One of the things I’m changing this time round on my 100 day challenge is taking treats seriously. Before, when I’ve given up wine I’ve also tried to diet whilst marathon training and doing a stressful job. Well, I’ve decided that this time, if I’m serious about being sober, I’ll also be serious about treats.
The old AA rule “Don’t get too Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired” I’m really taking on board. Hunger is a big one for me. Ironically, one of the reasons I started drinking in the first place was when I was seriously struggling with food. When eating in company it helped me relax enough to actually eat food and look vaguely normal, and when alone, it suppressed my appetite (for a while at least). I was so thin then, and weigh so much more now, almost entirely due to alcohol. When I read back to my very early blog entries here, this giving up alcohol idea was all about losing weight. I knew drinking had other negative consequences in my life, but didn’t really focus on those, I just wanted to be skinny again. Very very skinny.
Now, the weight issue is entirely secondary. I’m actually the healthiest weight I’ve been in years, despite it being all due to excess wine. This doesn’t matter. The most important thing in my life right now is my sobriety and nourishing my body.
So rather than restricting food, I’ve given myself license to eat whatever I want. So that when my personal witching hours of between 4 & 8pm come, I can eat a chocolate bar, grab an espresso or a more substantial snack. I’ve stopped meticulously meal planning and allowing myself to choose what I want to eat in the hour before every meal. It’s a luxury of not having a family to cook for and living in a city where any type of cuisine is immediately available at almost any time of day or night, and I think it’s an important part of my first few weeks of getting sober.
Despite being worried I’d eat everything in sight the reality is I’m still eating a very healthy diet, but that I’ve had coffee in the afternoon to give me a lift and chocolate after dinner to feel comforted and like I’m not depriving myself. I should mention that I didn’t used to eat dinner when I was drinking. There’s no point in soaking up that alcohol with food until you absolutely have to! No, I’d skip dinner, have my bottle of wine and then go in search of something salty and then inevitably something sweet.
Now, the act of having whatever I fancy in the evening has felt like a treat in itself, and it’s a bonus that I naturally shy away from fatty food and go for the light, nourishing stuff when I’m not drinking. The best thing is, I have a regulated appetite already, even within 3 days of not drinking. Being hungover and nauseous would completely throw my hunger off kilter, either suppressing it or over stimulating it.
Other treats have included booking myself a massage for a week on Friday, a night when I know that at nearly 2 weeks into sobriety, wolfie will pipe up and tell me I don’t have a problem and that drinks at the pub with colleagues is fine. Instead, I’ll go for a luxurious massage and dodge a drinking bullet.
I’ve bought lovely scented candles which I light every night to make myself feel cosy and happy in my sober cocoon of a bedroom (that just 4 days ago was littered with bottles). I bought myself a cheap yet rather sexy dress yesterday to wear on an occasion in a couple of weeks when I hope to have a handle on my sobriety and can sip my lime and soda feeling fab.
Treats are important because my wine habit developed at a time when I denied myself everything else: food, time to relax, nice clothes, self care. I’m even running less, because that, usually my secret ticket to happiness feels a chore this week. As a result these very early wobbly days of not drinking are like having a holiday from the constant perfectionism and self-flagellation that wine gave me a one way pass away from for a few hours.
I’m blogging alot too. I love writing, and it’s helping me focus so much. If my work suffers this week, it’s a small blip and to be honest, I’m sure I’m being much more productive than when I’m hungover.
Feeling good. Long may it continue.