So I decided to give up drinking alcohol in observance of Lent. Initially, my thinking was “Hey, it’s probably a good thing to do, the CEO of our company is doing the same thing, and it will be good for me from a health standpoint.” Cool. Easy. Good to go.
What did not occur to me at the time was that it might actually be hard. Yeah, REALLY hard!
As Ricky Ricardo often said on I Love Lucy, “Let me 'splain”: I am a 42 year-old man who would describe himself as enjoying a drink or two once or twice a week. There also may be a few occurrences over the course of a year that exceed that “one or two” number. I definitely didn't let alcohol affect my work-life balance. While these are factually accurate descriptions of me and alcohol, what I did not fully realize until I started this little plan is that my Lizard Brain, with all of its habituation and familiarity tendencies, would kick into full throttle so quickly.
Literally, on day 1 of this new non-drinking plan, I was thinking to myself, "Um, I would really like to have a drink at some point today. But wait a minute, I told myself that I was giving up drinking for the next 40 days." Then I quickly asked myself, "And why did I do this again?" On day 2, I attended a charity happy hour that I could not get out of as the benefiting charity was my charity Sadie's Gift!
And so I found myself saying a strange combination of words that I've never heard before: "Hello bartender, one non-alcoholic beer please." The evening of day 4 came with an invite to a neighbor's house to enjoy a fire pit and a beer. Bah! On day 5 my wife Amy pours a glass of wine for herself after dinner. Innocent enough on her part, but boy did I desire a sip of that sweet, smooth, and calming red wine!
Remember what I said at the start: I don't even drink that much. So, why are all these opportunities to drink alcohol coming my way all the sudden? Is someone out to get me? And why is my craving so strong for a drink? What is that about?
Now, it hasn't been all non-stop opportunities to drink: the next day is Monday and we're busy with Rewire activities including meetings, planning sessions, research, business development, calls, etc. Before I know it the week has gone by. But Friday has Amy and I driving into our nation's capital to meet up with some very fun friends of ours for and evening starting off with drinks and then dinner...
The season of Lent will last another month, and you can be sure that I will continue the story of this sojourn in future blogs, but in the meantime, is there anything my story so far that makes you think of something in your own life? Or are you finding yourself judging me or comparing my deal above to your own deal?
Does this first chapter of my story above make you squirm a little? Why is that?
Might you have habits that are keeping you from certain successes in your life?
Ponder those questions as I experience the next few weeks of this plan. I’ll let you know how it goes. And please, by all means, commiserate with me. Drop me a line in the comments to let me know about your journey: something you gave up for a season. What was it? What is (or was) that experience like?