Rethinking Drinking

In case you thought I was losing my mind or making all of this up, I wanted you to hear a voice other than mine. My friend Peggi Coony is acting as a Guest Columnist to share her story. — Keela

Several of my friends had committed to intermittently taking a break from drinking alcohol this year and reported feeling healthier and having more energy. Jenn Quest Kaustch’s 21 Day Reset Program popped up on my Facebook and Instagram pages several times around the month of June, and I spent several weeks thinking about joining. I had been questioning my relationship with alcohol for months. I was finding myself promising not to drink that day, only to justify drinking a glass or two or three when five o’clock came around. Interestingly, most of my friends, all of my colleagues, and some family members had no idea I had any issues with drinking. I never lost one day of work and have a high energy career as a social work instructor/coach for a local university. So many of the women in Sober Sis group are professionals working in the helping fields: social work, nursing, counseling, coaching, teaching, and health.

I know from my own training in social work that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit and about 90 days to make it stick. I enrolled in the Sober Sis Program on July 12 and successfully completed the 21 Day Reset. I felt so good after those 21 days that I extended my commitment to being alcohol-free and am now at 120 days. I can’t say I will never drink again, but right now, I am not willing to start over at day one.

Being Sober Minded really opened up my eyes to the incredible pressure there is to drink in the US. I started to ask myself, when did it become okay to drink alcohol at a six-year-old’s birthday party? When did it become ‘the thing’ to take your children trick or treating and be offered an alcoholic beverage at nearly every house in the neighborhood? When did grocery stores feel the need to open up full-service bars in the middle of their food isles? The tipping point for me was taking my three and seven year-old-twin grandchildren to Disney on Ice, and having a 40-ounce beer spilled over all of us! Seriously, beer and wine at a Disney Matinee?

At four months, I offer you my top twelve reasons I am grateful to be alcohol-free in honor of the upcoming holiday season:

The Twelve Days of Grateful

  1. I no longer have to buy birthday or congratulations cards along with my Sauvignon Blanc to make the clerks think I was buying the wine for someone else.
  2. I no longer have to call the people I was with the night before and “fish” around for details of my behavior because I couldn’t remember. (Sad, right?)
  3. My brother, Jerry, recently spent two weeks with me while our younger brother was in the hospital recovering from a massive heart attack. Right before he left, he hugged me tight and with tears in his eyes, said, “I am so completely happy to have my sister back.”
  4. I now take fancy salt baths with eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, or peppermint followed by doing meditation, which is seriously better than any glass of wine.
  5. I no longer have to pull out my ID at grocery stores to buy wine. (I am 67!) I can also now go through self-checkout…I usually don’t, but I can.
  6. I am fifteen pounds lighter, exercise more, and I am sleeping better than I have in the past ten years.
  7. It never gets old waking up in the morning clear-headed, hangover-free, with no regrets or no shame and ready to start my day.
  8. For the first time, I was able to tell my new physician the truth about drinking alcohol. I don’t drink. (I never told my previous doctor I was having two to four glasses of wine a night at least four times a week).
  9. I no longer wait in anticipation at my hotel (I travel a lot for work) for 6:00 pm to come around so I can get my two free, really awful glasses of Chardonnay. Pathetic, right? I didn’t even drink Chardonnay.
  10. I have stopped “pairing” Sauvignon Blanc with decorating for the holidays. Halloween was my first sober-minded decorating activity since I began my journey on July 12. This wine “pairing” has actually been the one happy drinking memory I have and I am not going to lie. I will miss it.
  11. I can put my eyeliner on straight every time.
  12. When I finally told my best friend about my new sober-minded lifestyle, she sent me this text: “I am so honored that you shared this with me. I definitely have experienced a difference with you. I applaud your courage and growth. The most beautiful element of this equation is not only how your life will be enriched; it is the impact you will have on others. I LOVE IT! I love you and am very proud of you!” My husband and my adult children are also some of my biggest supporters.

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