I would typically describe myself as someone who drinks often but not a lot. I love a good happy hour and I definitely embrace the whole “wine is good for your heart!” idea with a glass (sometimes two) during dinner on weeknights, and, well, a little more than that come Friday, with my husband or girlfriends.
The week started off easy enough. I’m pretty accustomed to coming home and unwinding with a glass of wine while I finish up with work, read magazines, or catch up on Netflix, but in week one I actually found that a cup of tea in the evenings did the trick just fine. The downside: I definitely convinced myself that I was saving all kinds of calories by giving up this indulgence in the evening, and overcompensated with a few too many donuts in the mornings.
By Monday, it’s Day 8. Feels like Day 43. I’m beginning to wonder how in the hell I’m going to make it through the rest of the month.
I purchase more flavors of hot tea in an attempt to cheer myself up.
Later that week my coworker Kelly and I get invited to a complimentary dinner at an amazing local restaurant. One round of drinks is included in the meal, and I am not about to turn down a free glass of wine. I decide that this is a necessary breach of my contract. It would just be rude not to partake!
The wine tastes amazing. I leave the restaurant happy as a clam and I don’t even feel the least bit guilty. “Free doesn’t count!” I decide.
Week Three… and why it was my last.
Day 16. We have a photo shoot involving wine this week at work, and when Alaina shows up with the leftover rosé and macaroons for the team after we wrap up, I nearly forget about my challenge and jump up with excitement for some good old-fashioned team bonding.
And then I remembered.
To be honest, I was really bummed. We had just wrapped this big, exciting shoot that had been in the works for months, and we were due for some celebrating. Though I felt I learned a lot on this journey, I was beginning to question what made me decide to sign up for this in the first place.
I was only halfway through my anticipated challenge at this point. But hear me out, because I have my reasons, and these 16 days actually taught me a lot.
What I learned.
I’m a creature of habit. I thought that giving up a glass of wine with dinner would be more difficult, but I’ve realized that I’m more attached to the ritual of unwinding with wine and Netflix than I am to the drink itself. It’s the same way that I’m just as happy to drink decaf coffee as I am regular — it’s not about the caffeine for me, but about the routine.
With social drinking, I’ve gotten a lot better at asking myself if I really want another drink, or if I’m pouring out of habit. And that’s really what this challenge taught me the most. I don’t need to miss out on toasting with my coworkers to a job well done. But I also like knowing that I’m drinking intentionally instead of mindlessly. Not every celebration needs champagne and not every bad day needs a glass of wine, but sometimes they do, and in my book, there’s nothing wrong with that.