2015 – A Dry Year

I’m not talking about rain. I’m talking about alcohol.

I’ve been drinking alcohol since my late teens. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I haven’t gone for an entire year without it since I was 17 years old. That’s 34 years, my friend. The only other things I’ve done as consistently as drink over the last 34 years are breathe, eat, sleep and poop. I think it’s time for a break.

I know, I know. “Experts” agree that a daily dose of alcohol is healthy. It can be stress relieving, lowers blood pressure, lengthens your life, and, depending on your poison, might even help with high cholesterol.

Is this true or is alcohol a distraction. Do they just want us to drink so we won’t think?

Don’t worry. I’m not going to scold you for drinking the next time I see you, so don’t feel like you have to hide that glass of red or put away the booze if you want to invite me over. In fact, next time we are out, I might just drive you home if you really want to tie one on!

And, it’s time for me to lay off the juice.

 

So, here are My Top 6 Reasons for Ditching Drinking in 2015.

 

#6 – Alcohol is acidic.

My body is naturally acidic anyway. Even when I eat vegan for 10 days when I cleanse, my body still leans toward the acid side of the scale. A highly acidic body is prone to a number of issues including osteoporosis and muscle loss. Not to mention a freaking litany of diseases. It makes no sense to drink a glass or two of wine before bed, leaving my body in an acidic state, and leaving my liver to work overtime, to cleanse the alcohol out of my system before it can perform its nightly cleanse of my blood supply.

It makes much more sense to end the day with water or herbal tea and a couple alkaline boosters so my liver has a chance to do its work without being overtaxed. As a health coach, I also know a bunch of ways to fall asleep easily. Practicing gratitude, deep breathing, putting calming essential oils on the bottoms of my feet, and my favorite – bedtime yoga.

 

#5 – Alcohol, white bread, cookies. It’s all sugar, Baby.

Between the specialty cocktails, the wine, and the craft beer, I have come away from the holidays with a wicked sugar addiction. If you drink alcohol, but wouldn’t even consider eating a cookie, try cutting out the alcohol for a few days. Let me tell you, those cookies will be callin’ your name from the cupboard. Or you’ll be craving a PBJ on white, a croissant or some other favorite sugary food-like substance. It’s all sugar and, as you may have heard, sugar is as addictive as cocaine.

I am SO ready to get off the sugar train! It’s a selfish reason but that’s exactly why I’m hosting another 10-Day Energy Jumpstart in February. For me, a group cleanse is the easiest way to get off sugar. Accountability makes all the difference. And, after 10 days, Voila! No more sugar addiction! Yay!

 

#4 – Alcohol is not good for my brain.

Remember back in the day when they used to tell us that drinking alcohol killed brain cells? That was actually a bunch of bunk. The truth is, alcohol abuse (drinking until one is drunk regulary) damages the ends of the neurons in our brains, which is even worse, and damaged neurons mess up our ability to communicate.

That’s not what I’m talking about here. What I can tell you about me is that when I couple glasses of wine, the next day I feel fuzzy. Like my head is full of cotton. I can just feel that alcohol isn’t good for me. I’m scattered and have terrible recall. Scary. This may be due directly to the alcohol and how it interacts with my brain, or it might be all about not sleeping well. Alcohol allows us to fall asleep faster, but robs us of the restorative REM sleep that we need to be clear-headed. This effect is worse for women.

 

#3 – Alcohol makes TV more interesting.

What I really mean is, it is a way to side-step boredom. A glass of wine or two and suddenly some show that I would never watch sober holds my attention for an entire hour. I have spent many an evening, tired at the end of the day, sipping wine and watching television or staring at the internet because it was the easiest way to keep myself busy, without really having to do anything, until bedtime.

Seriously. There are better ways to relax. Listening to music, conversation, working on a hobby, board games, writing – even reading a work of fiction is better than staring at the tube. At least my brain is engaged when I read. And boredom is no necessarily a bad thing. Boredom can serve as a doorway to creativity. I want more of that!

 

#2 – Alcohol is “sticky” for me.

This one is hard to admit, but it’s true. I have had days (more than one or two) where I looked at the clock, it was 3:30, and I thought to myself, “one point five hours until wine”. Coming from a family with a smattering of alcoholics, that’s a scary thing to think – and to think about thinking.

I have a girlfriend who gave me some sage advice once. She said, “Don’t drink too much too often or you won’t get to drink at all.” It’s easy to get focused on one thing and let it become a habit, whether it’s alcohol, cookies, the Internet, or exercise. Better to focus on habits that is positive and makes my life better now and ten years from now.

 

#1 – Alcohol keeps me from being honest with others and myself.

For years I have used alcohol as a way to be OK with social situations where I am uncomfortable. Many times I have chosen to have a drink or two in order to be able to make polite conversation with people I don’t know who don’t know me. I have consumed alcohol as a way to not be frustrated and to avoid conflict. I have used it as a way to endure – to tolerate.

I don’t want to tolerate or have polite conversation. I want to love and to have real conversations with people who want to have real conversations with me. I want to know where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what makes you tick, and what lights you up. I want to be places where I feel truly welcome and like I belong. I want to feel good in my skin and in the world, and to have the discussions that need to be had to make it all even better.

 

So this year, I’m not going to drink.

 

Let’s face it. Drinking, at its best, is a harmless form of distraction and entertainment. If your weight and blood sugar are normal, a little drinking can be fun and won’t hurt you. At its worst, it can harm your health, take away your creativity, allow you to avoid your life, and leave you feeling numb and dumb.

Your thoughts?

Let’s talk about it. I want to hear your thoughts on drinking or not drinking alcohol. Do you drink? What are the benefits for you? Please share in the comments below.

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