I was never a light, social drinker. When I do something, it’s all or nothing. As I quit my career to raise my kiddos, 4 p.m. every day was my cue for the witching hour, and “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” I-deserve-a-drink-mentality. I’d make my daily margarita, but don’t worry; it was light. I’d be at least a drink in when my husband would get home and join in and pour himself a bourbon and crystal light. Again, don’t worry; it was light.
This quickly became our everyday routine. Every. Single. Day. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. Most days I would have 2 margaritas and be done drinking around 7, but there were the days that that wasn’t the case. Too many drinks, too strong, and I’m feeling woozy when I lay down and groggy in the morning.
So much work, energy, effort, time, and money went into fueling our unhealthy daily habits of drinking away the evenings. Don’t get me wrong; we’re great parents. We’d play with the kiddos, and I’d have supper on the table for our family meal every evening. But were we really being the best parents and spouses we were made to be? No. Alcohol was robbing me of my true potential in life.
After a particularly rowdy Sunday night of homemade CoronaRitas (why??), Monday evening I sat my husband down saying that I needed a change. He agreed, and we have decided to do 30 days AF. This is a big 30 days for us. It involves a move to a new house, a trip to Amelia Island, and my husband’s 35 birthday. It’s easy to get sucked into believing I HAVE to consume alcohol to celebrate these occasions, but I don’t. Period. No justification or long rationale. I love myself and my personality just the way I am and do not need alcohol to have a good time, contrary to what society and commercials tell me.
What to expect during the first 7 days:
I’m not going to sugar coat it: the initial few days AF is rough. I was cranky, irritable, and short-tempered. I’d recommend taking it easy the first few days. No huge presentations at work, no meeting the significant other’s family for the first time, you get the point. Give yourself a little grace during this period. Let the kids watch a movie, just order a pizza for supper and watch wheel of fortune.
Your body is going through a lot during these first few days. You have been putting a toxin in your body on a regular basis for a long time. There will be a period of acclimation. You have been dehydrating yourself regularly. You have been putting a depressant into your body daily. The body is amazingly resilient, but it needs time. Take it easy the first two days and start daydreaming about your new AF life, free of bondage and bodily toxins.
Since my daily routine involved getting lit while the kids played and I cooked supper, I needed something different to distract me from my usual process. For the short term, I have been taking the kids somewhere in the afternoon so I’m not just sitting in my kitchen at 4 p.m., which was the usual time to pop a top. I have found this time of going to the park or on a walk or to the museum has really boosted my self-image of my mothering skills.
I no longer have to justify to myself, ‘oh everyone drinks in the afternoon, this is perfectly normal’. No. Everyone does not drink in the afternoon. Now, instead of having an underlying guilt and hearing myself tell my son I’ll be back out to play after I fix a drink, I am truly with my kids.
I have started piano lessons with my oldest son in place of being too busy because I was drinking. I will start a new exercise routine in the future as my energy level keeps increasing. I did not realise how planning to be home and drink every day at 4 p.m. controlled my life so much. Everything was muted and blurry when I was drinking; now everything is clear, and crisp and vibrant, and I can focus on what really matters: myself and my family. Not my next drink.
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.
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