I'm falling asleep on the couch as I watch an episode of Amazing Race. I can't keep my eyes open after a busy day of errands, long walks, gardening and hanging out with my son. It's just past 9 p.m. I'm tired and, frankly, my bed is summoning me. I should mention that it's a Saturday night.
I decide that, yes, I'm okay with this scenario. It's not anywhere close to how I used to spend a weekend night, but that was then and this is now. I'm slowly eroding the belief patterns that shaped my concept of what defines the good life. And, part of that is the belief that summer weekends are meant for socializing and drinking with friends. In fact, the closer my Saturday looked like a beer commercial, the more closely it resembled the perfect summer night out (note, the beer could be replaced with any version of alcohol).
It's no small step in the journey to ditch the liquor loving life to rewire those old concepts that encourage, compel and even pressure a person to drink. I know we all say we love our booze. I said it many a time. But, if you look more closely, you'll likely find that it's not necessarily the liquor you're enamoured with, as much as the affirmation it provides you. Does drinking with friends, having a great time and being the funny guy or party girl that everyone loves to talk to, affirm something for you? Does it affirm that, yes, you are that person that you believe you should be?
While I can't possibly tell anyone else what Saturday night partying affirms for them, I can share what it affirmed for me:
- I have lots of friends who want to be with me
- Damn, I'm fun!
- I'm known for hosting great dinner parties (and big ass parties, too)
- I'm too interesting and popular to stay in Saturday nights (that would make me boring)
- I belong to an exclusive group of people who are invited to parties because we are interesting and make get togethers more fun
- I'm NOT boring
- I'm loved
- I'm just as interesting and fun as THAT person who's telling me what she did on the weekend.
- I'm not missing out. I'm in the action.
- I know how to have a good time
That's not to say I've never stayed in and watched tv on a Saturday night. Of course, I've done it plenty of times. But, they were sprinkled between weekends of dinner parties, cottage nights, drinks at the bar. I could feel okay with a quiet night because I'd earned it, or would make up for it the next weekend.
Last night, I went to bed at 9:30 p.m. I was tempted to force myself to stay up just because it felt a bit shameful. That old voice in my head warned me I'm getting very dull with this no booze lifestyle. It warned me that I'm missing out on the good times. But I told the annoying voice to shut up, turned out the light and fell asleep as a large portion of people just began their night of drinking and partying.
I've had that life. It was fun... at least I convinced myself it was, before the morning after hangover. It affirmed what I believed I needed to be true.
Do I plan to fall asleep early every Saturday night? Hell no. I, simply, don't need to be fun girl on a schedule based on pressures created by some bullshit concept of what that means. I know that I'm still the same fun and interesting girl I was before I stopped drinking. Thankfully, I'm no longer the crazy party girl who surfaced after too much wine (she was never the real me, anyways).
Being true to who you are is essential to embracing the booze-free lifestyle. For me, that means it's okay to go to bed earlier than most 12-year-olds on a Saturday night once in a while. Because I know it also means I'm up earlier than most, enjoying an early morning walk or run. I'm hangover-free. I'm clear-minded every second of every day. And, I'm on the best path of my life, pursuing my dreams with greater awareness and clarity than I'd ever thought possible.