Father’s Day was my last sip of alcohol.
I sat on the patio at Beatnik’s Bistro in Fort Langley under the hot June sun, savouring every last sip of my sangria, somewhat regretting my impending decision as the level of sweet numbing liquid went lower and lower and lower, until the glass was bone dry.
It was now time to follow through. But, could I actually do it?
You see, I was so tired of feeling bloated, sluggish and… well, tired. While I wasn’t going buck-wild with the ‘Mommy Juice,’ I noticed a gradual incline in the amount I was consuming.
What started off as just a weekend pastime, crept up to become a nightly ritual. There was just something so relaxing and satisfying about pouring a glass of buttery chardonnay or mellow merlot while cooking dinner.
And then there was that second glass to enjoy with my meal, which would turn into a third glass after the kids went to bed.
After three glasses, one loses all resolve to tackle the laundry, write or make lunches for school.
Instead, the mornings were always a mad rush. I was constantly living in a frazzled state and that laundry pile seemed to always grow overnight.
There was also the constant bags under my eyes, puffy cheeks and brittle nails that signified I was putting my health and well-being at risk.
After some serious soul searching and late night Googling, I decided to challenge myself to a sober summer.
Here are just eight things I learned about being sober for the ENTIRE summer.
1- There’s a Grieving Period
When you’ve grown comfortably accustomed to alcohol to calm your nerves or lubricate awkward social situations, it can be a big shock to the system when you’re sober as a squirrel.
For the first couple of weeks I became a recluse, avoiding social situations like the plague. Of all the seasons to be sober, summer has got to be the toughest, especially if you’re a lifestyle blogger that gets a lot of invites to wine tours and cocktail parties.
This empty feeling, both mentally and physically, made me realize that I had been using wine as a crutch more than I realized.
But guess what… it does get easier…
2 – Bloat Be-Gone!
A glass of wine has roughly around 83 calories per glass (the average person probably pours a glass closer to 120 calories – myself included). Multiply that by 3 per weeknight and double it on the weekends, and what do you get, aside from a hangover? Well, I’m terrible at math, but I will tell you that what I got was a big ol’ chronic muffin top. I was constantly doing crash diets and cleanses to whittle my waist, but that wine belly always made a comeback. Since corking my wine habit, 7 lbs seemed to disappear almost overnight (in two weeks to be exact).
3- The Fun Factor!
My biggest worry of not drinking during the summer months was FOMO (fear of missing out). How would I survive our annual camping trip without Caesars? Could I really get on stage in front of 100+ and sing while out at a karaoke night with friends? What about when we have our favourite couple friends over for ‘drinks’ and games? Here’s the scoop.
That first week, as mentioned in #1 was awkward, but then there’s a certain thrill that comes with challenging yourself to have fun at social situations. No, seriously!
After awhile, you start to realize there is definitely a big placebo effect with alcohol and letting loose. I had no problem dancing with friends on the dance floor, singing in front of 100+ people at karaoke night, camping, going to parties, etc.
Want to know the best part? It was being able to drive my friends home safely and not worry about having a pounding headache the next morning, or have to worry if I said or did anything stupid the night before.
4- Off Goes the Bandaid
All that stuff that I used to keep bottled up inside has been unleashed. Without a foggy brain, there is now a lot of time to sit with my emotions and experience them whether I want to or not. As a result, I’ve become more direct, communicative and open-minded.
5- It’s Not Always Going to Be Easy
I almost caved the night of the Tragically Hip concert in Vancouver. As we walked into a private suite, a woman was pouring glass of my favourite wine. It took every ounce of willpower to ask for a Coke with a wedge of lemon instead. But once the music started playing, I forgot all about that bottle of wine on the counter. It was also really nice not to have that worry of ‘will there be a second glass? A third? Will it be weird if I go pour one myself?
6- Everything Will Change, But Stay the Same
They say that to break a habit, it’s important to change your routine. While I was quite comfortable in mine, I had to look for new ways to have fun on the weekends on the occasion that I was able to have a girls’ night or date night. This meant going to new restaurants, coffee shops, taking in a comedy show, taking more mini family trips and spending time with friends, both new and old. I can also go to some of my old haunts, but I do get tired early now, especially if there is lots of drinking going on around me. Eleven p.m. is usually my limit, after that I start to fade and crave my flannel P.J’s.
7- It’s Okay Not to Be the Life of the Party
I was super-shy in elementary and high school, but turned into a social butterfly once I became of age. Back in my early 20’s, you’d spot me dancing on table at a night club, cracking jokes at a party or being one of those loud “WOO Girls” with friends. All I can say is, Thank GAWD I didn’t have Facebook back then.
My sober summer has made me realize that I’m not really outgoing at all. In fact, I’m quite the introvert and I love it.
8- Mo Money!
Naked Grape was fine when I first took a liking to wine, but those grapes soured my tastebuds after I became accustomed to the good stuff. On average, we’d spend around $14 to $19 on a decent bottle of wine at home, which began to add up by the end of the month. And, when you factor in the cost of liquor at restaurants, it was sobering to see how much money we were flushing down the toilet- quite literally!
We’re not rolling in the dough since I corked my wine habit, but definitely don’t feel as strapped for cash anymore.
Technically, there is still another week and a bit until summer is over, but I am still in shock I managed to stick with this challenge and go 70+ days without a cocktail or glass of wine. Nope, didn’t even sneak a single sip. It might not have been the wildest, most fun summer of my life, but it was definitely the most educational and enriching. I’ve learned a lot about myself and relationships with those around me — I also feel pretty darn fabulous about reaching my goal.
Will I go back to casual drinking? I’m not entirely sure to be honest. Forever just seems too long. It’s a lot easier to take it one day or one season at a time. We’ll see…
Thanks for following along on this challenge!
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.valleymom.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/13621326_10154196499215359_2104428602_o.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]One of Vancouver’s top Mommy Bloggers, Kristyl Clark resides in the beautiful Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, Canada surrounded by lush countryside, urban shopping centers, wineries and parks. This work-at-home mom of two little Valley girls is proving there is nothing bland about the burbs. This adventurous family seems to always be out on some sort of crazy quest, from helicopter rides and wild river rafting, to top-secret paranormal investigations and living the high-life sampling the fine wines and foods of the Fraser Valley region. Kristyl also publishes a monthly column in Black Press publications throughout Metro Vancouver titled ‘Pink Laundry’. The ValleyMom.ca blog inspires her loyal fanbase through the trials and tribulations of suburban family living, guiding readers to local hotspots and hidden gems in her Canadian backyard.[/author_info] [/author]