My Year Off Alcohol (almost)


Why I decided to take a year off alcohol.

And why I decided to end my fast before the year was over.

It was after Paris & Florence. The wine was cheap and delicious. And we were enjoying it freely. But, it was becoming more of a regular part of my life than I wanted. It was becoming the thing I would look forward to after lunch. It was becoming something I used in order to avoid negative emotions. And, that last thing is what I really wanted to change.

I grew up with parents who were teetotalers. I thought my friend’s parents who drank were really bad Christians and probably not trustworthy. My parents didn’t make a big deal about it, but it was clear that drinking was bad.

My mom only ever bought beer once. She had heard it could make her hair thicker (oh, the hair never being BIG enough). When she was in line to buy it, the Preacher’s wife came up to say hi. Horror! It cured my mom of ever wanting to buy beer again.

So, although I had some drunken escapades in high school and early college, alcohol was never a big part of my life. And, you know what, life was good. I didn’t ever even think about alcohol being an “answer” or solution to anything.

Alcoholism is on both sides of mine & Caleb’s families (grandpas). So, we feel sensitive to the consequences. But, we enjoy a good IPA every now and again.

The thing is, the now and again had become NOW and AGAIN. It had become normal. Desired. Regular. year off. Florence was incredible. But, I knew I needed to take an alcohol break once home. I had the thought to take a month off. Then I just said aloud, “I’m going to take a break from alcohol for the whole year!” My kids didn’t care. Caleb was surprised and supportive.

The first couple weeks were kinda hard. It had become my evening escape...THE way to make everything a bit nicer and more enjoyable. It was interesting how much it had turned into that for me. Taking a break helped me see that more clearly.

The absence definitely made a few parties LESS fun.

But, overall, it just became my new norm. Was life SO MUCH BETTER?! No. But, I did like the feeling of control I had. I stopped the habit. Which was the goal. Also, I think it helped me take off a couple pounds; which was not the goal, but kinda nice.

2 weeks ago I decided to end my alcohol fast early. I had considered it so many times before. But (sometimes with Caleb’s help) had stuck with my decision.  And I was glad! But, Caleb and I were going to have 5 days away together; just the 2 of us. And it had been 8 months since my last drink. It seemed like a good time to break the fast.

I had 3 reasons:

  1. I accomplished the REASON I wanted to take a long get totally out of the habit and to find other ways to deal with hard evenings.

  2. The 1 year time frame was arbitrary and spontaneous. It didn’t have to be a rule that I was bound by.

  3. 5 days alone with your husband. A glass of wine, please?!

So, there it is. My (almost) year off alcohol. I’m glad I did it. I’m glad it’s over. And, I look forward to the lessons that hard evenings without alcohol will continue to teach me. But, you might see me with a cold glass of Stone IPA from time to time.

Kate HagenComment