As I venture into the second month of my Whole30 adventure, I am taking this chance to become even more aware of my choices. My book of the month for February is The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace. Over the next month I will be following the activities of The Alcohol Experiment and journaling about my observations.
When I was in college the majority of my social life evolved around parties and bars. I felt confident, loved, happy, and embraced all the flows of what alcohol meant in college.
Fast forward to my mid 20's and I now have experienced the fights, regrets, and emotional tolls that I thought I never would while drinking. When will I be the same happy-go-lucky party girl that I was in college with no care in the world? I always wonder when it will change, or when I will be able to handle it again. And coming from a family history of alcohol, this can be terribly frightening.
I'm surrounding by loving, wild, caring friends and family. Many of those I have talked with about alcohol and the effects it has on them, mentally and emotionally. Some have stopped drinking all-together. Some are able to control it. We all know and admit that alcohol is poison, and typically causes more harm than good. But yet, the following weekend rolls around and, "let the liquor flow!" (old chant from college that we still shout when were together).
We as a society have created expectations and beliefs around alcohol. A few of mine are:
It helps me relax
I have more fun, and am more fun
I gain confidence
Everyone else is doing it
It won't hurt anything, it's just one night
And although some of these are true, they also have an opposite side to them in many scenarios. Most nights are fine, but is that enough to balance out the consequences of the ones that aren't?
Alcohol has become such a social norm that blackouts are funny, but when someone chooses to be sober all hell breaks lose. I am not saying I'm quitting forever, but I have definitely not regretted not drinking so far this year. Sobriety can be healing, and making the conscious effort to be sober is empowering.
All I ask from you is to be conscious of those choosing not to drink. Don't act dumbfounded, offer them drinks, or make them feel like their choice is worth belittling. Its hard enough without that. I've totally done this to others; egged them on to take a shot or questioned why the hell they would do that. I never had bad intentions at all - I just never put myself in their shoes. If someone is going alcohol free, let them be. They are most likely doing it for reasons bigger than you know.
What direction will I go after February? Who knows. I might have a drink the day March rolls around. I might do a alcohol free 2020. It's hard to think about, and not something I'm committing to now. For now, my focus is on the next 24 days and that's what matters.
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