Wow, I can’t believe I’ve done all this for 28 days. Not just the not-drinking part but the daily reading, writing, and other important parts of not-drinking like vitamins, physical and behavioral substitutes in place of alcohol. As I started to write this, I realized that I did not think about drinking today. The only time it came up was to talk with a friend about a party on Friday and I texted her, “I’ll drive and you can drink.” But it wasn’t pre-planned so that I had a good excuse on hand for not drinking, it just came out. And I won’t drink on Friday the 31st. I started negotiating this week, saying that as long as I had 30 days, that was the whole point of “Abstaining In August” but then I saw a post where I said that, “In August there is no 2 days off, 3-5 days on. There’s 31 days off and that is the non-negotiable goal.” So I can’t use the 31st as a swing day where I can talk my way out of this depending on how I feel about things that day.
When I say that it’s almost time to stop counting, I think of a few things:
1. After the 31st I don’t want to count the days anymore. I just want to write and read blogs and remain a part of the not-drinking or attempting to stop blogmunity.
2. After the 31st I could possibly drink. I could try moderation. I could see if it makes me crazy or if I’m able to do it – I’ve never really tried before. Either way, I don’t want to keep counting the days. I want to mark it on a calendar somewhere and have to manually go to check it to see my progress.
3. I’d like to explore what a relationship with alcohol means. I think that work and progress can be done here on all of our blogs, actually I know that for a fact! But I’d also like to see if its possible (through insurance) to meet with someone who has a specific alcohol counseling background. Maybe my relationship with alcohol means that I should never touch it again. I’m not sure right now, but I know I have to keep exploring it and be 100% committed to that decision if its the one I make.
4. When I started this blog it was almost in a kind of panic. I was drinking more heavily than ever this year and some things happened that really scared me. I’ve been really stressed out for a year. I didn’t think that rehab sounded right for my situation. But, I knew I needed to stop drinking but didn’t quite have a purpose driving me to remain committed to it. Some people talk about how every time they look at their children they are reminded of why they stopped drinking (and I think that’s so great for them). But I don’t really have anything like that. I can’t say, “Every time I look in the mirror at myself, I’m reminded of why I don’t drink.” I just didn’t feel like there was anything tethering me to a not-drinking commitment. So I created a tether. I read blogs, I followed them, I started my own and I maintained it as well as daily visits to my blogroll and the search for other blogs out there that I identify with. I now have a connection to something that has become very important to me and I think about it (and you all) every day. I’m not in a panic anymore.
5. What I’d like to try is layering on another goal on top of not-drinking (or possibly exploring moderation). If I layer on a goal every 30 days then I think I could really begin to make permanent changes that are important to me and for a healthy and happy future. The next thing that I want to do is make an exercise commitment. I exercise now, but it is one of the first things I let go or re-negotiate when other things come up. I still have to figure out how to make it work, but I love Autumn and am outdoors alot. Pair that with my gym that is nearby and I think I could create a solid plan.
So, 3 more days and the original goal will have been achieved. I feel several things right now; I am happy with myself and proud of the work/reflection/learning that I’ve accomplished. I’m a little sad because I don’t know what I’ll do after the 31st. A part of me thinks that there are alot of people out there who will wish/pray that I never drink again (and I’m so grateful for you) but I also have to make this decision for me and from my own thoughts and feelings. I feel really calm right now. Being open and honest has been so healing. I feel thankful for this experience and want to keep the blogmunity as a part of my life and identity.