Today’s popular New Year’s resolution may not apply to everyone, but it’s a serious one. Many people resolve to quit drinking in the new year. Maybe that’s for health reasons, maybe that’s because you have a legitimate problem. Regardless of the reason, we’re going to do it with you. I know I am, and I am going to ask everyone reading to give up alcohol for the rest of this month, unless your doctor has told you to drink a glass of wine a day for heart problems or something, I won’t argue with your medical professional, but otherwise, for recreational or stress relieving drinking, we’re putting a stop to it through the end of January, and will still be here throughout the year to hear your progress and share your highs and lows.
The only other exception to this being if you are such a heavy drinker that you’re going to throw yourself into withdrawal if you go cold turkey. You may need to talk to your doctor about your problem and the safest way for you to get sober. You may need to check yourself into rehab/detox for a little while. Most employers understand that, as a medical need. If you need to, see about having your doctor fill out FMLA paperwork for your job so you can take the time you need for rehab or withdrawal symptoms and take care of yourself. Depending on your starting point you may even want to consider moving into a sober living home. If your home life isn’t stable and alcohol-free, then a sober living home is an excellent option of a safe and supportive place to live while you’re recovering.
If you drink enough to experience withdrawal, you can expect side effects like anxiety, diarrhea, elevated heart rate, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, restlessness, shaking, stomach cramps, sweating, and trouble concentrating. If you go into severe withdrawal that causes confusion and disorientation, convulsions, extreme agitation, fever, hallucinations, seizures, and severe vomiting, have someone take you to the Emergency Room, or call 911. Severe alcohol withdrawal can cause delirium tremens, usually 3 days into withdrawal, which causes changes in the way your brain regulates circulation and breathing. This is considered an emergency situation and is nothing to play around with or wait to see if it passes. It does usually only last for 2-3 days, but can cause severe hallucinations, as well as high body temperature and seizures that can result in death. You wouldn’t expect it, but alcohol can be one of the most dangerous substances to withdrawal from. Do not be afraid to seek help from a medical professional.
In the future we will occasionally post recipes, but anything that involves alcohol will always be accompanied by a non-alcoholic version for those who can’t drink, shouldn’t drink, don’t like to drink, or are too young to drink. But we promise none of those this month, we’re taking the first leg of the journey together. And I truly can’t stress enough that no matter where in the timeline of things we are, whatever we may be talking about that day, if you’re going through a rough time or need support, we’ll listen, and we’ll be your sober buddy if you need one.
If you do have a serious problem with drinking, what I would like to see in the remainder of January in addition to not drinking is joining an Alcoholics Anonymous program. We’re happy to do our part to help, but we don’t beat professional tried and true programs. We know that the idea of joining an in person support group is a daunting prospect. But you’re going to have the supportive of people who have been exactly where you are, and understand everything you’re going through. You’ll also be able to have a personal sponsor. Someone who is going to help take charge of your recovery and walk through the process with you step by step, slip ups and successes.
If you’re not up for quitting cold turkey, we’re going to ask you to spend January cutting back, joining an AA group, and set yourself a quit date that you intend to be sober by. Limit yourself to no more than 1 drink per work-week day, and no more than 3 drinks on your days off as a starting point. We would like to hope you’re willing to be done drinking today with us, but we know it’s a more complex problem than that, and we’re not going to hold you to an unrealistic expectation. So if you’re a casual or social drinker or a serious drinker who’s up for the challenge we’re going to ask you to quit with us today and spend at least the rest of the month sober. If you’re a serious drinker and need a gradual decline in drinking we’re asking you to cut back every week. Set a specific date you are willing to hold yourself accountable to in being done with alcohol.
If you’re going to drink, do it slowly, and take a break between drinks. Give yourself a few hours between drinks that instead of alcohol you’re drinking water or tea or juice, and never drink on an empty stomach. If you’re a serious drinker, but not at a stage where you NEED to drink everyday, then instead of the suggested limits in the previous paragraph, pick a couple of days out of each week that you’re going to commit to not drinking. As weeks add up and you get used to not drinking on those days, and another day. Keep going until it’s every day.
To eliminate your drinking problem you may need to make some changes to your social circle. There’s plenty to do in a bar without drinking, but don’t put yourself in that environment until you know you’re prepared to say no and stick with it. That may never come, you may always have to stay out of drinking environments, and that’s okay. Do your drinking buddies still care about you when you’re not drinking? If not were they your buddies to begin with or just people who don’t like to drink alone? Practice saying no. You can plan ahead to avoid it as much as possible, but eventually there will be some social situation that shows up that you’re offered an alcoholic beverage. Practice saying a polite but firm “no, thank you.”
Let people know that you’ve decided to stop drinking if they’re used to doing it with you. You can be as open or as private about it as you want to. You can tell people you’re quitting because you have a problem, or you can tell people you’re quitting to be healthier, or you can tell people you’re quitting to lose weight, whatever is comfortable for you. Do make it clear drinking isn’t welcome in your home, and that you may not be attending certain events if alcohol is present or if it’s a routine part of that experience for you. It’s okay to ask people to support you by not drinking around you. If they can’t do that, you don’t need them. Practice saying it to yourself until you’re ready to say it out loud. “I am an alcoholic.” One of the most profound Facebook posts I ever read was a friend who posted that his pre-teen son had said to him “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to get buzzed.” and that that made him realize he was an alcoholic and that he wanted to change his life. He unfortunately didn’t stick with his change of lifestyle and has bigger challenges than alcohol to address, but it was the bravest post I’ve ever seen anyone make. Whether you choose to announce your goals on social media or not is your choice. You may benefit from the support, but there have also been studies suggesting we shouldn’t announce our goals on social media because when our friends like the status we get all the satisfaction of actually having accomplished it already and don’t feel the need to follow through. So instead of announcing it on your own wall, maybe look at joining some online alcohol recovery groups.
You’re also going to want to get rid of temptations around the house, and whatever other environments you spend a lot of time in. Get rid of alcohol, barware, and drinking paraphernalia, whether that’s a neon sign on your wall or a T-shirt proclaiming your favorite alcohol brand. Get it out of sight and out of mind.
Make it a point to take care of yourself while you get sober. Eat well, exercise, and make sure you get enough sleep. Find yourself a network of supportive people even outside of AA. It could be your existing friends are going to be the most supportive people in the world, or maybe your family will, but chances are if you have developed a drinking problem then you have probably been surrounding yourself with fellow drinkers. Consider getting more involved in groups in your worship community.
Remember that post a few days ago about choosing a hobby to start in the new year? Start spending lots of time on it. Replace your drinking time with something else enjoyable, productive, and likely to keep your mind busy so you don’t notice you miss it, or that will achieve relaxation so you don’t feel like you need it. Also take another look at our post on managing stress. Don’t let the stress of life without alcohol intimidate you, there are lots of ways to deal with stress, and alcohol isn’t anywhere on our list.
Keep a log of your drinking. Write down how much you think you drink, how much you want to limit that, and how much you actually ended up drinking. Do the numbers surprise you? Do you have a bigger problem than you realized? That makes this all the more important to set as a goal this year. Write down what’s triggering you to drink too, so you can avoid and eliminate those things from your life.
Be realistic about how to achieve recovery. If you have a serious drinking problem you are going to have setbacks along the way. That’s just the way it is, and it doesn’t mean you failed. It means you caved to temptation and can pick yourself back up and get back with the program. Recommit yourself to it, look at what occurred to lead to you slipping up, and how can you avoid that in the future?
If you’ve acknowledged you have a problem enough to make it a resolution then you’re already well into the first step toward recovery. It’s extraordinarily hard for most people to recognize or acknowledge that they have a drinking problem. If you’re following the page and read the challenge to stop drinking for the month and scoffed and said “I don’t need to do that, I’m okay, I’ll drink when I feel like it” then you may need to consider you’re more reliant on alcohol than you’re aware of.
Even if you truly are just a casual drinker, or just a social drinker, let’s take a look at all the reasons why you should consider quitting:
- Alcohol costs money. Especially if you’re drinking regularly or in social environments. All that money you would have drank away can be used for paying off debt, buying yourself something nice, or put into a savings account.
- Alcohol is a depressant. You’re going to be happier without it.
- Alcohol prevents vitamin absorption. When you’re not drinking your body will stop starving for nutrients and stop feeling so achy all of the time.
- Brain fog clears up as your brain starts to heal. Being able to think clearly and deeply is an enjoyable and admirable quality.
- Drinking dulls your senses. All of them. Sobriety makes things taste better, smell better, feel better, and clears your vision so you can see better. You’ll even have a better sense of what’s going on around you and how people are legitimately reacting to you. There’s a reason that people fight more when they’re drunk. Fewer misunderstanding make life a friendlier experience.
- Hangovers suck. If you’re leading a sober life you never have to face waking up with a hangover, or having to have another drink first thing when you wake up to feel functional. That’s no way to go through life. You can’t have energy and enjoy your life that way.
- If you have kids, they need you sober. They’re learning behavior from you, and they’re receiving emotional trauma from you.
- Love your liver. It deserves to come up for air and do its job for you. Your liver takes as little as two months to start repairing itself and you’re going to see improvements in your skin, your vision, your mood, and your general outlook. It’s better to get on top of things before you develop cirrhosis or fatty liver disease.
- Recovery will earn you admiration and respect, especially from those closest to you. You may have to have some hard conversations first if you’ve been hiding your problem, but it will all be worth it for the pride and the bond that will have developed through your journey to sobriety.
- You won’t have to hide anymore. The majority of heavy drinkers don’t want the people they care about to know how serious their problem is. If you’re not drinking anymore you can stop being dishonest, stop sneaking around, stop hiding alcohol or the evidence of its consumption, and stop feeling guilty about hiding things from people that you love who genuinely care about you.
- Your sex life is going to be dramatically better for both parties. Alcohol has certain effects on the body that just don’t lend themselves to love making. Beyond that, sobriety is going to make you more passionate and more energetic.
- You’ll miss less work. You won’t have to lie to your boss about why you’re not going to be in, you won’t have to skip work for hangovers, or for still being drunk. If your job is one of the stressors that makes you drink, sobriety will lend itself to how much time and energy you can spend looking for a new job and perform your best at the interview.
- You’re going to look better. Whether through your face clearing up or losing weight or just having an overall healthier glow to you and being able to be more active giving you more muscle tone and definition. Get used to the idea of people telling you how awesome you look. They might not ever know why, but they’ll know you look better than they’ve ever seen you.
- When you drink you probably do things you’d be ashamed of when you’re sober. When you’re more in control of your life and your mind you won’t be so ashamed of yourself.
- When your body has completed withdrawal, you’re going to feel better both mentally and physically.
- You get to be in control of your own life instead of letting a substance control it.
- You’ll be better prepared to handle your home and family responsibilities.
- You’ll feel more confident. Fighting and winning a big, important battle is a big boost to the self esteem. It’s a huge accomplishment and you’re right to feel a sense of satisfaction and self worth when you win it.
- You’ll have less anxiety.
- You’ll have more free time and energy to do more productive things and spend with the people you truly care about. You can be more present for your family, and perform better at work.
- Your job performance will improve.
- You’re going to develop healthier, more meaningful relationships sober.
Whatever motivates you and you want to get sober for, we’re here for you. Tell us about your journey and let us share it with you. We genuinely care and want to know. So, today’s big project for everyone is to either commit to being alcohol free through the start of February, to start researching your opportunities and resources for sobriety, or to set a date for when you will have had your last drink.
As for your daily list of tasks:
Exfoliate your facial and neck skin. Yesterday we focused on blackheads, today we want to get rid of dead skin and remaining impurities. Your facial skin is delicate. Store bought exfoliating scrubs can be great. Or they can be full of plastics, artificial fragrances, glycerin, parabens, phthalates, and scads of other undesirable ingredients. The one professional facial I ever had the woman who worked on my very breakout prone skin told me not to use an apricot scrub and that it would be too rough for my skin, but whatever scrub I did buy didn’t seem to be any gentler for me despite it’s great reviews. So we’re going to go with a natural ingredient homemade recipe that’s easy to make, doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, and can be stored for up to 3 months if you want to make extra ahead of time for future use. Today’s facial scrub recipe comes from homemadeforelle.com. Here is their 2 Ingredient Sugar Face Scrub.
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp sugar
“Combine coconut oil and sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub sugar face scrub into clean facial or neck skin, using gentle circular motions, for 60 seconds. Rinse dry with warm water.” They suggest if you make extras to store them in the refrigerator if you live in a hot climate because coconut oil has a low melting point. I say it’s best to just store it in the refrigerator regardless cause why take unneeded risks of anything going bad?
Clean Your Master Bedroom
If you’ve been following daily this is probably a routine description and hopefully a routine process by now. But start at the top and work your way down. Dust any light fixtures and wall art, shelves and knick knacks. Wipe off any fingerprints or smudges on the light switchplate. Get all your books put on shelves. If you eat or drink in bed get all your dishes into the dishwasher and out of the bedroom. Windex any mirrors or windows. Don’t forget to give your blinds a good dusting and your windowsill a good scrubbing while you’re at it. Straighten up and organize any desks. Polish any wood. Organize any dressers or bureaus. If you find clothes in them that can’t or won’t be worn anymore, donate them appropriately. Get any clutter taken care of, straightened out, and put away. Get any kicked off shoes into closets or on racks or wherever they belong. Clean out your bedroom closet if you haven’t already. Vacuum if you have carpet, sweep and mop if you have wood. Wash and change the linens on your bed. All done 🙂 One more clean and happy and comfortable room in your house!
Do some Core exercises. If you’ve joined a gym as suggested, see about using some of those machines and free-weights that are going to work your core. If not, I still recommend joining a gym, but if it’s not feasible, improvise around the house with whatever objects will make a safe but suitable weight for the exercises. Grab that trusty broom or mop handle again in place of a barbell and go through the motions to get some muscle toning in and increase your mobility. Today we want to do 10 Cable Crunches (If you’re unable to join a gym, don’t improvise this one, we don’t want you getting hurt, add an extra set of 10 crunches onto the 10 already listed), 10 Barbell Side Bends (1 on each side counts as 1), 10 Seated Barbell Twists (again, 1 on each side counts as 1), 10 Crunches, and 5 reverse crunches.
And lastly, today we’re gonna mix things up a little and try an allergy relief drink. Everybody’s allergic to something, and this time of year it can be hard to tell whether we’re suffering from allergies or a cold. If you’re allergic to dustmites like so many of us, all this cleaning we’ve been doing might have stirred things up in the process of getting rid of them. This recipe came from food.com and gets a five star average rating. They give it a prep time of 5 minutes and a cook time of 0. The recipe makes 1 serving.
1 tablespoon local honey
1 tablespoon raw organic apple cider vinegar
“Place honey and raw organic apple cider vinegar in a tall glass and fill it with warm water. Stir to dissolve honey” and drink it. Pammyowl, the recipe submitter, says she drinks it twice a day and can feel when it starts to wear off and knows to make another one. She recommends adding a squeeze of lemon for extra enjoyment, and notes never to give raw honey to a child under 12 months old.
That’s it for today 🙂 I will see you all later on Facebook for the Question of the Day!
A word about music: We include songs for a reason. Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much. Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason. If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
Album: Big Ones