Sunday, March 4, 2018

27 Days

January 2018 was a hard month. I lost my best friend in the entire world.  An orange fur ball named Dobbie passed away at age 15 and he was the best friend I have ever known. Leading up to that, well, 2017 was a hard year... like the worst year. We lost a family member and friend who was dear to us right at the beginning of the 2017 and things just got worse from then on. I won't bore you with the negative details and I will say that splashed in between all the dark blues and grays, there was light and color. Life is always an array of all kinds of ups and downs. We had some fun times and made lots of good memories too. 

When Dobbie got sick around October 2017, I just thought we would be able to make him better. Countless trips to the vet's office and about $3,000+ later, we had to come to terms with the fact that 15 years for a cat is just the lifespan we get and what a beautiful gift at that. 15 years with this beautiful, kind, loving, ego-less, heart filling little guy. What a blessing. The biggest blessing was that he gave us the gift of choosing to go. We didn't have to take him in and "pull the plug." He died in  between Paul and I, on his own terms, and to watch him take his last breath was both excruciating, but at the same time such a beautiful last gift from our pal Dobbie. That whole experience has shaped me and really impacted everything in my life. It was amazingly bittersweet! 

With all its beauty, it didn't make it any less painful. To not have him here every day to talk to, cuddle with and just see him. That was so very hard!  He was our home. We hadn't taken that for granted all these years, but once he wasn't present, we realized how much he filled any house we had and made it a home. The week following his passing was a depth of despair for both Paul and I. (I'm so grateful and lucky to have fallen in love with a sensitive guy - sorry Paul LOL - the cat's out of the bag...) Paul had loved Dobbie for 10 years out of those 15 years of Dobbie's life and so we went through it all together and it brought us closer. 

What I did differently in my grief was drink. I had been drinking wine here and there all of 2017 - like a glass or two a night and some nights not any, but on average I was drinking most nights. The week that Dobbie left us, I drank a bottle of wine every night of that week. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday... I felt so gross, but I was trying to numb the pain. What was my saving grace is that I was self aware. I saw the pattern quickly change to over consumption and almost immediately (within one week) I realized I needed a change. 

For 27 days I didn't drink a stitch of alcohol. I drank mock-tails if I went out to dinner and I made my own mock-tails at home. Usually, ginger beer, grapefruit juice mixed with mint tea and my brain loved the taste and didn't need the wine anymore. At first it was hard, but as I completely cleansed my body of that substance, I actually became more relaxed (which I thought only a glass of wine could do that), less anxiety ridden and my skin and outlook began to clear up. After about day 8, I was good and I didn't even think about it. 

I thought that the normal outings or trips would be ruined or less fun because I wasn't drinking alcohol, but it couldn't have been farther from the truth. We went to San Diego for my Grandpa's funeral and we made a weekend out of it and did lots of touristy things and I didn't order a single drink. I didn't need it to have fun. We went out to Mexican Food and usually the biggest draw for me is to have a margarita and so I was a little apprehensive, but I ordered a virgin margarita and it was just as enjoyable. 

I realized that I can have, and am fun regardless. I don't need to drink to have fun, relax or let loose. I enjoyed my 3 day trip without any outside influences needed. Sounds sad when I type this, but that was a huge revelation for me. I have very low self esteem and when I drink, I gain more confidence and you know the expression "liquid courage," I have a ton of that after a glass or two. Great thing is that I no longer need that. 

So, 27 days passed where I didn't drink a stitch of alcohol and to celebrate, we decided to go wine tasting. May sound like such a waste after all that effort not to drink and such...  Truth is I had wine club shipments I had put off during these last 27 days. Going to pick up the wine would have been hard because the temptation to taste would have been too great. So I needed to pick up my wine before they charged me to ship the wine to me. 

We went to Venteux and Tooth & Nail wineries. It was such a fun day, three generations of women laughing, talking, sipping and meeting wonderful people and just enjoying life. Very reminiscent to my San Diego weekend - all the same feelings. We went out to eat and pigged out on Cool Hand Luke's steak, onion rings and mashers. Delish! We went home and I slept like a baby.... 
Cut to the morning... 
...pounding headache, my mouth felt dry, stomach was queasy. It was a tough Sunday morning and I hated feeling like that again. It took awhile to get out of bed, the room was too bright, the noises too loud. I had a mild hangover. I realized in that moment, it's not worth it. 

The term "Everything in Moderation" is something that came screaming to the forefront of my brain. I shouldn't have drank so much at one time. It's not that I never want to have a glass of wine ever again, but I never want to get to a place of a bottle a night or a whole day of drinking that makes me feel sick the next morning.

Those 27 days taught me that when I don't drink daily, I eat less, walk more and feel more relaxed and content in life. When I focus on the moments and not the spirits, life is better too. I used to be SO FOCUSED on coming home from work to my glass of wine. NO MORE. I will not drink unless there is an occasion to. Vacant daily drinking is just covering up pains that need to be felt and dealt with. 

I am grateful for 27 days of healing from the loss of my dearest friend, healing up old wounds, being myself and becoming boundless... NO LONGER TIED TO ANYTHING. I will never let anything overtake my senses or create dependencies again. I'm in control... now... with an entire wine rack of wine to drink... The IRONY... Teehee! 

Here's to the occasions that require a toast! 
What a pretty display to look at in the meantime! 

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