0 Days – Why Am I Doing This?
It’s Monday, October 10th. Yesterday I ran my first marathon, concluding the 6 months of training that led up to it. As I got in my car and prepared for the long drive home, it hit me that I had accomplished a huge goal and milestone in my life. It was enthralling, but it also was finite. I wanted to continue challenging myself to try new things and experience the world from new perspectives. I liked the idea of working towards a new goal in my personal life – it was motivating in a way that work was not. Not to say that work is not motivating – it absolutely is – the difference is that with work, achieving goals is an expectation. In my personal life, no one is invested or has a say in my goals except me – which makes them that much more intrinsically rewarding.
In the last 6 months, I had been gradually moving away from the party lifestyle, so I figured why not commit to that and see what happens. I considered just doing it for 30 days, but I wanted more than a cleanse. I wanted an immersion.
I had heard that 30 days forms a habit, but a habit didn’t feel like enough. I figured that 100 days would be an accurate representation of how my life would truly change. I was bored with the scene, the people, and the results of partying and desperately craving a stimulus. Besides, it is not like partying was going anywhere any time soon.
I am committing to 100 days of sobriety – no alcohol, no drugs, no caffeine.
50 Days – How am I doing this?
Today is Nov. 28 (HBD brother!!). It has been a rather quick 50 days – and yet it already feels like I have settled into a new lifestyle. I still go out. The biggest change I’ve made now that I’m sans alcohol is that I don’t go out just for the sake of going out. I used to have a sense of urgency come Friday afternoon – I had to be going out, to escape, to stay in the scene. My oh my how quickly that urgency disappeared when I removed alcohol from the equation. I have still maintained a fairly active social life – going to UW football games, friend’s birthday parties, concerts,etc. If anything I have more fun at these functions now because I am fully present, instead of running from a sense of sadness I could not explain.
I am now past the stage of having to justify myself. My friends and family understand why I want a break. Sobriety has strengthened my most important relationships, and freed me of toxic ones. My mom was so sweet as to not serve Rosé at Thanksgiving because she knows it’s my favorite. I fell off the radar of the group I used to spend my weekends with -it was with no hard feelings, I just found myself at a different place in life. Partying that much no longer sounded appealing.
I regained those hours in my day previously spent imbibing, and I now value them in a new way. I have time to read excessively, draw, run, and just be. Frankly, I have time for everything in which I never used to see value. I have always hated being alone, but in the last 50 days, I have learned to embrace it. I like my bed, my room, and my solitude – it requires no explanation, and requires only that I feel peaceful.
If anything, I have realized just how much sleep I actually require. In retrospect, I don’t know how I ever went out on Friday nights – now I get home from work and am usually passed out on the couch within an hour. I don’t want to brag but…..last Friday I slept almost 18 hours (which previously was probably my annual average as an insomniac).
I feel really good at the 50 day mark – centered, optimistic, and connected. I think the second 50 days will be a lot more difficult with NYE and other events coming up, but I am excited for what is ahead.
100 Days – What Did I Learn From This?
Jan 17th. 100 days. I made it! Although it is the middle of the week, which was some poor planning on my part (I would also like to blame the calendar at large for not having more weekends).
When I initially set this goal for myself it felt bold, and now looking back it hardly even feels like an accomplishment. Election season, football season, the holidays- being sober for all of theses was honestly fine (dare I say enjoyable).
People have been asking me what I plan on doing after these 100 days are over. Honestly, I plan on maintaining a fairly similar lifestyle for two reasons:
1) I literally don’t have time to party. I am in the midst of studying for my math teaching credentials which feels like another full-time job, and that takes priority on the weekends over any sort of indulgences. Until March, all my spare time goes to proving the quadratic formula and solving augmented matrices.
2) I don’t want to party. Don’t get me wrong, my social life is super important to me – just not the binge drinking/debilitating hangover/regrettable life choices part. After the 50 day mark, I pretty much stopped craving coffee, weed, or alcohol – I just craved sleep. Sleep in my new BFF.
I accomplished my goal of creating a lifestyle change – but I noticed my work/life balance became more of a work/study balance. My personal life took a backseat to my professional life and goals – which in turn made me pretty miserable.
I learned that I have to prioritize the people who bring joy into my life. I also learned that I realistically need about 3 more hours in the day, but that’s another TED Talk.
The most important lesson I learned is that life is all about balance, shifting priorities, and finding an intangible peace that comes from being true to who you are.
All in all, the picture summarizes these 100 days. No one cares if you don’t go to the party – FOMO left my vocabulary. I love my alone time; I love being fully present and chasing natural highs – kairos time.
If you’re thinking about doing some sort of cleanse similar to this – I definitely recommend it, and I would challenge you to think about what your goals are. I could easily have rushed back in to the party scene after this, but I knew going in to these 100 days that I didn’t want that. It was a fun way to challenge myself to seek healthier outlets, and helped me find the root of a lot of my sadness.
100 days of sobriety turned into 100 days of clarity. I’ll cheers to that 🍷🍹🍸🥂