Friday, March 15, 2013

Sans Vino: Moderation Extreme Challenge

About 4 weeks ago I woke up on the floor of my apartment with all the lights on.  Shoes littered along with my bra in the path I navigated the night before from my doorway to my bedroom.  My phone denoted calls that I had little recollection of.  

This is never a good way to begin your day.

I crawled to my bathroom, and promptly vomited.  Did I mention it was a Monday morning?  I had gotten shit ripped on a Sunday evening…with my parents who were in town visiting.  Somewhere on the other side of Austin my Mother was making her own pilgrimage to the bathroom.  I had had a fabulous time with Mama and Papa Gray the night before, such a good time that we had all giggled when I was tossed into the back of the truck they were driving and I tried to guide them the wrong way down one way streets to get me home.  

As I sat in my cubicle at work an hour or so later feeling like garbage, I winced at the light and the annoying chipperness of my colleague I share a cubicle wall with, I cringed at the memory of my mother telling hilarious sex jokes, I felt nothing but embarrassed every time I glanced at my call log.  And dear god the text messages.  But mostly I felt squeamish by the idea of losing control.  On a Sunday.  On a school-errr-work night.  

I spent my lunch eating out in my car reading the latest Jillian Michaels book, alone with the silence trying to will my head to a non-pounding state.  Jillian went into great detail about why drinking to excess was bad for you. In my sorry state I was willing and eager apostle for her gospel, and decided then and there to go cold turkey on alcohol for 30 days.  No beer, no cocktails, and no wine.  Not even after a stressful workday, not even out with all my boozy friends.  For the first time since I was 19 I was going to abstain.  

Out the gate I was nervous, I have friends that can't go two days sans wine without getting the shakes.  But I was fine, didn't miss it at all.  I was sleeping better, getting in significantly better work outs and even waking up easily in the morning.  On Sunday mornings I would bounce out of bed by 9 in a blaze of productivity in time usually reserved for my moderate hangovers.   Do you know what its like to have gotten in a 2 hour work out, have cleaned your apartment, and done all your grocery shopping before 1 PM on a Sunday?  Neither did I before this little endeavor of mine,  let me assure you, It was awesome.  

Also, do you know what happens when you cut out drinking?  Say adios to your pouch.  In all my 27 years I have always stored anything excess in my body in my boobs and in my tummy…well…all of the excess in my stomach disappeared!  I have muscles that I can see, and they are cute ones!  I did a victory dance in my shower whenI noted the change.  

After 20 days I was ready to commit to a life without booze forever, I was on a high.

But then, I had a really shitty day at work.  Really shitty, like panic attack-tear inducing shitty day at work.  At home my wine winked at me from the bottom level of my fridge.  "Drink me!!!"  Unwind!!  Relaxing reds!  Kill the memories of today!"  I went to yoga instead.  It did not produce a satisfying buzz.  And I spent most of the class glaring at my mat, mentally at the office thinking about how badly I wanted wine.  

I went to a friend's birthday dinner and was that awkward one who wasn't drinking.  It was weird when people kept asking me why I wasn't drinking.  One colleague even asked me if I was abstaining because I was pregnant, which as he put it, "would explain me not drinking and being so moody at work."  I had no idea it was going to be such a thing.  

Out another night I faced questioning about whether or not I was on some weird medication, there could be no other reason for me to me alcoholless.

I went out with other friends, and once again I was heckled by all sides for not drinking.  Which was annoying, and so are drunk people when you are sober.  

I had never pictured not drinking alcohol to drive a social stigma, but it does.  Particularly when you are young, single, with a reputation for being fun.  I felt like a Debbie Downer-which was weird because I was all but levitating when I wasn't in social settings-my energy was through the roof, my skin was clear, and need I remind you, I had abs to keep me company.  

My 30 days are up today and I'm trying to figure out how to be moderate about alcohol now that my extreme is off the table.  Truth be told, I'm glad I did it, but I feel oddly lonely as I complete the journey.  The not drinking thing made me so uncomfortable around my friends I spent a lot of nights in.  On the flip side, I love how I feel after a cleanse from it.  

I'm am sure I will go back to having a glass or two of wine, and it will be nice to not to feel like a pariah when I'm out with friends-but its nice to feel like my body is powering on all cylinders. I just need to add some moderation to my plan to get the best of both worlds.  

Fare thee well abs, it was fun while it lasted.  


  1. People are so strange when another person makes a positive life the way, good for you girl!...

    I think the reason that people get this way is because deep down inside, they feel bad about their own lack of willpower/ desire/ motivation to quit something (or limit) that they know is not good in excess. Also, people DO NOT, unless they are your best friend (and even sometimes then) DO NOT want to see other people succeed. It makes them feel bad about themselves...which is completely asshole, but hey, I just write what I know :)

    I too enjoy my wine and spirits, but cutting down has helped me out a, I'm too old these days to wake up hungover haha! Turns out that the older you get, the longer hangovers last. In my case, two full days.

    Gross right?

  2. I've been a teetollaer all my life (with the exception of an occasional trial sip from my friends' glasses or the odd cocktail on an evening out) and I find that, while people tend to ask a lot of questions in the beginning, they get used to it after a while. (Also, if you learn to relax around drunk people you'll find that they're not so annoying. I actually really enjoy having conversations with my drunk friends because you can talk about the most outrageous things.)

    However, while I have no need to start drinking alcohol, I'm opening up a little to it. My new favourite is cooking with wine (I know, I know, all the alcohol evaporates, but the unique taste of wine remains!) and I've even had a couple of sips of wine with dinner on a couple occasions.

    I find it interesting that we're both going in opposite directions. :o) In any case, if you want to cut alcohol from your daily life, Jenna, do it and let no one stop you! And who knows? You may convert a few of your friends... and then you'll all have picnics together on Sunday mornings in the park. :o)

  3. What thoughtful comments today!

    Kato-I agree with you, it is shocking how little people actually celebrate the successes of others.

    Julie- I agree with you on needing to relax around drunk people. I was definitely on the defensive which made me enjoy it less.

  4. Moderation is the key and something I've been struggling with lately too. It's hard to find that line. If you figure it out, please let me know. Good luck! :)

  5. I did this in January and felt so good. I also found it quite easy, minus a few times where all my friends were sloshed and I went home early. Like you, I have the reputation of being the "fun one." I went a little crazy the last three weekends, so a friend and I have decided to limit ourselves to one day a week of drinking. Here's to moderation!