I'm less than a week away from going off my cleanse now. I'm almost euphoric at this point in a cleanse. Because the end is so near. And I'm proud of myself. I feel strong and positive and in control. I know I'm doing something really healthy for myself - but that the hardest part of the plan is almost over.
TIMING YOUR CLEANSES
I recommend taking your two cleanses about five months apart. It doesn't have to be exact - you can make it four and six if necessary one year. But five months apart gives you ample normal "drinking months" without a) allowing you to fall back into the cycle of dopamine/depression; or b) having cleanses too unreasonably close together.
I usually take my first cleanse starting some time in late January or early February. I know February seems like a blah month not to drink, but Feb's a write-off anyway, and I just can't picture facing the post-Christmas crash without drinking. But because the holidays are a time when you're probably drinking more, don't wait too long into the New Year to start your cleanse. You want to detox your body as soon as you can after a period of indulging.
My second cleanse usually comes some time in August. I know some people must think I'm crazy to cleanse during the summer. All those backyard barbecues? Those weeks at the cottage? How can you cleanse then? So maybe you want to wait until September. It's the start of a school year for the kids, a new season, an overall shift in the entire world around you as the summer fades. That's fine. But I don't have a backyard for barbecues (we live in an apartment) and we don't have a cottage, so honestly August works just fine for me. Especially because now that all the back-to-school ads are on and everyone's talking about how sad they are that the summer is almost over, I'm actually elated ... because my cleanse is almost over, too.
It is absolutely glorious for me to be able to have a nice drink on the Labor Day Weekend. And to know that I have five months of regular drinking ahead of me. It's really a generous amount of time for a gal like me who used to be an alkie. It's absolutely dreamy, actually. Besides, Autumn is my favorite month - my birthday, our anniversary, the leaves - so I really don't like the idea of cleansing then.
But make it work for you. Just time your cleanses so they're spaced about those five months apart. I've also found that cleansing at generally the same time every year is also helpful for me. I get into habits. It feels familiar and welcome. I know what I'm in for. I know I've done it before. Being regular about your cleanses creates a gentle, predictable, safe regimen that might help you manage them more easily, too.
As for the two nights off a week, I USUALLY choose Tuesday and Thursday - sort of nothing nights, anyway (these are, by the way, two FULL days and nights, not just the evenings). If for whatever reason you've been drinking more heavily than usual, take two - or even three - nights off in a row. Or if a an outing gets canceled, don't feel you have to drink anyway. It really helps your system to get a couple cleansing days back to back. You'll see. Your body - and brain - will really love it.
And if, for whatever reason, something comes up and you get an invitation to go out on a night that you regularly cleanse, don't worry about. Cleanse on a different night then. It's a workable, adjustable plan. Routines help. But being too stuck on a routine is counterproductive.
And remember, you don't have to take those two days off during holidays, vacations, or in the two weeks leading up to a cleanse. Giving yourself that freedom to be "normal" and enjoy your life really helps make this plan workable and livable.