Well, that was easy! Turns out a whole year of saying goodbye to my beloved wine with dinner (since Mother’s Day 2022) was the second easiest thing I ever did. (Easiest was going vegetarian, which I did in 2007 and intended to do for only a year as experiential research for a story, as I tend to do lol — it has now been 15 solid years.)
When I first got this hair-brained idea to maybe consider WWOOFing (working on organic farms) across the USA, I noticed that almost all the farms said alcohol and drug-free and I knew, Virgo that I am, that I needed to fundamentally change my rotting-at-the-bottom-of-the-hill-in-suburbia routine if I were going to seriously consider this journey.
I did not think I had an alcohol problem, but with a family history of it and the total normalization of endless alcohol in our society (sold conveniently in our supermarkets), I kinda wasn’t exactly sure anymore.
Plus, it was costing a lot, and I didn’t have money to waste. And since I often bought it on my bike, the French bread, flowers and other TikTok-able accoutraments got tucked in my bike basket as well, cha-chinging up my total cost.
I knew alcohol was sure to impact my health long-term, if it hadn’t already. I knew, in my heart of hearts, it was a neurotoxic carcinogen (even the organic versions, which I usually bought) and that it was merely marketing that had somehow convinced us all (especially women) that we needed that daily red wine for its resveratrol and other antioxidants (which is in other stuff, without the side-dish of cancer and liver disease, and the potential of killing someone with your car).
Turns out I did not have a problem, but a habit. A beloved habit (the way the light comes in, The New York Times splayed out on the kitchen table, that swirling deliciousness to accent my still-warm-from-the-sun garden-grown meal).
And now it’s done. Not my year of experimenting without alcohol. My life with it. I’m not going down with the sip, so to speak, as I age. I have a different vision for my future, now more than ever. Just like with my city hall regarding bike access-for-all, I am not accepting the gutter of failed imagination, sharrow-minded thinking or compromises that kill from anyone, including myself.
I used an app named Reframe, which I loved. My work on the Healthy You in 2022 campaign for the CDC Foundation and the State of Alaska (which helped inspire me to eliminate alcohol, by the way) revealed that habits take 66 days to break. That’s all, folks. And as a result, I have never felt better — and new opportunities are open to me now, such as the possibility of WWOOFing worldwide after Round America with a Duck.
Sharing my positive experience here is in no way intended to belittle the very real challenge you may have eliminating alcohol or other drugs from your life. If you think you have a problem with alcohol, seek help. It’s available and it can save your life and the lives of others. If alcohol is “just” a habit for you that you are thinking about changing, you could be done with it for good by mid-July if you start today.
Oh, and by the way, I also quit caffeinated coffee for this trip, as well as daily hair-washing. What else is possible? I’m excited to find out. Change at any age is easier than I imagined. And the future is looking rosy (not rosé).