It’s been surprising.
About two weeks ago, I decided I was going to stop drinking for a little while. I didn’t give myself a timeline because that would just set me up for failure. I just decided not to drink “for a little while.” At bars, at restaurants, cooking dinner, out with friends…at every turn I’ve been tempted. And I’ll be totally honest with you, most of the time I have absolutely NO problem justifying why it’s completely fine to drink.
I’ve never had a drinking problem.
I love enjoying a bev with my friends and there’s no danger.
Not drinking doesn’t seem to fix my anxiety.
But I continued on, not just to prove it to myself, but also to see what happens. The first week was pretty much just a demonstration of will power. A whiskey sour here, glass of wine there, margarita next to my glass of water…
Besides the temptation, there was also this weird awkward social pressure that I did NOT expect. I found myself warning friends and family ahead of time or right before seeing them that I wasn’t drinking. I felt the need to specify, “I don’t have a problem with drinking. I’m just doing an experiment.” As if saying, “No thanks, I’m not drinking,” isn’t enough?! On one particular instance I was falling all over myself trying to explain how I just wanted to see how my body would change, my anxiety would change, or maybe how my social experiences would change. I even apologized!! I basically held up a sign that read, “Would anything I’m saying keep you from judging me or making assumptions about me?!” More than how drinking affects me, I’ve noticed how making the choice to not drink has affected me!
The second week was far more interesting. I was more accustomed to saying no, and after realizing I didn’t owe any explanations, I got more comfortable saying, “Just water, please.” I also started collecting little bits of data about why staying sober was actually kinda great. For one thing, I didn’t worry about whether or not I was being authentic. I never had to re-trace my conversations to be sure I didn’t say anything offensive or off-the-wall, either. I didn’t feel like garbage when going to sleep, not to mention I didn’t have anxiety about what I might feel like when I woke up. I even enjoyed not having to account for the extra calories!
I’ll tell you this: I’ve miss sitting down for a beer with my Bear. I miss relaxing with him on a hot afternoon with a cold drink. I enjoy sharing that with him.
For the most part, I don’t really miss drinking. No, it really hasn’t helped me with my anxiety. It hasn’t made a difference in the way I sleep or eat or work out. But the perks of not drinking are outweighing the benefits of that glass with dinner at this point. If you know me, you probably think my blog has been hacked. Either that or you’re passed out on the floor. I’ve NEVER been one to turn down a drink. Now I’m wondering what my motives were that entire time I did drink? Have I just fallen into the idea that I’m someone everyone expects to drink and so I do?! Maybe…just maybe…I’m not a drinker?!
More on that as the experiment continues…