Goal #4 is better than 95%…

funny. re-reading notes from january made while reading a self-help book. i made a list of personal development goals:

  1. Thin and lean, strong, bathing suit body
  2. Long hair, well groomed, nails, eyebrows
  3. Ridiculously well read, 52+ books/year
  4. Alcohol free (to 95%),with toasts and treats but no regular consumption
  5. Even mood, good sleep
  6. Clean, tidy, organized, prepared in advance
  7. Run more consistently
  8. Be more patient, willing to go slowly and do the work as well as dream outrageously

I’m always fascinated when i reread my journals. What strikes me about this list is that now that we’re nearing the last 3 months of the year, i can say that other than reading a ton, i do have the rest of it pretty much under control. Oh, well i don’t have #1. But goal #4 is better than 95%. Goal 6 is happening. Number 7 is true. and number 8 is definitely improved.

What i didn’t realize in writing this list back in january, was that the keystone habit that i needed to incorporate — the one thing that i could change that would make everything else easier — was being 100% sober. Had no idea how much easier it would be to achieve everything else i wanted in my life. Also had no idea quite how hard it is would be to quit. Could never, ever have done it alone. Blogging and this community is what made it possible for me.

While I do still toy with the idea of 95% sobriety, with treats and toasts, for the most part i’m too freaked out to lose the other things i’ve gained, and so for now, since i have something that’s working, i don’t want to fuck with it.

It’d be like if you gave up wheat and refined sugar (my next goal?), and you lost 20 pounds (is that me?), and then someone says “don’t you miss cake?” and you say “sure i miss cake, but i like this better.” I feel that way about wine now. maybe i’ll feel like that about cake some day. maybe after 30 days of anything that is life-improving, you’re more likely to say “i like this much better than that old thing.”

The hard part is starting and getting some momentum in your little car.

and now that i’m nearly at 90 days, i’m certainly not the slightest bit interested in starting to count days again from day #1.  and fuck yeah, sure, i’d love some wine. and yes, I’d like a glass of champagne now and then.  But for now, i am continuing to decide that the other gains i have are worth it.  Much more worth it than a glass of wine.


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Bang on. I can’t believe I didn’t see how drinking was holding me back from doing what I really wanted to feel/be. So many years of drinking and trying to achieve at life – I only achieved weight gain, depression, isolation, and lethargy/exhaustion.
    100% sober = better, way way way better in every way. Day 50

  • I have been telling myself for years that all the positive plans I have for my life will never fully happen until alcohol is removed. Professionally and personally I would be going through the motions but what I really wanted to achieve would be out of reach. Thank you for this reminder that booze brings about the negative and the pay off for drinking doesn’t exist. A perceived celebration or real celebration doesn’t have to include alcohol. It’s the experience or the feelings that we need to be present for.

    • and once the booze is gone for awhile, we really connect with people better – enjoy our celebrations more – and can remember what happened and what we said and did!

  • HI Belle – yes its the giving up alcohol that allows everything else good to happen. I relate to that. For me it was some emotional stuff i could not deal with. No alcohol and that has just disappeared. This alcohol pretty much influences every other area of our lives – negatively. You can be so proud of what you have achieved. So for ten minutes now and again during a celebration you feel deprived? Not such a bad trade-off really is it?

    • you know, i don’t feel deprived when everyone else has wine and i don’t … i feel the desire to drink when i’m at home and i perceive there’s something to celebrate… of course, i know that my ‘wolf’ is always dreaming up *reasons* to celebrate, that are quite lame some times… oh look it’s sunday. celebrate. oh look you’re busy. celebrate. these days, i’m celebrating with green tea… and for the most part it works just fine.

  • Hi Belle, another great post! As I have just reached my 30 day goal (today is 31) and am contemplating ‘moderation’ (which every other blogger seems to contemplate too) your post has hit home and reminded me of How good things are now. I definitely don’t want to start again. I finally have an organized sock drawer (thanks karymayhickey for articulating that). So so many benefits! I Still have to put my ‘alcohol voice’ back in it’s box regularly, which can be challenging, but you are right – all the gains are worth much more than a glass of wine!

  • That’s an excellent post! The gains definitely out weigh the (perceived) losses. Better health, better mind, clearer conscience. Ironically, I had to give my boss a wake up, you are late call today. And after a day of meetings guess who merely felt tired and who felt like shit warmed up in need of a drink? ha, it wasn’t me who needed a drink. TC, Paul.

  • Coming from the girl who spent yesterday afternoon organizing her bra and panty and sock drawer, I totally relate. That’s just one more thing I’ve discovered about myself since I sobered up, I actually prefer organization to chaos. Who’d a thunk it?

    Belle, I still mourn all those toasts, all those perfect glasses of wine going down with a perfect sunset, a perfectly matched wine with a perfect meal, all those Polaroid postcard perfect moments, but that was never my reality. For me, it was all an illusion, like looking with my nose pressed up against the window at something I could never have, I need to remember that.

    More importantly, I need to keep reminding myself of all of the perfect postcard moments that that are mine now.

    Great insight, as always.