Today it's been 44 days.
44 days of being on serious stay-at-home orders.44 days of gearing up hard-core to go to the store. 44 days with cooped-up teenagers. 44 days of being the sole caregiver of my 96-year old grandma. 44 days without going on an in-person date.
And 44 days without alcohol.
How I've Gotten Through
When I work with people that are looking to let go of habits, we investigate
1) what times of day they usually indulge, 2) what is going on at those times, and
3) what is the motivation for indulging in the habit.
With drinking, 9:30 pm - 11 pm is the tricky time for me. If I can make it through that window, I'm golden. That's when I'm done with all the caring for the people. It's when I've decided I'm not allowed to do any work after. It's when I get to lie down.
That's when I feel like I "deserve a drink".
It's also when I feel needy, tired, and alone.
"Back in the day" pre-progeny, my motivation for drinking used to be that I wanted to shut off my brain. I literally did not want to think anymore. It helped me shut the little grey cells down. At that time, I learned some other ways to shut the brain down, took up yoga and meditation which helped me cut way back on my drinking.
Since I've had my kids, my motivation for drinking has shifted into being more of a reward. It's a "reward" I earn at the end of the day for making it through.
Our motivations for habits may shift over time. It's helpful to look at not as things WERE, but how they are RIGHT NOW, as we look to let go of habits.
So now, when I hit that "squirrel-ly" time when I feel needy and alone, I give myself other rewards. I make myself a mocktail, I get some tasty snacks, wrap myself in a fuzzy blanket and watch a show that is just as comforting as a warm, fuzzy blanket. I do things that feel like rewards. This has gotten me through.
Why On Earth Would I Choose THIS TIME Not to Drink?
What kind of cuckoo bird am I? What on earth am I thinking?
Some background, I had just decided to only drink socially - not alone at home - when there was literally no social drinking and there was ONLY HOME. I had just gone most of March without a drink - only indulging in the vino once when I went on a date.
I had to ask myself...would I stick with this? Certainly the rules had changed.
But I felt there was a reason I'd made that decision. It felt like someone was looking out for me. My guides are always looking out for me. I decided to trust them - and myself - on this and stick with it.
I know that drinking during this time wouldn't "work". Drinking would not do what it was intended to do.
Drinking right now under these circumstances wouldn't make me feel better, it wouldn't loosen me up, and it wouldn't make me laugh.
Drinking right now would make me feel worse, it would make feel more tense, it would make me cry.
So, I'm glad that I have chosen to take alcohol off the table for now - and have been able to pull it off.
Now, if this stretches out into infinity I may choose to shake this up. I might actually be able to view a Zoom party as a social event. I might be able to have a friend over to sit 6 feet away from me a share a pink champagne. I might be able to have a glass of sherry and have it be just one glass of sherry like a civilized detective in the 1930s or Jessica Fletcher. I'm going a day at a time.
For now I'm drinking my cranberry juice and lime seltzer, sometimes a lovely Welch's grape (2020 vintage, you don't want to miss it), and cozying up with a good mystery and a fuzzy blanket.
Just for today.