Today is December 8th. This date has never had any real significance for me other than it’s the birthday of my dear friend Bill.
But on this day in the story of my life, I have achieved a milestone that I am so proud of. I’ve gone a whole 300 days of living booze free. Not one drop. And I haven’t just not drank–I kicked into a mode of self-discovery with a burning intensity. Ten-times-thirty days of plowing through decades of self-sabotaging, limiting beliefs and behaviors. Figuring out why I do what I do–the good, the bad and the ugly.
Sixty five more days to go toward my challenge goal of going alcohol free for an entire year. Today I am reflective. I am grateful.
I. Am. Free.
Who knew that just this one change in my life–done with consistency and longevity– would be the gateway for healing, growing and thriving in ways that I didn’t think were possible.
Last year at this time, I was a “pretender.” I pretended to be successful and happy and confident and rolling in the money. The reality was that I was double-dog miserable. My once-thriving marketing practice was downward spiraling at lightning speed. Both my business and personal bank accounts were drying up. I had no meaningful work, a lot of bad relationships and the stress of it all created an internal pressure cooker.
So to escape the awful intensities facing me, I drank wine and lots of it. I drank with my girlfriends, but never told them what I was going through. I drank at home alone. I drank at business networking events. I was That Girl (and I don’t mean in a Marlo Thomas kind of way). It wasn’t abnormal for me to wake up two or three days a week with a hangover. And there is nothing–and I mean nothing–worse than a wretched hangover, particularly when I had to drag my arse out of bed to participate in a high-performing pitch meeting or task.
Very far. I have come so far in the past 300 days. A year ago, I knew a bigger, better life was out there for me but I just didn’t know how to move myself toward it.
You see, a constant voice had been rattling in my head for a number of years, “Stop drinking Kathleen and everything will change.” But I couldn’t seem to stop or cut down. I’d head off to the cocktail lounge in my building pinky-swearing to myself that I would only have one Sauvignon Blanc. Okay, two max. But then I would invariably look at the bartender and the words, “I’ll have another,” would somehow come out of my mouth. And once I had that third glass, it was all downhill from there.
In my quest to curb the booze I tried everything under the sun. I read about a movement called Moderation Management in O Magazine and I tried that. It didn’t work. I took a two-hour flying trapeze lesson to scare the drink desire out of me. That didn’t work. I hired a Shaman in the remote mountains of Minnesota to whisper some Sanskrit words to me over the telephone. That didn’t work (seriously, I was so desperate I hired a tele-shaman!). I went to confession at the local Cathedral and told the priest that I must be possessed by the devil because I couldn’t stop drinking. He laughed and told me I was okay. That kind of worked because shortly thereafter I was on LinkedIn and saw this article written by a fella named Andy Ramage. Andy spelled out a new underground trend of high-performing business people going alcohol free to further improve their results–much in the way elite athletes do. The article went on to discuss how Andy and his business partner, Ruari Fairbairns, run 28, 90 and 365-day, booze-free challenges via their movement called One Year No Beer. And. That. Worked. Like a charm.
More money. Better sleep. Chronic backpain–gone! Better relationships. Happier. Healthier. Even more money. Physically fitter. Laser-sharp thinking. Financial astuteness. Better decision making. Dissipated anger. Incredible new friends who are also taking a break from booze. Exciting travel. Meaningful, soul-stirring work. Years-long night sweats, gone. All of this has occurred in a mere 300 days.
This morning I woke up feeling so cheery that I decided to dig out my little tinsel Christmas tree and decorate my apartment. I then turned on one of my favorite contemporary Christmas songs, 2000 Miles by the Pretenders.
Yes, I have many miles to go in my quest to live the life of my dreams. Yet, in many ways I’m living it now. And as such, I know like I know like I know that my best days are ahead of me. Alas, a good life is about the journey. Not the destination.
So for now, I’m going to listen to 2000 Miles again and spark some Christmas spirit. Click here if you want to join me.
Cheers, hugs and love,