Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Cheers

It must be so hard this time of year for people who are on the wagon. I remember Christmas ten years ago - during my first long cleanse. I was just a couple weeks away from being able to drink again. I don't remember feeling that hard-done by without wine (I'd gotten pretty used to life without booze after almost six months). But what I did think was funny was when my sister-in-law got drunk on Baileys and kept muttering random Trivial Pursuit answers while she was half passed out on the couch. She'd lift her head, "hic ... Martina Navratilova!" she'd call out. Then she'd try to focus on the rest of us. When she realized we weren't playing Trivial Pursuit anymore, she'd just slump back into oblivion. To do it all over again a few minutes later.

It was extra funny because she's normally a very rational, sensible, brilliant woman. I don't know why I get a kick out of straight people getting sloshed, but I do. (btw, I've mentioned she's a therapist. This is the only time I've ever seen her drunk and/or anything less than perfect - and it was a whole decade ago - so clients, fear not! Still cracks me up though.)

The reason I bring up drinking around the holidays is because I had two back-to-back cleanse days last week - Tuesday and Wednesday. That's just the way the social calendar worked out. And I've gotta say, that second day, I was downtown Christmas shopping, and every roadhouse and chain resto packed with seasonal parties was calling my name with their big bubble glasses of wine. I really could've used a drink, at least to battle the throng of blood-thirsty parents clawing their way through the toy bins for the last box of Minecraft Lego. But I didn't. (Have a drink, that is. I did battle the parents for that last Minecraft, though. And emerged victorious btw!)

Anyway, I certainly could have changed my cleanse days and had a drink - and I've certainly done that in the past. But this time I felt I'd committed to the two back-to-back days and if I broke them up, it would be ... well ... sort of alky of me. ;) You can feel in your heart when you're being sensible or alky about your cleanse days and Wildcard rules.

Speaking of which, I was going to mention more about Wildcard rules. The random, personal and private rules you set up for yourself to help you deal with your own particular triggers or weaknesses. For instance, one of mine is that I don't drunk-shop anymore. I used to get wasted when I went shopping. Wandering around from store to store with a bottle of wine in my bag. Sneaking into change rooms with things I was pretending to try on. Then I'd just sit there on the bench or the stool and crinkle my packages and snap the elastic on my bra (or whatever) so that it seemed like I was doing something else besides getting wasted by myself in change rooms all day. Fun times. (jk ovbi!) That was definitely an 'alky' thing to do and doing it made me feel like one. So that's why it's one of my Wildcard rules.

I know it may seem like 'poof' magic! Suddenly, you're just not going to drunk-shop anymore - or whatever it is that you might be ashamed of. Drinking at work, for instance. I knew a young woman who used to keep vodka in her purse and sneak off to the washroom during breaks. She'd be slurry and droopy-eyed by the end of the day. Just FYI - vodka smells, no matter what anyone says.

Anyway - yes, these little tricks problem drinkers use to get 'more' into them might seem like a really hard thing to drop. But you aren't just using your willpower. I honestly believe cleansing - breaking up your regular exposure to alcohol - is what gives you the ability to stay in control. Your system quite simply learns how to live a sober life at least part of the time. Everything else becomes a lot easier after that. :)

We're coming up on the holidays! And - as it says in the rules up there in 'How' - that's one of the times of year where cleanse days aren't necessary. Will talk more about it another time! For now - happy shopping! Happy wrapping! Happy office parties where you don't get plastered and tell the boss something you won't remember in the morning!! :)