It’s been a few weeks now and I realized that I never recapped the final results of my 90-day booze hiatus. I think it’s probably better to have waited though, having gleaned a few more insights since starting to drink again.
So as I wrote about it in the 30-day and 60-day posts, 90-days wasn’t all that different. I loved it. There were times where I would have liked a glass of wine or a crisp, cold IPA but, the majority of the time it was a non-issue.
The Standout Takeaways
This was the strongest improvement. While traveling last fall I slipped into a phase of insomnia that was really, deeply affecting my day to day life. This experiment fixed it. I notice now that I’m drinking again that the days I drink, I don’t sleep well. They days that I don’t drink, I sleep like a baby. And the day I had two margaritas with my college roommates, I had terrifying nightmares.
Takeaway: I do not have insomnia, I just don’t sleep well when I drink, and tequila makes my brain weird. Earth-shattering insight, I know.
Social Anxiety & My Family
Apparently I have social anxiety but, apparently so do a lot of other people, and we pretty much all use alcohol to anesthetize it. Take the bridal shower I just went to. I was a little nervous because they’re always kind of uncomfortable (why do we do this to ourselves?) and I didn’t know too many people attending. And then two of the bridesmaids, who I would have thought would be totally at ease in the company said “Yeah no, we split a pitcher of margaritas before we came here.” The shower was at noon on a Sunday.
The insight that was really eye-opening for me though regarding social anxiety, was the day I threw a surprise 90th birthday party for my grandma.
I was nervous all day. And when I’m nervous I tend to think there’s ‘something wrong with my blood sugar’. My sister in law lovingly and acutely pointed out that there was nothing wrong with me, I was just anxious. “Shut up, Lizzy. No I’m not”, I said, because I’m a conscious, mature person who meditates and is self-aware.
But later that day as the party began, I realized that I was almost twitching for a glass of wine. And as each of my extended family members arrived, my anxiety built up and overflowed into the physical symptom of shaking. I was physically shaking. I had to put on a coat. When I told Joel this he said “Whatever, shake. I’m not gonna let your family-induced anxiety allow you to break your promise to yourself. You’ll be so bummed.”
I was genuinely surprised at how anxious I was to be around my entire extended family. I realize this is not a new or rare thing for humans. It’s the precise reason so many people get shat-faced from the third Thursday in November straight through till New Years day. I just honestly never realized I was one of those people. I just thought I liked to party, ya know? But when I had to head to the ladies room a few times just to breathe – I realized that I am one of those people. Sorry, family. Love you. Just apparently need alcohol to deal with 35 of you in one room during an election year – if I don’t want to physically shake all afternoon that is.
I lost nine pounds and I pretty much ate ice cream every night so….
Mental Clarity & Mood
This is the kicker now that I’m drinking again. The past couple of weekends that I drank, my Mondays were totally screwed for creativity and productivity, which stinks. I always knew this, but since I used to hate my job I didn’t care. And now that I love my job, and have to be creative and productive because it’s just me and Bridget over here, it bothers me.
But then again, Saturday night was super fun and we all had a great time so is it worth it? I’m not sure.
Relationship with Alcohol
The best part of this little experiment was shifting my relationship with alcohol. Before this experiment it was sort of a love/hate. Now, it’s more indifferent, which feels good. And like in any relationship, when you hit a stage of indifference, you know you’re over it.
Other People’s Relationships with Alcohol
One key eye observation I’d like to share is that you can tell who has a conflicted relationship with alcohol themselves when you tell people you’re not drinking. Those who don’t, literally couldn’t give a shit. But those who do…. well, you’ll see if you give it a try yourself.
All in all, I’d recommend a 90-day booze hiatus to anyone who drinks. It was wonderful.
What do you think? Ever thought of quitting the sauce? Have you ever done a nice long stretch? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. And if you liked this post, share it with your friends on Facebook.
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Also published on Medium.