Keep the lesson, but throw away the experience. – Author Unknown
You may notice the headline for today’s post, How to Live Without Alcohol for 100 Days?, is in the form of a question; not a statement. The reason for this is because I don’t know the answer. But, I want to find out.
I have always experienced the gap, the thin line in my soul between alcoholism and sobriety as paper thin and always in danger of being erased. There is plenty of family history to suggest both a propensity and a genetic pre-disposition for alcoholism to surface inside me at any given time. It is a disease I have narrowly escaped most of my life – and I want to continue to do so.
My attempt to go 100 days without drinking a beer or having a glass of wine will not erase my tendencies to drink for the wrong reasons and it certainly will not give me any moral ground to stand on if I am indeed successful. I just want to see if I can do it.
Too often, I have reached for alcohol to sooth my anxiety or to make me feel more comfortable when I’m with people I don’t know well. I associate going to baseball games with drinking beer and I eagerly look forward to that first Friday after-work drink, too.
Now, I want to try to experience all of these things without the usual assistance. My inner voice, my inner wisdom, has been suggesting this to me for some time now. It’s time to listen.
Day One started this past Sunday, May 4. Day 100 will be on Monday, August 11. How I live the days in between will be the challenge. I really don’t have a roadmap or any past experience to draw on for these 100 days. All I have is determination and a hope I will learn new things about myself.
My hope is old wounds that sometimes open and fester with insecurity when alcohol is the instigator will begin to close. I will not be healed or fixed in these 100 days, but there is hope I will have gain valuable personal insight that will help me with the healing process.
I’m not sure what will happen on August 12th. I can’t say if I will drink again or at what level and frequency. I do, however, have faith and confidence in whatever happens between now and then will be the right things for me. So, a leap of faith begins.
Here’s my plan for living 100 days without alcohol. Please share other ideas you think would be helpful:
Ask for help
By making this very public announcement, I’m asking to be held accountable for my actions. I’m also asking for help, and I’m sure I will ask for help many more times over the next 100 days, too. Some things in our lives are much bigger than we are.
Pride and arrogance contribute to our failure when we fail to ask for help. Ironically, it takes confidence and courage to ask. Confidence in that we believe there are people in our lives who care enough to listen and support us. Courage in the sense we want to keep moving forward in spite of the obstacles and pain.
It will be difficult finding alternatives for the Sunday afternoon glass of wine or the cold draft beer during a dinner out. For me it’s just been a matter of habit; a matter of comfort.
Just as the physical act of drinking is a habit, so is the dependency on the calming effect the alcohol provides. Therefore, I may substitute a beer for a glass of ice tea, but more importantly, I will need to discover alternatives to finding comfort and peace. This will be the biggest challenge and hopefully the greatest opportunity for me.
Investing more time in reading, writing, improving relationships, exercising and just thinking are seem to be the likely candidates right now. I know a certain degree of peace in my life can be rejuvenated and restored by investing in these areas. I’m also certain I will find comfort by learning how to take better care of myself.
The thought of truly feeling all of my emotions without the faint haze of melancholy draping over me is invigorating. I’m looking forward to going into a Friday afternoon with the knowledge I can be at peace and content by just being Alex; no other assistance will be required.
Live one day at a time
Some days will be easier than others because it wasn’t my habit to drink everyday. Typically, I would not drink alcohol during the week. It will be the weekends, or being in a restaurant or at a ball game that will be the most challenging. There is also a vacation planned for later in July that will undoubtedly give me some concern. However, the cliché take it one day at time is the best advice I can try to follow.
To go 100 days without drinking will require making a conscious choice each and every time I’m confronted with the temptation. It’s not so much about setting a 100 day plan, but rather setting and living a moment-by-moment plan. It is my hope all of these moments of making the deliberate decision to resist the temptation will all contribute to the final result I’m seeking.
Take a leap of faith
During the times when I’m not feeling particularly confident, I will attempt to step back and ask what a stronger and more confident person would do in this situation. The answer will be there to cling to if I choose. So, knowing this, a leap begins.
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