Running on Bandera Mountain
It's July! This means that I am officially halfway through my self-imposed Year of Sobriety. Pretty hard to believe that it's been six months already. While the first couple months dragged a bit, and I wondered how I'd stay motivated to stay the course for a full beer-free year, the last few months have flown by.
I can't claim that I've been all health, all the time. I had a crackers-and-fancy-cheese phase that went on a couple months longer than it should have. I get crabby and irritable if I stay away from sugar for very long. I have a weak spot for dark chocolate, and I still eat ice cream pretty much all the time.
What I can say is that six months of self-discipline in one realm trickles over into self-discipline in other realms, too. Declaring such a clear priority for myself has invited the respect and support of my friends (thank you all!) - which has, in turn, encouraged me to be diligent about other goals, too. My running/training has been great; I've been working on some really exciting writing projects; I'm ahead of schedule on my goal to read a book a week in 2012 (I'm at 31 for the year so far!); I've been juicing regularly and eating more plant-based foods than ever.
Gluten-free Thai peanut pasta with rice noodles, fresh asparagus, and pinenuts
Also, knowing that I can still have a social life outside of "getting a drink" with friends has meant - on the whole - more quality time with the people I care about, not less (as I was worried it might). Instead of yelling to hear each other in crowded bars, I have spent time with friends doing other things: hiking, running, cooking wholesome foods, taking walks, snowboarding, biking, going to book signings, doing yoga, reading, just sitting around and catching up over a cup of tea. I spent a day building homes with Ruth at Habitat for Humanity. I went to Folklife for Zoë's birthday and her now-annual tradition of gluten-free tupperware cake. My lady friends hosted Lady Brunchluck.
I also have learned that trotting alongside someone in the mountains for hours on end, with headlamps into the late hours of the night, invites just about as much silliness, laughter, and intimate conversation as you might expect after a few pints of ale.
Have I saved money? Can't say that I have; I've just chosen to spend the money I would have spent on booze on beverages that are far more nourishing to my body - fresh, organic fruit and veggies for the juicer!
Liquid sunshine: Apple, carrot, celery, kale, parsley, and spirulina
Have I lost weight? Can't say that I have. (I blame the ice cream!) Nevertheless, I have definitely gotten leaner overall. More muscle, less fat. Bring it on, mountains; my legs are ready for conquering.
Have my evenings felt significantly more productive and satisfying? Yup. Do I feel like I'm making good progress on the things that are important to me at this point in my life? Yup. Have I suffered significantly less from the heartburn/acid reflux that's plagued me in the past? Yup.
So, do I feel good about my Year of Sobriety thus far? Heck yes. It's been a great experience - a genuine challenge that I look forward to seeing all the way through. I realize a year without any alcohol is considered borderline extreme in our society. Indeed, I look forward to that first glass of champagne at midnight six months down the road. On the other hand, sometimes doing borderline extreme things is a good reminder that society's expectations need not define our path - and sometimes there are very real rewards to forging your own.
P.S. Vashon Ultra 50K Race Report coming soon.