a good impression on me in recent times…

The world has been shook, that’s for sure. And how the pieces fall in that wake will leave many consequences to come.

Philosophically speaking, we must ask ourselves “What world are we leaving future generations? And more specifically, speaking of where I live, what is the America to come?”

Pandemics disrupt. It’s what they do. But rather than bring people together, it has created an even greater chasm between those of differing opinions and since everyone thinks they are right, how will any meaningful change occur that isn’t politicized to death?

So, I want to pose a BIG beginning solution…

What if, instead of caring about what side of the political team you’re on, consider being on team humanity? And from that premise, perhaps then, we can begin to discuss how to deal with this pandemic and move forward toward individual prosperity rather than our standard of government/big business crony capitalism political BS.

With movements such as #blacklivesmatter and #metoo, people who have been disenfranchised are finding their voice and starting to be heard. There is tremendous power in understanding each other… and that’s where I think we need to begin because differences will always exist, and that’s a fact.

And children. Oh, let us learn from them!

The other day, I was hanging with my 8 & 10 year old nephews. We decided to do movie day but both of them wanted to watch something differently. As Aunt, I said, okay, I’ll write the name of both movies on slips of paper and we’ll randomly select. Knowing I was playing with fire since one of them would not get the movie they wanted, I hoped they would see that both options could work but a decision had to be made fairly.

Well, I was in for a surprise.

The 8 year old won. His choice was “Godzilla” while his brother wanted to watch “StarDog & TurboCat.” I watched the “one who got his choice” eye his older sibling, noticing the disappointment in his brother’s face. A moment later, the 8 year old  suddenly said, “No, it’s okay, Aunt Tina. Let’s watch StarDog.”

Both myself and the 10 year old snapped our heads toward him and said, “Really?” “Are you serious?” To which this beautiful child said, “Yeah, it’s okay. It will be a fun movie too.”

Moral of the story… Even if you get your way, it’s not always the best choice to make.

 

 

 

 

We, Adults, Have A Lot To Learn

Anyone else about to deactivate all their social media platforms because of the amount of vitriol, ignorance, sanctimonious crap that people keep projecting?

I am 42 and I have never seen America more divisive and nasty.

Here’s the thing, we can research and make informed opinions, but unless you’re an expert in the field you are discussing, should you really be speaking from a place of 100% knowledge? And then, to build on that, why pick on those who disagree with you? Do you really think THAT is the way to bring change?

I think what’s happening here, if I may, is there is an abundance of misdirected anger, wrath, unhappiness within oneself, and it has found its outlet.

THE CORONAVIRUS.

Yes, this virus is very real. But why is the pandemic bringing us apart rather than bringing us together?

If I may pose a theory,  expanding on what I wrote above, is that people are unhappy but rather than seek comfort in humanity, they shun it. They pick the worst and highlight that. They seek the ones who disagree to pick fights, so they can feel “better”, and rather than learn and grow, regression is at an all time high.

It’s not cause I’m saying so… just look around you.

Clearly, it’s much more difficult to understand people who are different than us than it is to seek comfort in those who agree with you, so the latter is the favorite. But no population will ever think the same and while that is a great thing, it also causes chaos.

Welcome to humanity.

Look, I don’t have the answer to give to end this all, but I will offer this true story as a beginning to finding the answer:

I was reading a book at a hotel pool. There were two children playing in the water – maybe ages 10 (girl) and 7 (boy) – along with their grandmother. When a family entered the pool area, the girl saw there were two boys coming in – one in their age group, one a bit younger. And so, she turned to her brother and said, “Look, we can make friends!”

 

The Sensitivity of Children

Life has been a whirlwind for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so maybe you can commiserate? I mean, damn, if things aren’t getting a little crazy up in the world. Most of it, for good reason… (the brilliance of the protests (yes!) but that is for another post…)

After a first-in-your-lifetime shutdown, are you coming out a bit different?

I know I am, that’s for sure.

I’m about to return to work as a server, but in a way that I haven’t done before now that COVID caused new rules, so I am struggling with if I can still do it. I have long wanted to stay in the restaurant business as I make my films and write my stories both for my love of food and wine and also for the tangible aspect of seeing people enjoying themselves and knowing I am part of the reason why.

For those who don’t know, in the past, I’ve worked entertainment jobs, such as assistant to Scott Rudin on the Paramount lot and assistant editor on season four of American Idol, both of which I chose to leave, because when I was working those jobs and similar ones, I felt empty. Like I was a cog in the entertainment machine, but not really making any difference, though it’s definitely worth noting Scott Rudin is a genius in producing original storytellers and I wish I could have learned more from him when I was his LA assistant, but, that’s for another story and sadly, I can’t go there. I signed an NDA.

Anywho, back to now. I’ve been going through a lot and I’m starting to feel empty again in my employment. Returning to a restaurant job where the industry has done a 180*, while also ending homeschooling my nephew two days a week, (BTW teachers everywhere, YOU ARE AMAZING AND SHOULD BE PAID WAY MORE,) coping with the death of my husband’s sister, polishing my first novel for agent submission, enjoying the visit of my sister and niece, all the while trying to make sense of the insanity we’ve allowed our government to become, has left me spent.

Yet somehow, today, when I hung out with my three year old niece, life felt special. It felt good. 

And that was all her.

It was like she picked up on my feeling down a bit and for the first time, came to me without me having to ask. She comforted me and all around enjoyed my company, when before she was a bit hesitant. And when I put her to sleep, having a three year old, caress your hand while she falls peacefully asleep in your arms, I felt true serenity.

And I thought:

Children know way more than most give them credit for. And they truly are the future.