Day 11 – Sobriety and The Juice Paradox
It occurred to as I embark on this journey to better health and sobriety that drinking and good health do not always go hand in hand.
I am striving to be a better me. Better sleep. Less anxiety. Better skin. Less bloat. More energy. More productivity. More patience. As I grow into my mid to late 40’s, and the hormonal changes that are associated with “women of a particular age” set in, I wonder – what can I do to improve my health (and let’s be honest, waistline)?
With these improvements in mind, I researched medications, herbal remedies, creams, exercise, diet, fasting, and meditation. Smoothies and juicing became a part of my weekly routine, along with more movement, mindful eating, fasting, counselling, and journaling. All of these things improved my state of being. However, sleep was still elusive. My energy levels were still often zapped, and I was not nearly as productive as I knew I could be.
But I knew that incremental positive changes would yield great dividends if I just stuck to them.
The one thing I wasn’t addressing, the one thing that could really make an appreciable difference in most if not all of these areas without costing any money – and I didn’t have to actually DO anything… was to slow, limit, or eliminate alcohol consumption. Paradoxically, even though you do “nothing” to achieve sobriety technically, it seems like a great deal of effort if one has a complicated relationship with alcohol.
So here I am, juicing, working out, doing mindful eating, fasting, spending time, energy and money on making positive changes and also drinking to excess multiple times per week – whether its 6 beers (or more), a bottle (or so) of wine, or sugary margaritas – I was undoing all the incremental positive changes that I had worked so hard to make.
It is like doing everything you can to improve your garden. You water it regularly. You use good compost. You treat pest infestations organically. You make sure it gets the adequate amount of sunlight. You put a great deal of effort into the health and aesthetic of your garden. Then right before bed, you spray just a little bit of Roundup on the whole of your garden. Not enough to kill everything outright, just enough to keep it from its full potential. This is how I saw the effort I was putting into my health, then undoing all that effort by binge drinking.
I’m not saying drinking is bad. I will never use this blog to preach or say “you need to quit drinking” or “you are hurting yourself with alcohol.” You know if you do and you know if you are. That is a personal realization and a personal decision. No matter what justifications I gave myself or what “antioxidants” I was getting from wine, or “stress relief” I received from those few pints of beer – I knew in my heart that the bad definitely outweighed the good.
A couple months ago, I did a “practice run” on sobriety and was able to go 28 days sober (with a couple cheats in there, for sure). I needed that practice dry-run. It helped me to put into perspective how a real go at sobriety would look/feel. Today, I am really committed this and am seeing results. I feel better. I am sleeping better. I have more patience, more energy, and feel like I have more time. My face and abdomen are less bloated. Does my skin look better? I’m not sure. I am not working out regularly yet again – but will start back soon. I wanted to get over this hump first. I feel like I am almost there. I hope to soon stop thinking about “not drinking” and focus more on the other positive changes I can make to supercharge the improvements I have already experienced from this one small change.
This change has not been small. Not insignificant. Not fucking easy by any stretch of the imagination. But I appreciate this medium – to get my thoughts out. I am grateful for the support of friends, near and far. Thank you for taking part in this journey with me. I hope it may help someone else. I can’t be the only one with these thoughts.