Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 14 - Autumn Nights

Ok - super special milestone day. The halfway mark of the cleanse. I find the last two weeks go by much faster than the first two, so that's a real bonus. :)

I mentioned my niece last time. A sweeter angel has never drawn breath (though it's a tie with her big brother - both my godchildren, too).

Anyway, my niece loves pink. She loves princesses. She loves clothes - even shoes!! However, at just three-years-old, she's an absolute speed demon. If she's on a swing, she has to go 'higher! higher!' If she's on her bike, she has to go 'faster! faster!' She's basically a pint-sized Danica Patrick. 

Because I'm on my cleanse, our last visit to see them was not a non-stop wine day - which family visits usually are. (Yay!) I brought a Red Bull, in case my energy flagged, but I didn't even need it. My energy is right back on track, btw. I drank water - and only water - alllll day and night. :)

I spent most of the afternoon out in the backyard with the kids, using every type of bubble blower imaginable. Big, little, long, short. Then came supper and the kids calmed down - I thought, for the rest of the evening.

But as the adults took to the living room to enjoy their wine, Aunt Sheri was begged to go back outside. Since I cannot say 'no' to them - unless there's actual bodily harm involved - I put on a hoodie and scarf and went back out into the ch-chilly darkness. More running around, more laughing, more playing, more games.

We could barely see each other in the darkness, but I couldn't resist staying out there with them for hours. It reminded me so much of being young this time of year, late October. There's a special feeling to it. The school year is still fresh - but the novelty has worn off so you feel ultra-cool. Halloween is coming up which is always exciting for kids. The grownups are inside getting drunk. You hear their muffled laughter and see their shadows peeking out the window at you. But you're out with your brother or your sister or your cousins or your friends, not listening to anyone call you back. Squeezing all the fun out of a chilly autumn night as you can. And I'm not talking about being a teenager when fall nights start being about flirting, smoking - and, of course, drinking. I'm talking about that innocent younger stage. When staying out playing silly games in the dark was enough.

I'm not sure if I would have had the energy - or the desire - to do that if I had been drinking. I'm not fond of the feeling of wine sloshing in my stomach unless there's a dance floor involved. At the very least, I would've had to duck back inside the house for a few gulps of auntie juice every now and again which would bring a different vibe to the night. ;)

So I was glad to be able to be with them - without the (albeit enjoyable) distraction of wine. These are the kinds of things kids remember forever.  So if you have kids - or just borrow them, like me - use your cleanse to take advantage of the extra energy, time and clarity you seem to have. It's a priceless riot!!

14 days left to go!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 10 - Cozy Wozy!

Oh man, I always love getting to Day 10.  Leaving those lame single digits behind. :) It gives me a real sense of accomplishment. Reminds me that, yes, despite the fact I can't drink wine, life goes on.

I discovered a great new tisane (the post-graduate term for herbal tea) today. I'm out of my regular routine because I'm out of the old neighborhood, so I can't just quickly rely on all my old favorite substitutes for vino anymore.

I just ran out of my regular Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger yesterday. I have a cup of it every morning, steeped with Herbaria Milk Thistle tea (milk thistle is very mild, so the flavors work well together). This routine is especially important during a drinking cycle because ginger fights inflammation caused by alcohol and milk thistle is very healing for the liver.

But because I'm not drinking, I'm not very worried about getting my ginger every morning, so I decided to try something new - Bigelowe's Cranberry Apple. I had it with about a teaspoon of honey, maybe a titch more. It was soooo delicious, especially after a long walk on a chilly autumn day like today. It made me feel - as my niece says - cozy wozy. ;)

Eighteen days left to go!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day 5 - Alive and ... wellllll ...

Haha!! Alive and ... welllllll. Get it? Like I'm not sure I'm 'well.'

I'm not gonna lie to you. This has not been the easiest start to a cleanse ever. I've said several times that cleansing when there's a major disruption in your life isn't recommended. Moving is - yuh - majorly disruptive. And it takes a lot more than two or three days to settle in which is what I allowed myself before starting my cleanse.

There are still boxes around. Still things to be sorted out. Still work to be done. Last night, for instance, the hubs and I were up building a bookshelf until 11:30 pm. (Okay, I was just on 'pass me that screw' duty). But I was dragging my slippers, I'll tell ya. I wasn't miserable. But I was tired. From the move, from the cleanse, everything.

The first few days of a cleanse can find you a bit more tired than usual. At least I've found that. Fatigue is a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. I think it's naive of me to think that with my past I'm going to be able to continue drinking - then stop - without having any reaction to it whatsoever. I was an alcoholic. And although I don't qualify as an alcoholic on any of the self-tests available anymore - and that's true - it's silly of me to think that alcohol will not have some kind of addictive effect on me. It's an addictive substance, I've had a history of alcoholism in my family - and, well, I've suffered from the condition in the past.

A couple of things to note here. First of all, the lack of energy associated with abstinence is a function of alcohol on the brains of heavy drinkers. According to the experts, btw, 'heavy drinkers' are people who consume more than eight (8!!?) drinks a week. Uhhhh ... ummmmm ... okaaaaay. That just sounds like a good night to me.

Good God!! I'm KIDDING!! I do not drink that much. On a regular basis. Vegas yah, for sure. And it's spaced out over the course of the day. You know, it starts with bubbly at the breakfast buffet and doesn't stop until the curtain falls on Donnie & Marie's last show. :)

Come on! I'm exaggerating. I do not drink with breakfast - not even in Vegas. But I've been known to sip a tipple poolside just before noon, that's for sure. But what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? So that doesn't count. ;)

The point is I have more than 8 drinks a week when I'm on a drinking cycle. But the key thing here is, when I'm on a drinking cycle. The whole foundation of cleansing is that you interrupt your exposure to this addictive substance on a regular basis - both weekly and during the year - thereby avoiding the pitfalls of dependence. The 'rules' help - not drinking at home alone, etc. - but the real magic behind this lifestyle is removing alcohol from your system on a regular basis. That's the genius of this plan.

You'll have to forgive my immodesty. Genius? But on Day 5 of what could never be my easiest cleanse because of the move, I still feel like I'm onto something here. Sure I was tired building bookshelves near midnight last night. But after weeks of prep, the move, the settling in, etc., I'd have been exhausted no matter what. However - I would've gotten an energy boost from a drink that I didn't get last night. But I was not shivering, hallucinating or nauseous with major withdrawal. I was just tired from a move and could really have used a little 'acetate uptake.' ;)

Which brings me to my starting point: alcohol has an energizing effect on the brains of heavy drinkers. It has to do with the metabolism of acetate for energy in the brain. Until recently, sugar was thought to be the only energy the brain could use. But recent studies have shown that heavy drinkers and alcoholics (and the two are two completely different groups, as I know) actually get more of an energy boost from alcohol than light drinkers.

The problem is, heavy drinkers become addicted to this source of energy. So there's another factor contributing to alcohol dependency problems. But that's why cleansing works. You can't really become addicted to this acetate/energy relationship because you do not use it all the time. Two days a week and two months a year, you're on your own.

Check out this post from last April about acetate and alcohol. And here's more info about this extraordinary relationship from the experts.

Btw, I'm happy to report that I have tons of energy today. I feel clear-headed, happy and healthy. Just thank God those shelves are built. ;)

23 days left to go!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day 1 - Onward Through the Fog!

My fall 2014 cleanse starts today! It's day one. A beautiful sunny Sunday morning. I'm in our new place - we moved on Wednesday. What a week it's been. What a couple of weeks it's been actually. Weddings. Anniversaries. My birthday. And of course, the move itself which was a ton of work. I was definitely glad not to be cleansing during that. I don't recommend alcohol cleansing when you have enormous jobs to do - especially ones that disrupt your personal space. Like moves and major renovations. At the end of a hard day, you really enjoy that lovely little buzz a drink will give you. In fact, you could enjoy that at the beginning of a hard day, too. ;) Well, maybe not the very crack of dawn beginning, of course. ;) Though ... hmmmm.  Sounds good, too.

This is the first time I've started a cleanse on a Sunday. But I wanted to get through the move - with a few days of celebration to settle in. That originally brought me to starting my cleanse yesterday - Saturday. But we had friends in town and they wanted to meet up for drinks so I nudged the cleanse to start today, Sunday. You can do that. Your cleanse start day is not carved in stone. You have the freedom to switch the day any time - as long as you're not putting off the start date until - forever? But when something comes up - like an unexpected invitation you want to accept, if you feel comfortable, go for it! 

Last night we had our first 'real' dinner in the new place. Spaghetti Bolognese and - yes! - a bottle of red wine for the last time in a month. I had a minor moral dilemma when it came to the white however. There on the door of the fridge were 1.2 bottles. A full sealed sauvignon blanc - and a single glass of pinot left in the other. The dilemma of course was do I open up the new one and make a real night of debauchery (uh ... that was for Friday, actually ;). Or tuck the sauv blanc in the back of the cupboard until next month. Full of will power and self-control, I stuck it waaaaay in the back of the cupboard. ;) That's another one of my tips: don't leave alcohol lying around on a cleanse. 

So, the countdown begins once again. Four weeks or twenty-eight full days of not drinking. I won't be having wine again until November 9th. Exactly one month from now. You know what? Starting a cleanse on a Sunday feels nice ... I feel ready. I feel happy. I feel peaceful. I don't have any real negative feelings about not drinking for a month because I know it keeps me healthy. In control. And away from A.A. ;)