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  • Jessica Harris

Buh bye booze.

April 2020 will mark one full year since the end of my one-year booze snooze. I was going to wait until that time to write a reflection about how the snooze impacted my life and what my first year after the snooze was like. However, I am writing my reflection at the 9-month mark because as of today...

I am saying buh bye to booze again.

Are you wondering why? It boils down to three things: The data I have been keeping for 9 months does not lie, I physically don’t feel good, and I realize I am not who I want to be.

Data doesn’t lie.

During the One Year Booze Snooze, I used a habit tracker to monitor my progress, hold me accountable, motivate me to continue, and give me some instant satisfaction as I worked my daily goal. I loved adding every red X that I marked for 365 days. I feel incredible pride when I look at my fully completed chart.

When the snooze ended in April of 2019, I created a new habit tracker to record my alcohol consumption. I put a red X on days that I didn’t drink alcohol, and I recorded the number of beverages I drank in blue. I wanted to collect some quantitative data that would indicate the true impact of the snooze on my overall life habits.

3 months after the snooze ended (June 2019), I wrote a post titled Falling Down the Rabbit Hole. I was tracking my beverages and the data clearly showed I was derailing. I was slipping back into old routines. I was drinking socially because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do. I drank alcohol 26 days out of 90, but even crazier is that I drank a total of 87 beverages in those 26 days. Yikes! I wondered if I was already drinking that many beverages at 3 months, what would it be like at 6 months post snooze?

6 months post snooze (October 2019), I drank alcohol 52 days out of 185, which was about 28% of the time. The data showed a slight decrease in consumption because I drank 70 beverages in 90 days as opposed to the 87 in the first 3 months. Writing the post Falling Down the Rabbit Hole may have lit a fire in me to improve a little bit, but the overall data was still shocking because I consumed 157 drinks in 185 days.

So what about 9 months post snooze (January 2020)? Unfortunately, I don’t have any data to share. If you look at my current habit tracker below it clearly shows I kept it up until the end of October and then I completely stopped recording my progress. Talk about derailing. The fact that I stopped using my habit tracker is proof that I am no longer being honest with myself because habit trackers don’t lie. It is obvious I lost my grit and my drive.

I think I am like most people... we think we act better than we really do. Have you heard friends or family say, “I only have a drink here and there”, “I don’t really drink that much”, or “I only drink when I am socializing”? Without recording their consumption, do they really know how much they are drinking?

Habit trackers clearly measure behavior.

When I used my tracker religiously it prevented me from turning a blind eye to what is really going on. The fact that I stopped using my tracker all together, is basically me not wanting to notice the evidence right in front of me.

I don’t feel good

While the habit tracker was an easy way to collect quantitative data, I think it is equally important to reflect on some of the qualitative data I have been writing about in my blog posts the past few months. In the 9 months since the snooze, I can honestly say that my physical health is crummy and I just don’t feel good.

  • I am more tired than ever.

  • I am suffering from acid reflux that reminds me of the horrible reflux I had during my pregnancies. I am popping Tums like crazy and my doctor recently recommended a prescription-strength medicine to reduce acid.

  • I have gained between 5-10 pounds in 9 months.

  • I threw out my back and I have constant sciatica pain in my left leg.

  • I wrote about the physical effects of alcohol on my vision in the post, I’m not drunk, I’m totally fine. My double vision is horrible when I drink alcohol. This messes with my mind a bit and reminds me of the physical disability I have from my eye cancer treatment.

  • I wrote about how I was experiencing symptoms of alcohol intolerance in the post Am I allergic to alcohol? The build-up of histamines from sulfites in alcohol gives me headaches, a flushed face, and bad congestion.

  • During the booze snooze, I loved the fact that I stopped using a prescribed medication for anxiety and I felt really good and healthy. However, 8 months post booze snooze, I am back on that medication.

This isn’t who I want to be

When I started the booze snooze, I wrote a post titled, I am willing and I am purging and I identified the WHY behind my goal. I wanted to feel healthier physically and mentally, strengthen my kidneys, and establish new/alternative routines in my life. When setting such a lofty goal, I felt it was important to start with a clear purpose before jumping into planning out HOW I was going to accomplish my goal and before actually DOING my goal.

6 months into the booze snooze, I realized that even more important than starting with WHY I was doing the goal, I needed to figure out WHO I wanted to be. I wrote about my grandfather’s funeral in the post, Who Do You Want to Be, and explained how the Priest’s sermon reminded me of Stephen Covey’s funeral exercise. Covey recommends that you spend time thinking about your own funeral and what people are saying about you and also what you want them to say about you. He then recommends that you sit down and put those thoughts into writing and draft a personal mission statement.

In 2015 I wrote a personal mission statement and then revised it in 2017. I still like the mission statement I wrote that day, and that is who I want to be.

To find happiness, serenity, fulfillment, and value in living… I want to create balance among all of my obligations, build a reputation of being influential to others and dedicated to my goals, trust in my faith with God, work thru conflict calmly and respectfully, maintain positive relationships with family, friends, and coworkers by remaining emotionally present, attentive, and supportive, and go through life believing every day is Friday, wearing a smile on my face, joy in my voice, and hope in my heart.

This past Sunday, the message at the church I attend was all about creating strong habits and new goals based on who you want to be. The message incorporated so much of what I wrote about almost two years ago but the pastor incorporated biblical verses to support the concepts. It was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time. Hearing the statement, “who do you want to be?” in the church message reinforced the importance of reviewing my personal mission statement. If you are interested in watching the message it starts about 26 minutes in.

I don’t NEED to take a snooze from alcohol right now, but I WANT to take snooze so I can continue living out my mission statement. Without alcohol, I am a better person.

While I am saying BUH BYE TO BOOZE, I am not committing to a year-long booze snooze this time around. For one year, I am going to eliminate alcohol except for a few special occasions that include planned travel, celebrations and holidays. During these events, I am allowing myself the opportunity to indulge, if I desire, when that time comes.

  • February: Valentine’s weekend trip to Vegas, share a bottle of wine from our recent trip to Cottonwood when I get positive results from my liver and chest scan confirming my Ocular Melanoma has not spread and celebrate the 1 year anniversary of my treatment.

  • March: 2 days during spring break

  • April: Trip to Nashville April 2-6, my brother’s 40th birthday celebration, one mimosa on Easter Sunday at my Sister’s house.

  • May: Camping trip and the last day of school.

  • June: Share a bottle of wine from our Cottonwood trip on our wedding anniversary, and possibly a summer staycation or vacation

  • July: 4th of July

  • August: One favorite beverage during our annual back to school staff celebration.

  • October: 2 days during Fall break and Halloween night.

  • November: Thanksgiving Day

  • December: One-holiday party/event, Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

  • January: New Year’s Eve only.

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