You’ve Got to Change Your Ways or Die

CHANGEI mentioned (or rather, blogged for 3 months about it) that this last was kind of a “last hurrah”. And it was the best summer ever. I had zero cares. I drank, I smoked, I didn’t sleep. On the few weekends I didn’t have a music festival or a cabin to go to or camping or birthdays, I would get myself a bloody mary or two with brunch and then lie on the couch all day. Oh it was so deliciously lazy. My body was sore, my head was pounding, I couldn’t keep my eyes open half the time. But all of it was so fun. And it was 100% social. I hung out with my friends all the time and we laughed and loved each other. My summer of love.

A small confession I have though is that I don’t LOVE drinking. I really like that first, second and third beer. But after a while it becomes just too much, and being drunk is uncomfortable and painful. But the thing is, it’s just so easy. Grabbing a beer and going into my yard and sitting there all night is so much easier than say, going to the gym. Gosh, that’s hard work. I think I’m in the third wave of 2015 where I’m trying to kick bad habits once and for all and turn a new leaf. I did a dry month in January (and went to the gym a lot, though I still lacked energy and didn’t lose weight). You’ll recall in April and May and started a fitness routine and that was going really well. The thing that changed that was our trip to Atlanta, which was a ton of fun, but I drank, didn’t exercise, bummed some smokes, and then it was all over. And then shut down and I lost the routine for the whole summer. While the summer was the most fun, it was also painful and hard to keep going. I shot a multi-day camping music festival and then a few days later got on a plane to New York, aka the City That Never Sleeps. I felt like a zombie walking those streets, and drunkenly navigating my way along the subway system back to Queens every night.

I do enjoy that lifestyle (to an extent. It’s bloody exhausting), but simply, it’s terrible for me (technically speaking it should be terrible for everyone). What I really want more than anything is to be able to wake up early, like 6 am. Go take a walk in the early sunlight, listen to some podcasts (or my ever handy Skyrim soundtrack), come home, make coffee and eat breakfast. Then, go to work feeling energized and refreshed. At my gym, I’ve been going to classes every week. Cycle mainly, and yoga. Do you guys know how incredibly powerful Yoga is? It makes me feel like kneaded dough by the end of it – my body is relaxed and languid and warm and I’m so pleasantly tired but I’m buzzing. It feels way better than drinking. Almost every day, I’ve taken a 3 mile walk on doctor’s orders because I hurt my back in May. I’ve also started taking medieval sword fighting classes (an astonishingly amount of fitness involved there), I signed up to run a 5k on Thanksgiving, I’m going to go climb the rock wall at REI, and in October I’m going to Colorado to walk around in the Rockies all by myself.

I also went to the doctor to get some stuff checked out and got a (mostly) clean bill of health. I went to the dentist for the first time in 7 years. And I’ve started to make a regular habit of going to therapy. I’ve talked about my depression a lot on here before. It’s a constant uphill battle to feeling good. You have to be strong enough of mind to want to feel better to take that step, and that’s doubly hard when you’re depressed. While talking with my therapist, we discussed my drinking. Now, if I were to be objective (which I think I’m pretty good at), I don’t have a problem half as bad as some people I know. The therapist suggested I go without drinking for 3 months.

Which I can do. I can totally do that. I never thought “I can’t do that.” (TBH if you think “I couldn’t do that” you probably should. If you think “I wouldn’t want to” then like, whatever. Life is short, you might as well drink if you want to right?) Having it come from a licensed professional makes it seem more doable than just saying to my friends “you know what? I think I’m gonna quit boozing for a while.” And also, you know you have good friends when none of them care that you’re not going to drink. When they just want to see you, you know you’re ok. Alan and I went to a friend’s party on Saturday, and neither of us drank, and I still had a really great time. It’s empowering. I really can just do this and knock these bad habits for good.

In 2009, I turned 21. That was when this all started, and I had some amazing times. The most intense period of personal growth. 6 years later, a lot has changed around me, and I’m ready to close the book on that chapter and start a fresh one. I look forward to sharing it with everyone along the way.

About the Author

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Hi! I'm a graphic designer, photographer and female person. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Alan and our baby son Alexander and baby cat Arya.

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