My New Year’s resolution was to give up drinking. Not entirely, just for two months.
It’s important to note that I’m not a New Year’s resolution person. I don’t think up things I want to change throughout the year and then wait until January 1st to do it. If anything I’m impulsive and will decide to be vegetarian for a week just because.
My decision to give up alcohol was one that I thought was necessary, and that hit its culmination right before the New Year.
I had never dealt with depression, specifically seasonal depression before last year. So when I found myself not leaving the couch for days at a time, and specifically not going home for the holidays, I knew something was wrong. I wouldn’t be technically diagnosed with depression for another few months, but that’s what it was. I wasn’t leaving the house and I would eat like complete shit for days at a time. I was also drinking a lot.
I was at the point where I would go through a bottle of wine, if not more a night.
As a college student, I could blame this type of heavy drinking on my environment and that fact that it’s what you do when you’re in a sorority. But a 24-year-old young professional going through bottles of wine like they were mineral water, is a problem.
I also noticed that I was using it as a crutch when it came to men and my relationships. When I went on a date, I wouldn’t feel comfortable until I had at least two glasses of wine. And that’s before I even left the house. My Tinder hookups wouldn’t come until I was a bottle of wine in, and all of my inhibitions were gone.
In hindsight, I know that this isn’t normal, but at the time it was my reality.
It wasn’t until I had a brief moment of clarity in my depressive haze, that the realness of my three-month bender hit me. The fact that both of my parents have dealt with alcohol abuse didn’t help. I’ve been told before to watch out for my drinking, as alcoholism can be hereditary. And just by knowing me and my addictive personality, it wouldn’t be hard to fall into that trap.
That’s when I decided to go cold turkey and quit drinking. Since it was only two weeks until the New Year, I decided to make this my New Year’s resolution.
It takes 21 days to make or break a habit. For me, this habit was alcohol. And because 21 days for me is a pretty obscure number, I decided to go for an even two months.
When January first came around I was feeling good. I’d gone extra hard for NYE and knew my body was in need of a detox.
I made myself a workout regime. Got back into meal prepping and cooking. And stocked up on sparkling water.
The most difficult thing for me during my detox was the social aspect of it. You don’t realize how much alcohol and binge drinking is the norm until you don’t indulge anymore.
Going out to dinner with friends and on dates was a bit awkward at first. My friends were supportive, but they didn’t get why I couldn’t “just have one.” That’s probably because of my reputation for wanting to rip tequila shots on a Tuesday.
But after I explained my reasoning they got it.
Comparatively, guys I went on first dates with didn’t really have an opinion. If we met for drinks, I ordered a sparkling water with lime. Some would ask why I didn’t get a drink, but most of the time they wouldn’t mention it. I met a lot of good mannered men in Boston.
Unfortunately, the guys who I had previously hooked up with or were dating weren’t as understanding.
They noticed I wasn’t as relaxed when I wasn’t drinking, and wanted to loosen me up. I don’t think they had bad intentions, but it definitely opened my eyes to the way I was handling myself with guys, and the expectations they had of me.
After the first two weeks went by, I didn’t really care to have a drink. Unlike a lot of people I’d talked to about quitting drinking, I didn’t feel out-of-place. I still went to clubs and danced my face off. If anything, it was even better to be completely sober and laugh at the belligerent people around me.
When the two months were up, I felt accomplished. Not only had I proven to myself that I wasn’t dependent on alcohol, but I actually enjoyed it. I realized that I didn’t need to drink to feel confident around men and that it didn’t make me any more or less enjoyable to be around.
Following the detox I kept my sparkling water habit, La Croix is my drink of choice, but I also indulge in my solo wine and movie nights.
I’m really glad that I chose to give myself some time to detox. It was a test. And in my eyes, I passed.
The detox taught me that I didn’t and don’t have a problem. Similarly, it taught me not to compare myself to others, especially in regards to my family. Although my parents have made mistakes in their choices with alcohol, does not mean I will repeat them. I can’t go through life worrying that’ll be the case. Being diligent about keeping myself informed and educated on my health via my doctor and self-reflection is key.
All I can do is stay alert, listen to my body, and give it what it needs.