….all with no alcohol.
It’s amazing that I chose this time in particular to go six months without drinking. Last week I sat alone in my home while I waited for my Real Estate Agent to arrive, with tears streaming down my face and unable to catch my breath. I was glad I was alone. The thoughts in my head started veering into a pretty scary and unhealthy place, so I got to my feet to shake it off and forced a smile on my face. I said over and over in my head that everything was going to be alright, but the reality was I just couldn’t take it anymore.
Two weekends ago I attended the wedding of one of my nearest and dearest friends. Choosing to not drink during the festivities because of my Six Month Challenge was actually surprisingly easy. I had brought with me some Belvoir Fruit Farms Elderflower Presse as a substitute for white wine, and a Pomegranate & Raspberry Presse for red wine. Both were yummy and refreshing and I really didn’t miss having wine or cocktails.
The following weekend after the wedding was a surprise 40th Birthday celebration in Las Vegas for another one of my nearest and dearest friends. Not having anything to drink that weekend was more difficult. There were approximately 20 of us who arrived and surprised her, so it was a nice sized group. I totally craved margaritas in the afternoons while hanging out by the pool. It was very hard not to partake in the sharing of really nice bottles of red wine with friends in the private room of the Charlie Palmer Steak House. Nonetheless I ordered my lemonade at the pool and virgin mojito at dinner. I survived the weekend and felt grateful every morning when I woke up refreshed and ready to practice yoga. The trick really was letting everyone know I wasn’t drinking. If everyone around me knew, then it made my decision not to drink that much easier.
Then after I returned home from Vegas I found out that one of my staff at Anamaya, who is also a dear friend was dying. She had been in an accident a few weeks ago and was badly burned over 50% of her body. She fought for her life but on the evening of Sept 28th she slipped away. As much as I am grateful for the end of her suffering, it was devastating news. Sol was an amazing spirit. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone as compassionate, full of life, generous and vibrant. She was a beautiful soul both inside and out. She was deeply loved and will be greatly missed. I was devastated by the news and also felt incredibly driven to take care of the rest of my staff during this time. Working remotely has it’s benefits but that night I felt extremely disconnected and far away from where I felt I needed to be. All I wanted to do was pour myself a glass of wine and wrap myself up in a blanket. I ended up making tea instead which was warm and soothing, and I got through the urge to drown my sorrows in a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the midst of all of this, we’re selling our home in Toronto. The house is professionally staged so we’re staying at friends, but on the night of Sept 29th I met our Agent at our house to take offers from people interested in buying. Everyone over the last few months has been telling us how well we are going to do on the sale of our house, and everyone was so confident that we would receive multiple offers. We ended up sinking 40K into the house in order to get it ready to list, and that’s including the unexpected, last minute renovation that needed to be done (which also pushed our listing date a week). Both my husband and I were hoping to get at least 20 – 30K over asking to help cover those costs, and all we would need were two offers to allow that to happen. The reason for my breakdown while I waited for our Real Estate Agent to arrive, was because I had just found out that there were four couples who were interested – one couple who were thinking of making an offer, and three on the fence. Sounds like great news right? Here’s the rub, the couple who were thinking of making an offer hadn’t registered yet. So basically at the 11th hour there was a possibility that NO ONE would make an offer to buy our house after everyone told us how well we would do. I couldn’t handle any more bad news and I broke down. Why was all of this happening to me? Why is my world crumbling down around me? What the hell is going on? Yes, I had a big ass cry and a bit of a pity party.
We did in fact end up with an offer that night but we decided not to take it. The amount wasn’t what we needed and it didn’t feel right to settle. It was a risk, but in our hearts we knew that this wasn’t the right offer. It turns out our instincts were bang on. The very next day we ended up with two solid offers and the one we chose offered us exactly what we had been hoping for. The papers are signed and the sold sign is now displayed.
I can’t celebrate with Champagne but if there was ever a time when I would have been drinking to celebrate, or to numb my pain, or to seemingly enhance my social experience, it would have been this past month. Instead I ordered or supplied my own virgin drinks, made myself many cups of tea, or cried through whatever emotions were surfacing. Sometimes not drinking feels really easy, sometimes I feel the urge to use it as a tool to cope, and sometimes I just miss the deliciousness of a full body red wine.
When you don’t drink, the reasons why you drink become very clear. I’m realizing they’re not always bad or unhealthy reasons, but the reasons nonetheless become exceedingly transparent.
“Ignorance is a lot like alcohol: the more you have of it, the less you are able to see its effect on you.”
― Jay M. Bylsma