Sober September REFLECTIONS. I remained abstinent from alcohol for 30 days. To be very clear: if you are reading this and know that alcohol is a serious problem for you, this article is not for you. Considering long time sobriety is worthy of discussion. Call me. We can talk about it. We can devise a sustainable strategy and I can make referrals if need. In the meantime, this article IS for anyone grabbling with abstinence as a result of choice and curiosity. The Sober Curious movement has swept society in the recent years and despite the dogma wrought in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step Recovery programs, being sober curious is, well – just that. You don’t have to have a problem with alcohol to explore abstinence from it. We all deserve a life we love living and feel good waking up to – maybe sobriety, even in the short term, is right for you? How will you know unless you give yourself the room to explore?
What’s real about sobriety:
• Clarity is a thing
• 30 days gifts the mind/body a chance to recalibrate.
• increased conscious & compassionate parenting = smoother parenting.
• sober sex = is great sex.
• hunger is WAY easier to navigate when you’re not nursing a hangover.
• sleeping well and deeply is worth it alone.
• pleasant & harmonious cycles means PMS is a symptom of imbalance.
• more inhibitions = less impulsivity.
• alignment, attunement & productivity = increased dopamine.
• a proper functioning liver = great digestion. The liver is the body’s major detoxifying organ. If it’s constantly bombarded with alcohol (amongst other things), it poses issues for the digestive tract which is the body’s excretory organ. Believe me, you want a happy liver.
• challenging the body/mind to do hard things improves perspective.
In Summary: going alcohol free can open the body and mind up to a rested world of open mindedness when paired with other thoughtful intention and positive action.
Sobriety is not:
• a panacea. I still have problems. People with 10 years of sobriety still have problems.
• weight loss happens but so do sugar cravings and a desire to replace one habit with another – be prepared for that (I ate more sugar in September than I ever normally do).
• a woman’s body is naturally cyclic, emotions naturally go up and down. While smoother cycles is a noble cause to quit alcohol, don’t expect emotions to flat line.
• rigid attitudes and “all or nothing thinking” can be harmful too. If going alcohol free be sure to hone a sense of humor!
• if you already have an impeccable lifestyle and alcohol is but a healthy vice, a break can be lovely and welcome and it can simply mean taking breaks and spacing are all the naturopath ordered.
• alcohol is not all bad. It’s not “all good” either. Take it or leave it but remember to treat alcohol like any other RELATIONSHIP. Therefore: have boundaries & intentions and give your body what it needs to rest and recover:
What does that entail?
– eat well: Plant foods, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, fruit, legumes, nuts & seeds etc.
– drink water: stay hydrated and get creative with bevy’s. Herbal tea, fruit infused water, green drinks, kombucha can all be fun
– seek nature: hiking, swimming, walking, jogging
– sweat: boost the body’s detoxification by sweating, pushing and pulling weights, go to a sauna etc.
– spend time with like minded people, friends and extended social networks: this speaks for itself. Despite being an introvert, I acknowledge that we’re social creature by nature. We need each other.
One incredibly valuable lesson I learned from 30 days of sobriety is that…
Thirty days is child’s play. One month wasn’t noble, to be honest. Sixty and 90 days is a lot more like it. Maybe an entire year. In truth I really have no idea what real sobriety even entails other than it’s hard on some days and a complete blessing on others. Most mornings I woke up grateful that I gave myself a chance to do something different, especially when I could have poured a glass of wine. I believe all therapists could benefit their clients by challenging their patterns. How else can we relate? Most of us have had our hearts broken and experienced trauma, but not everyone knows the deep rooted messages bound to even the most moderate of ritualistic behaviors. What happens if you take the caffeine away. The alcohol? The sugar? No Netflix? No pot? Seriously? We’re the ones our clients so deeply depend on…we have vices, boy do we. Therapists aren’t saints. I’m no saint. I’ve seen the worst cognitive dissonance in my colleagues….Maybe we can acknowledge that while vices are like addictions in disguise, they’re also windows into our unique personalities.
I promise. You’re smarter and wiser and more equip than you think. Solutions and alternatives are always at hand. Sometimes all it takes is a simple challenge or an all out trip down humility lane to see yourself what you never knew you could become.
What are your healthy vices?
Is it some chocolate and Netflix on a particularly rough or tiring day?
Is it a glass of wine with a girlfriend?
It is staying up late word-smithing a caption to a cool photo?
Is it your favorite childhood snack eaten on your couch in your favorite slippers?
Is it getting stoned with your boyfriend and giggling about messages he plans to leave you under the toilet seat?
Com’on. Vices are kinda quirky and awesome, no?
In closing. Vices are human. You’re probably really hard on yourself like I am. Maybe some day we’ll celebrate it. Maybe we’ll even learn to embrace rather than judge our vices. Maybe we’ll watch our vices morph into new ones. Maybe vices are just outlets.