Have you ever heard something repeated over and over through various people and just knew that it was a sign for you? Like maybe you’re hearing it over and over because you are supposed to let it resonate within and then do something about it. It’s funny how that happens, but I believe that if we have that gut feeling telling us we should do it, we need to do it. I’ll be the first to admit that I need to hear things a few times before I start thinking about my own life and how it could transform through these “signs”.
Alcohol. Wine, more specifically, is what I’m referring to right now. I almost feel like drinking wine in the evening is a rite of passage when you’re a mom. No, really, I do. I have some stories of drinking in excess, as we all probably do, but overall, it was not until I had my son that having wine changed for me.
First, let me embarrass myself a bit…
The first time I had a drink of alcohol was when I was 14 years old. It was my cousin’s wedding and I can’t remember if my parents let me have a glass of wine to celebrate the wedding or if I snuck it. I know I didn’t even have a whole glass because I ended up feeling it fast and I didn’t like that feeling. I was underwhelmed by the experience and didn’t really get why people liked it.
The next time was when I was 16 years old and in Mexico with my parents and one of my best friends, Jenny. My parents had just purchased a condo at a resort and there was a welcome party that we all attended. My parents let Jenny and I have a rum punch while we were at the party and we really liked that sweet drink. At one point, everyone was dancing and my parents went to play this “try to pop the balloon with only your body” game so naturally Jenny and I snuck more rum punches.
This was my first time drunk and it hit me like a ton of bricks all of a sudden. Thank you, gross sweet drink. It was time to go, but I could not walk. I mean, I probably could have, but I would have been all over the place and it would have taken forever to get home. I do remember pushing Jenny (accidentally) in the bushes and she stood up with thorns on her. What a great friend, ha! One of my parent’s friends gave me a piggy-back ride back to the condo, but not before I laughed so hard that I peed on him. That’s right. In all my glory, it was not enough to just be drunk. I had to expel bodily fluid onto this poor man doing me a favor. Even at 38- years old today, embarrassed doesn’t even begin to describe it.
And y ‘all, that next day sucked big time. My parents had a Jeep Wrangler there and that bumpy ride made me pray harder to God above than ever before that if I just stopped feeling so sick I would never drink again. Ah, how naïve I was about that, but rum punches are another story. In the 22-years since then I’ve never had another one. Just 4-months ago I was back in lovely Puerto Vallarta and tried a sip of my mom’s rum punch. YUCK, it’s still as sweet as I remember.
One other time that stands out to me is that time in college when I totally tried to outdrink one of my guy friends. This was just stupid of me to do, but once I started talking a good game, I couldn’t back down. That’s just not how I do. So, the tequila came out and shot after shot went down until I finally had to wave the white flag. I couldn’t drink anymore needed to go home. When I woke up the next morning I felt like I was dying the slowest death possible. It was bad and I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say it was a time to remember… and a time I wish I could do over and back down from the dumb challenge that I initiated in the first place.
I’m sharing these stories because they make me laugh now and because they were not part of my norm. We all have those memories of doing things we shouldn’t, but growing and learning from the experiences make us better and wiser. Or at least that’s the idea, isn’t it?
That being said, I feel like when you have a child, drinking a glass of wine is very much the “mom thing” to do and it does start to become the norm. It starts to become something you look forward to, whether you’ve been at work all day and then have to come home and be mom with all of the nightly routines and fitting in that good ole quality time or you’ve changed more blowout diapers that day at home than you care to count. It’s your little buddy that helps to take the edge off of the most stressful days. It makes it just a little better. Just a little more manageable. Just a little easier to deal with.
Pre-kid I spent my evenings drinking hot tea. Even typing that right now makes me giggle a bit because it seems so far off from what I do now. I had so many boxes of various teas: Earl Grey, Chamomile, Lavender, Green, Black, White, Green with honey, and on and on and on. I did tea; I didn’t really do much alcohol. Tea was my thing. I maybe had a glass or two of wine while dining out, but that was pretty much it for the week. It was not my norm and certainly not something I had daily. My how the times have changed, lol.
Lots of funny images floating around online involve moms drinking wine. Tons of cute tanks and tees do the same. You get together with your other mom friends and go out for wine. Or watch the Bachelor together with wine. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Mom life is hard. Moms need a break. We need to be able to pour that glass of wine, take a bubble bath, and escape with the latest US weekly magazine. We need to be able to zone out and collect our own thoughts. We need to feel like an adult and partake in an adult conversation with an adult beverage in hand.
But what about when it becomes more? What about when it’s just what we do because it’s become more of a habit now?
Cooking dinner? Have a glass of wine.
Handing the kids off to your spouse when they get home from work? Have a glass of wine.
Eating dinner? Have a glass of wine.
Taking a bubble bath? Wine.
Meeting girlfriends out? Wine.
Getting ready to go out with friends? Wine.
Sunday brunch? Mimosas.
Mexican with the family? Margaritas.
Astros game? Beer.
See what I mean? It’s so easy because it’s just what we do. It’s kind of how life becomes. Now, here’s the important part. The disclaimer, if you will… I LOVE my wine. Like love LOVE my wine. But I also know that I don’t have a problem in the sense of alcoholism; it’s just been my go-to. I have been feeling more and more like it’s becoming this habit I’d like to break.
Call it what you want, but I’m on this journey of becoming a stronger girl. A more confident girl. A happier girl. And I want to take a break from my relationship with wine. There’s no significant reason really. (If it helps lose some pounds that certainly wouldn’t suck.) I just want to do it. I want to experience life more and I want more clarity while doing so.
A 30-day Break from Alcohol
So about those “signs” I was talking about earlier… This started months ago. I think the first time I heard about someone taking a month off from drinking was in regards to losing weight. This girl completely changed the way she looked. When I heard this, I remember asking my girlfriend what she did diet-wise, totally thinking she was going to say Weight Watchers, Low-Carb, Exercising more, basically anything other than going without drinking. But yes, apparently this total body transformation came from doing the “Whole 30” diet AND, you guessed it, no alcohol. I’ll be honest – She lost me at the no alcohol part. Kristin, out.
Fast-forward a month later and the instructor at Cycle Bar lost weight. Guess what she did? Yep, cut out drinking for a month, not any other thing. She ate the same way she always has and still exercised, but the alcohol made a huge difference. A 20-pound difference! She said that she just wanted to see if she could actually do it (cutting out drinking) because, again, it is just part of her life, but she was starting to feel like it was in excess. Again, I was all, “Great job, but no thanks”.
I mean, it’s summer time. Kids are home. Whether you work from home, work at an office, or are a stay at home mom, trying to do it all is fucking hard. So much so that the time for wine is very exciting. It’s something to look forward to from a busy day. A stressful day. Or just as part of winding down and celebrating that you kept everyone fed and alive, yourself included.
A few weeks after the Cycle Bar experience I was reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and Chapter 18’s lie is: I need a drink. Rachel talks about how her drinking upped its game once she had kids. She says,” Alcohol gave me courage. It gave me courage to parent. It gave me courage to have conversations with strangers. It gave me courage to feel sexy.” I don’t want to spoil the chapter for you if you haven’t read it, but it was becoming something to her that she needed and relied on. She says that she comes from a long line of alcoholics so there’s a little more going on there than just wanting to take a break. When I read the chapter of this lie, there was a lot that I could relate to. After all, it’s called “liquid courage” for a reason.
Last week, while being on vacation in Calgary, I was reading Like She Owns The Place by Cara Alwill Leyba, and she mentioned taking a break from alcohol for the month of January. She wanted more clarity in her life. She had gotten to the point where alcohol was just what she did. A habit. And part of her wanted to see if she could really give it up for a month.
Wake up call time. After all, how many signs about the same damn thing float by you before you just throw your hands up in the air and say, “Okay, okay, I hear you!” This is when my brain was like, “Kristin. Seriously. Let’s think about doing this challenge”.
August 4, 2018 is the first day of my “No Drinking for a Month” challenge. I am more excited than not, but do have some mixed emotions. I really do think that developing new habits will be such a positive force in my life, but have to admit that I will miss my glass of vino in the evenings. Life is more exciting when challenges are thrown your way and you can overcome them. This is just another thing for me to do. My goals for doing it are easy: I want to be able to say that I did this. I want to see if I have more clarity. I want to see if I feel more rested. I want save money. I want to see if I lose weight. I want to see if my skin looks brighter because I’m sure I’ll be drinking more water. So many positives to come my way.
And who knows what will happen after that month is over. Maybe I will want to continue for another month or maybe I will feel the positives and celebrate with a glass of wine. I’ll just have to wait and see 🙂