Thursday, June 13, 2013

Off and On

Today is an On Day or Drinking Day

I thought I'd start leading each post with information about whether it's a cleanse day, a drinking day or an up-in-the-air day. That way you can follow along and see how alcohol cleansing works as an overall lifestyle plan. Because that's really what it is  - a way of life. And a way to help you  reverse a drinking problem and maintain healthier alcohol consumption in the long run. Because that's what it's done for me.

So if you're on the plan, you should normally take two cleanse days every week (that doesn't count for special occasions or for the two weeks before you start a 28-day cleanse). But otherwise you should have at least two full 24-hour periods without alcohol consumption each week. If you want to take more, feel free. Your doctor, liver and brain will approve.

I normally take Tuesdays and Thursdays as my non-drinking days each week, so they're my cleanse days - or simply "off-days." By off-day, I don't mean "bad day!" Not at all! It's simply an easier way to say non-drinking or cleanse day. An "on-day," obviously then, is a day when you can drink if you want to. :)

I thought this week would be a good one to illustrate because my normal schedule has changed. So this is going to be my week for June 10-16:

Monday - On-day
Tuesday - Off-day
Wednesday - On-day (Fun last night, btw!)
Thursday - On-day
Friday- Off-day
Saturday - On
Sunday - On

As you might guess, I don't normally take Fridays as cleanse days, but it just makes sense the way the week's working out this time around. Being able to change my cleanse days like this keeps things fresh, spontaneous - and workable. It gives you a sense of control and power over your schedule - while helping you maintain control and consciousness of your drinking.

Sometimes I'm not sure if a day is going to be an on-day or not until the evening so I'll note that at the top of posts, too. That way you can follow along and see how easily the plan fits into your life.

I know to the average person who's never woken up in the morning with a feeling of guilt, shame or full-body remorse (lucky you!) this might seem like an awfully complicated way to live. But for the person whose life has once been ruled by alcohol, it's actually a thousand times easier than being lost in the cycle of addiction. Plus it's more realistic and attainable than saying "Never again, never again!" - and having it happen again ... and again.

I also know it might seem like a lot of thinking about alcohol. But you show me a single alcoholic who doesn't think about drinking every day - whether they're in some form of rehab or still drinking to excess - and I'll show you a rare and exceptional person. Because even if you're happy in A.A., if you're attending meetings, you're thinking about drinking. If you're talking to your sponsor on the phone, you're thinking about drinking. If you're on your way to an appointment with an addiction counselor, you're thinking about drinking. And if you're still trapped by addiction, I guarantee you, you're thinking about drinking because that's probably all you think about!

Now I'm sure if you've been sober twenty years, whole days can go by without you thinking about a drink. But it would be difficult - in our society anyway - to not think about alcohol for much longer than that. Because alcohol is everywhere. On TV, in movies, in advertising, in every bar and restaurant, on every flight, in popular music and videos, in overheard conversations - like when Bob from Accounting stops by to tell you what he did on the weekend. Even if all you're thinking is: "Whew! I'm so glad I don't drink anymore!" you're still thinking about drinking.

So let's not assume that thinking about drinking is a negative thing. Because a person who's had a drinking problem is probably destined to think about drinking much more than a person who hasn't. The good thing about cleansing is that it urges you to think about drinking in a more positive, constructive and healthy way.

I'm thinking about drinking right now for instance. Go figure. ;)