I know that – in general – we’re all supposed to give ourselves grace during this pandemic. We’re not supposed to be too hard on ourselves if our eating habits are not that healthy or if we’re drinking a bit more than usual. We’re coping with trauma and we need to allow ourselves extra time binging dumb reality TV or playing mindless iPhone games if that’s what’s getting us through the void.
It reminds me of when I quit smoking. I didn’t quit with any medicinal help or nicotine replacement. I quit cold turkey. And the time it actually worked was when I gave myself 5 whole days of doing nothing but being miserable. I timed it for the week E was at his Dad’s over the Christmas break and I had extra days off work and I just sat around drinking Diet Coke and eating non-stop for 3 days. BUT THAT’S WHAT THE PAMPHLET TOLD ME TO DO. It said it takes 3 days to get over the hardest physical part so to only focus on survival during those three days. Not diet, not exercise, not well-being…JUST GET THROUGH THOSE 3 DAYS AT ALL COSTS.
And I did. That was 17 years ago.
So I was giving myself grace to just survive, especially while we were doing school on top of everything else. I wasn’t insisting on a good schedule for yard work or housework. The bathrooms got really gross before I cleaned them. My grass got WAY too high before I mowed it. Sometimes I ate ice cream for breakfast. I stopped reading or drawing or even reaching out to friends. For the last three months I’ve just been in survival mode. And I’ve been giving myself permission to do that with no criticism.
But school is over now. Life is still crazy but I think I need to start setting some standards back in my life again. While I believe “normal” is never coming back, I need to find a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle because I’m starting to see the negative side effects of giving myself too much freedom to just survive.
I’m going to start with alcohol. I’ve been drinking way more the last 3 months than I ever have before. No less than 2 beers a night. Most nights I’ve had 3. And then periodically…like maybe once every 2 weeks? I’ll have 4-6. So we’re looking at an average of probably 18 beers a week.
I see this graphic above which is the standard of “low-risk” drinking and I read that “per day” part (for women, 3-4 drinks per day) and I am like: YAY! I AM MORE 2-3 DRINKS PER DAY SO I AM GOLDEN!
But then I read that second part…”less than 7 drinks per week.” And I’m like…OOPS.
If you drink more than this you become “high risk” for a lot of different things but the thing I’m the most worried about is alcoholism because that is what runs in my family in very destructive ways. And it’s not like I was even consistently in the “low risk” zone before the pandemic, if I’m being honest. I’ve been a 1-beer/night drinker for a LONG LONG time now. And then I usually pick one or two nights on the weekend to drink more. So I was kinda pushing this limit even pre-pandemic.
And since my anxiety and depression have magnified during the pandemic, the mental health side effects from drinking too much are more severe. I’ve been noticing my downward spirals once I start drinking at night and lately? Those lows have gotten really really really low.
Last night was bad. Let me just say that. And while I’m not going to blame these episodes entirely on alcohol (I mean…because we’re still dealing with pandemic issues too…) I can say after last night that the alcohol is definitely now adding a risk factor I don’t need.
So…three months in and it’s time to address this issue.
Here’s the problem though, It’s been so long since I’ve moderated my drinking that I’m not sure I can. And that’s what stresses me out the most because…like I said…alcoholism.
I’m going to see if I can go without it at all for the next 7 days. I think I need to do an alcohol detox because it’s been so long since I’ve not used beer as the way I end my day, I’m not sure I remember how to do it any other way. So – I’m going to focus these 7 days on trying to build new routines and see how easy it is.
The thing I’m worried about is that it might be really really difficult. And if that’s the case, if I can’t even cut back for a week, then I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
One day at a time.