It's December 19, 2013 - a Thursday. And usually Thursdays are one of my cleanse days. But not today - and not for about the next two weeks. Because this stretch marks the longest Independence Day party of the year!!
I incorporated "Independence Days" into the plan because there are times during the year where sticking to the "two-days-off-a-week" rule seemed unreasonable. Like when you're on vacation, if it's your birthday - or, especially, around the holidays.
For one thing, most people have more social functions or family visits to do this time of year. But everyone's really busy, so saying: "Hey, I'd really love to see you Tuesday, but I can't drink Tuesday. Can we make it Wednesday instead?" seemed like asking for confusion and frustration.
Another drag would be having to sip Perrier at the office party while everyone else gets to wear tinsel on their head and be inappropriate with each other. So 'independence days' became a really important part of making the cleansing process livable, workable - and fun.
But because everyone's schedule is different this time of year, the timing is personal. I work at home so I don't have a string of office parties to go to (unfortunately, actually, because some of those Christmas parties were a lot of fun! Some of them, anyway. ;) ) However, some professionals might've started their must-attend business party season weeks ago.
Here's the thing, though. When you're working out your holiday independence days, be reasonable. Just because the guy who comes to fix your photocopier invited you to his office pot luck on December 1st, that really shouldn't mean your stretch of drinking days starts then. And American Thanksgiving and Black Friday don't count either. At least not for people who've had a 'problem.' I've never pushed the limit like this and I'm afraid if I (or you) did, after four or five weeks of non-stop drinking, we'd both be in rehab or looking for A.A. sponsors.
So I'd say you should be somewhere in the two week range, more or less. I could've started my independence days last week. The hubs even thought it was last week. But I decided to be reasonable. Judging from experience, two weeks of non-cleanse days is more than enough.
btw - you don't have to overindulge every one of those days! Sometimes it might mean a single glass of wine after a long day of shopping or cooking. Or maybe you even want to take a cleanse day in there somewhere. That's totally cool! I think one of the reasons this plan works so well is because it empowers people. It not only lets you make your own decisions about your life - it allows you to see how those decisions play out. So you learn what works for you - and what doesn't.
And - what you may learn - is that you're one of those millions of people who absolutely can't control your response to alcohol. And that toying with 'cleanse days' and 'drinking days' is not only driving you crazy, but it could be dangerous in the long run. So really listen to your heart. No matter how you have to manage your issue, there's no shame in it. If there's one thing I'd really like to contribute to the addiction discussion, it's this: we all have different physiological and psychological responses to alcohol. It's a natural, normal process and it's nothing to be ashamed of. And, in the end, I hope learning about how I handle my problem or becoming more conscious of your drinking in general will help you find your way, too. And if you feel that might mean permanent abstinence, check out the YouTube video below for inspiration.
I was watching Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show last week (funny show!) and singer, Demi Lovato was a guest. Demi's starred on The X Factor and Glee among other things, including writing a new book called Staying Strong full of 365 days of inspirational thoughts.
Demi's only 21 years old and has already accomplished so much. But during the course of the interview it came out that she went into rehab when she was only 18. Craig Ferguson suffered from addiction as a younger man and he's been sober for more than 20 years. It was interesting to see them relating to each other about their issues. It was also interesting to see two happy, successful, thriving people - from different generations - being so candid about their addiction problems. Laughing, joking and so open about everything. It's really inspiring for people who decide to 'kick' completely - or actually anyone who's had to deal with addiction problems.
You can watch the whole interview (about 12 mins) or if you want, you can just check out the part where they talk about 'quitting.' It starts at about the 6:00 min mark.
btw, right off the top, Demi mentions another YouTube video that's had about 65 million hits so far! Meaning, there's a good chance you've seen it. But just in case, I've posted that below, too. It's a baby who laughs hysterically at his dad ... ripping up paper. Man - so cute!! All I want for Christmas is one of those things!! Those cute, cuddly things that just sit on the sofa and giggle non-stop at whatever you do without ever causing any problems. This from a childless woman of course. ;)
Until next time, good luck and enjoy yourself! I'll check in again because I have this cool way to fold plain liquor store gift bags that would impress even Martha Stewart. Okay, maybe not her because she probably sews her own gift bags. From silk worms she raises herself. But it's still pretty cool for everybody else on your list. Hopefully I'll get a chance before the gift-giving season ends!
And here's DA BABY!!