Monday, February 28, 2011

Countdown

It's the last day of my regular drinking cycle. Tomorrow I start my 28-day-cleanse.

Don't be surprised if you feel a little melancholic about a cleanse coming on. It probably seems as if it's going to be an almost impossible thing to do - going without a drink for four weeks. But your brain definitely needs it and so does your body. I bet your soul could go with a break, too. So as Kathy Freston says - and I really like - "lean into challenges" - including your alcohol cleanse.

Here's a tip for the end of your drinking phase: Make sure you have enough of your preferred beverages on hand the last drinking weekend you have. You don't want to feel anxious or uneasy about depriving yourself. This last weekend is for indulging yourself.

As you come to know your own changing tolerance to alcohol, you'll be able to gauge how much is too much. You're not trying to crash your liver inside of a week. But you should feel free to enjoy yourself. I think I had at least a bottle and a half of wine every day since Thursday. And it's been a blast!

But this isn't something you do often. You work your way up to it throughout the five months of the drinking cycle. And then you really treat yourself as the cleanse approaches. Party. Socialize. Laugh. Love. To me, not only is it a fun way to head into a cleanse, it's also helpful to have had - ahem - "enough." If you're partied out, you'll honestly feel more ready to take a break.

For me, the pre-cleanse party cycle is essential to the overall success of the plan. Because what I find really unappetizing about long-term abstinence programs or even the Moderation Movement is the predictability of them. The monotony. I believe people who've had drinking problems are predisposed to drama (let's call it a 'sense of adventure'), to extremes and to peak experiences. Having a life that includes moderation, abstinence, AND actual PYAO (Partying Your Ass Off) keeps things interesting and fresh. It feels less like a recovery program - and more like a workable, enjoyable lifestyle. Which is what it is.

And I promise - it's going to go by much more quickly than you think. Promise.


Source: Quantum Wellness Cleanse by Kathy Freston

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February Booze

That ski trip kept getting postponed - which kept postponing my regular February cleanse. I've been drinking - and I mean, zowie-drinking - all month. The odd day off here and there, but because of the rule that you don't have to take your regular days off leading up to a cleanse ... the shifting trip has shifted everything. And I win! This was a long weekend and I think I started out with champagne and OJ by 12:30 practically every day. Yum.

Of course, if you're doing your first couple of cleanses I wouldn't recommend being quite so lenient with yourself. Be flexible - but don't take advantage until you know you're back in control of how your body handles alcohol.

Having said all that, my first annual cleanse fast approaches - a week today, March 1st. It's the first time I've done a March cleanse. I've done January - and February for sure. But March? I'm looking forward to it - at least a little. I know my body needs it, but my life needs it, too. And I think it'll be nice watching the days get longer and the sun get sunnier as March marches on.

Speaking of cleanses, I read in the Globe yesterday about a woman who's taken Kathy Freston's "Quantum Wellness Cleanse." Freston's approach to internal and external health includes a 21-day cleanse where all alcohol, caffeine, sugar and animal products are avoided. It's supposed to be an almost spiritual experience.

I know what she means. Just cutting alcohol out of my life for 28 days puts me in a different spiritual place (one that I'm actually looking forward to right now). But with Freston's cleanse being so popular, I'm wondering if I want to incorporate her broader advice into my regular cleanse, cutting out the other nasties, too. I hear it's quite a challenging plan and I can understand why. I know there are many days - especially early on in a cleanse - where I really enjoy a jolt of sugar to compensate for the energy I'm not getting with wine. Um, maybe I'll just buy the book and work my way up to it ...

btw, I'm going to lunch today with my 86-year-old friend, Barbara. You should take an old lady to lunch every now and again. You'd be surprised at how fascinating the conversation is - and more than likely you get to drink most of the wine. :)