Last year when I was living in a skydiving centre in Gatineau, Canada, I attempted to stop drinking. It was a lot more difficult than I expected. I clearly did not have as much self-control as I thought I did, especially when sitting around a fire with my friends.
I have attempted to be sober many times in the last few years. Last time I decided to be sober was when I moved to Dubai. I figured it would be easier in a Muslim country. Alcohol is widely available in tourist and expat areas of course, but I wanted to use this opportunity to be alcohol-free for a while.
My last non-drinking run kept going for about 6 months. And my first drink after such a long time went straight to my head! It was for a ladies’ night with my colleagues, and I sure didn’t have an expensive evening for the bar since I took about only half of my glass of wine before feeling too tipsy to keep going!
I have to admit it was a bit odd to go to pubs with my colleagues and order a lemon and mint drink, but not as weird as when I first tried my 30-day alcohol-free challenge back in Scotland. Going to a typical Scottish pub and asking for alcohol-free alternatives was strange. And it got me rather confused looks from the bartender.
Everybody has their own personal reasons not to drink. For some, it’s because they don’t actually like the taste. Or how they feel when they drink. Others chose not to drink for health or religious reasons.
I chose to go sober for a bit because I was no longer comfortable with my drinking habits. I knew full well I was trying to numb some pain by drinking. And it didn’t change anything in the end. When I am drinking, I do not actually feel better about things that are bothering me. But I have to admit that sometimes it does numb the feelings for a bit. They simply tend to come back full force the next morning.
Last time I decided to stop drinking, I had been drinking way too much for way too long. When we are traveling we are on holiday mode, so why not enjoy a drink?
For a two-week holiday it’s not a problem, however, when you leave for over a year, it can quickly become one.
Coming back to Canada means that I’ve been catching up with people. It also means that I’ve been catching up over many glasses of wine. It hasn’t been that bad by any mean. But I feel like it would be really easy to fall off the bandwagon once again.
So I’ve decided that my next challenge, after my 21-day writing challenge, will once again be a non-drinking challenge. I try not to pick too many challenges at the same time since I find it rather difficult to stick to them when there’s a few going on. Plus when I focus on one thing at a time, it allows me to see if it’s a habit I want to add to my routine. I can see more clearly the impact of the challenge on my life when there’s only one variable that changed.
With a funny twist of fate, this means that I’ll start my new challenge on the day I will be leaving Canada. To go to Portugal, where they have lovely wines and port. I could obviously wait until I leave Lisbon to get my new challenge started, but by then I’ll be in New Zealand, where they also produce great wines…
I find that if I wait to start my new challenge, I will be making excuses. And as I found out before, deciding not to drink is not that difficult. Especially once you’ve found out other things to drink than a simple glass of water!
I always have an interesting timing to decide to do my alcohol-free challenges anyway since last year it was for New Year’s Eve and the first one when I lived in the land of great Whiskies, so I should still be able to succeed with that new challenge of mine!