My struggles with alcohol can be read in these blogs:
This Wild Woman’s Newest Alcohol Chapter Begins….
With living alone up in a low mountain for the winter, two cases of wine sitting there on the extra bedroom floor, and not having to be accountable to anyone…
Soon, I was drinking almost a bottle of wine a night. Nothing unusual about that, right. This amount of drinking is a socially accepted norm…
I was responsible, organized, receiving regular energy work treatments, exercising, running, eating healthy. But the first thing I did after work was pour myself a glass of wine while I settled in for the evening. Soon the bottle was almost gone… time for bed. Not much of an evening really; drink wine, prepare supper, eat supper, pack a lunch for the next day, wash dishes, take care of pets…and go to bed…
Weekends were for day drinking! Saturday was my free day. Sunday was running my long run in the morning, saving my wine for the afternoon! I “controlled” my drinking – keeping it to a bottle a day! What was the harm in that?!!!
My body soon started to rebel against wine. My belly was bloated, so was my face. I started getting heartburn. I was exercising but not losing any weight. I was always tired, dragged out. Even with a rigid exercise schedule, great sleep hygiene and eating healthy – I was tired.
With my husband in British Columbia, preparing the house to be put on the market in the spring, I was left to face myself and my unhealthy drinking habits. The wild woman side of me rejoiced that my husband wasn’t around to “guilt” me into not drinking, or “make me” feel bad because I enjoy drinking wine, yes….every day.
With my history of alcohol addiction, I was acutely aware of how much I was drinking, how much I didn’t like it and how hard it was for me to stop. As I drove home from work, I would tell myself that tonight – I would not drink wine. First thing I would do when I walked into the cabin, was pour myself a glass.
I had to reach a point on my own where I became sick of drinking.
I’d seen the ads for OYNB – One Year No Beer on Facebook and ignored them, figuring it was some sort of gimmick. Then, one evening my husband Michael messaged me a OYNB link. I opened it. I read it. I was ready. I liked everything about taking the challenge to be alcohol free – AF.
OYNB was about changing habits and getting your life back. Becoming the best version of yourself. The vocabulary was completely different from Alcoholics Anonymous. OYNB did not say I have a disease, or I can’t be “cured.” I did not have to shamingly admit or surrender to Once an Alcoholic always an Alcoholic or labeling myself as one.
OYNB are life coaches helping people create new habits by becoming aware of the habit loop. Identifying triggers (going to the pub), changing the response (drinking) to get the same reward (social interactions). The focus is on what I want, not what I don’t want. Where my attention goes, my energy goes. Finding my authentic self. Envision how I want my life to be and start living it. The importance of exercise and a healthy, alcohol free body. The importance of making connections. Craving busters. Mindfulness. I can unwind without a drink. I can socialize without a drink.
I bought the 28 Day Challenge because I did not like the idea of going a year without wine, or 3 months at that. I bought the 28 Day Challenge in hopes that I would learn to drink in moderation. That I would learn to have control over alcohol instead of alcohol having control over me.
The Best Version of Myself – My Best Self!
As my self-confidence increased each day as a result of being AF with OYNB, another magical transformation started to happen as I continued my exercise routine of running 6km each morning, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and regular energy work treatments. An extraordinary new feeling started to blossom deep within myself.
Tricky to describe. I’ve been working on myself for years – each layer I peel back feels like I’ve discovered a new me – each layer I remove brings me deeper, closer to my authentic self. This layer I was peeling back, with the incredibly positive support of OYNB, was future focused steered by daily healthy choices to evolve into my best self.
The extraordinary feeling I was experiencing was the feeling of the future me I envisioned for myself, starting to take place in the now. A woman whose daily life evolved around exercise, healthy diet, energy healing, creative expression, and a deep, loving connection with her husband. A woman who felt at home in her body and enjoyed taking care of it. A woman who could see her own self-worth. A woman who was finding and understanding her place in the world. A woman freed from the chains of addiction.
This scared me.
What About the Wild Woman in Me?
What about the wild woman part of me, who loves to party, and enjoys the hedonistic pleasures life has to offer? The wild woman part of me who would be drinking copious amounts of wine while partying and enjoying life’s hedonistic pleasures…
However, now the reward of a hedonistic lifestyle was beginning to lose its appeal, as drinking was the gateway to my hedonistic choices.
So, now what? Become boring? Settle? Become a monk?
Where does my wild woman fit along the spiritual path?
Redefining My Wild Woman
I don’t have an answer for this, yet.
Is the wild woman in me now tamed?
How do I now channel or have an outlet for my wild side, that is alcohol free?
Recently, at a woman’s overnight retreat, I met other wild women like myself walking the spiritual path, and wondering how to do so when alcohol creates such a problem in their life.
I know exercise, and the intensity of cardio like running and training for a half marathon is one outlet for my wild woman – as she craves intensity and extremes.
That said, the volume of her voice, her call to be wild has recently decreased while I’m AF. It’s as if she’s asleep, but not a sleeping tiger who will pounce if woken.
Is she tamed?
Or maybe she is the tiger, tamed, with a twinkle in her eye and the knowing of wild days gone by..
Perhaps…but there are more adventures to be had.
But this time with a desire to be alcohol free.
Is she still wild without alcohol? That is the question…
What does a wild woman who is alcohol free look like?
Staying Alcohol Free Beyond 28 Days
I’m not ready to drink yet. It still scares me. I’m enjoying how great I feel being AF and the positive effects on my marriage. I still have the occasional cravings, mostly with no desire to put alcohol in my body but a desire for its numbing/relaxing effects when stress gets to an intolerable level.
I met CarolAnn, from the East Coast of USA, within the worldwide OYNB tribe. I met her within the first 5 minutes of introducing myself on Slack – OYNB’s instant messaging platform and we instantly became AF besties!
CarolAnn started OYNB 3 days before me. We’re holding hands (virtual hands with social distancing!! LOL!! Not that these days of the COVID-19 virus are funny – just trying to find some humor during these crazy times) and so proud of ourselves as we remain AF during this COVID-19 pandemic. Crazy times these are with highly unusual happenings that are becoming the norm.
OYNB teaches me how to replace alcohol as a way to deal with stress with activities that make me feel better. Because I deserve a better life rather than the anxiety cycle of using alcohol to destress that actually creates more stress.
Drinking alcohol is an easy way to cope with stress. The healthier choices to deal with stress, like mindfulness, exercise, taking a hot bath, and cooking a healthy meal take more work (well maybe not the hot bath!) – but isn’t it true that hard work is where we reap rewards?
I’m not sure how to conclude this blog for two reasons
- First, I’m continuing an AF lifestyle. I’m revisiting the OYNB 28 Day individual Day Courses to deepen my motivation and review/strengthen the life skills taught to remain AF. I purchased the 28 Day Challenge, and I will always have it. It does not expire after the 28 days. OYNB has a 90 Day Challenge and a 365 Day Challenge. For me, right now I enjoy my path of revisiting the 28 Day Challenge to deepen/strengthen the foundation skills of staying AF.
- Second, my wild woman….what to do with her? Maybe she will transform into Wonder Woman? Sounds a bit too pure for me. I like a little bit of the bad girl, a rebel….
How about a Wild Wonder Woman Walking the Spiritual Path…. hmmmmm…… perhaps……
About me: Stephanie Wells
I’m a Reiki Master Teacher of Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing. I was attuned in Levels I, II & IIIA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. During a 6 week stay in Mararikulam North, Kerala, India I was reattuned in Levels I, II, & IIIA as well as acquiring my Level IIIB Master Teacher attunement.