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Episode 20: New Year's Resolutions & The Problem with Booze

Updated: Jan 17, 2020

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2020: The year of no shopping and no alcohol for Bran and I.

If I'm being honest, I never in a million years thought I'd write a blog post about giving up alcohol.

Not because I don't think I could ditch booze for a few months... but because I always assumed that anyone who needed to give up alcohol must have a problem managing it.

Certainly, I could give it up anytime I wanted, if I needed, right?

And I mean, come on, I only drink a handful of times each year...

And I've certainly attended many events in the past where I wasn't drinking alcohol and had a fine time. The occasional "oh come on, just have one shot/drink" ribbing comes up, but is easily dismissed.

And Brandon and I have even committed to the first three months of each year being sober for the last 2 years. Which is an experiment we've loved very much and felt great from.

So it's not that I feel I'm addicted to the substance that I've decided to take a 12mth break from it.

When the idea of not drinking for 12 months instead of 3 came up in conversation for Bran and I, it actually brought up a lot of really interesting resistance for me.

And I've done enough soul work these last few years to recognize that ANY resistance, trigger or uncomfortable feeling inside me deserves to me looked at and felt through.

I was challenged by the idea BIG TIME.

"Give up alcohol for 12 months" I thought, "but what about all the trips and celebratory moments when I'll want champagne? What about going to the Okanagan this summer when I'll want to drink wine at the wineries with my team? What about birthdays and weddings and Christmas holiday season?? What about dinners out when I'll crave a nice glass of wine?"

And that's when I realized that I was about to ditch booze for 12 months.

It occurred to me that because I was feeling challenged by the idea of going booze free for an entire year, that was the exact reason to do it.

No exceptions. No sips. Just one year of committing to living alcohol free.

See, here's the thing:

I spend hundreds of dollars each month on very specific supplements to support my liver and gut health. I even eat a predominantly plant-based diet with smaller amounts of fat and sugar in order to help my liver and gut heal. I practice meditation, journal daily, workout, sleep well, consume less chemicals, etc. And I do all of this because a) for years, I damaged my liver and gut with antibiotics, hormonal birth control, binge drinking and chronic stress. And b) these are all things that makes me, personally, feel my best day in and day out.

Because when you feel better, you do better.

It's as simple as that.

And 2020 is truly the year that Bran and I have decided to dedicate to feeling our best.

We have solid discipline when it comes to our health habits, like consistently completing Beachbody workout programs, drinking enough water, meditating and journalling each morning, eating well, etc.

But we do still enjoy social drinking. (Which there's nothing wrong with, btw)

And occasionally, either of us will mindlessly indulge too much and be sick from it.

This experiment will be challenging because of that point.

We don't use booze as our coping mechanism like we used to. (But don't worry, I turned to overworking years ago as my coping mechanism...which, for the record, is not much better).

But we really do enjoy having a great time drinking alcohol with our families and friends.

With dinner. On trips. At home. During the holidays.

So much so that we've never really considered the option of having just as much fun without alcohol before. We never really thought about the fact that alcohol was the ONE thing left in our life that ran counterintuitive to all of our other habits and goals. Or that it was actually this toxic, unhealthy (although tasty and pleasurable) substance that our culture is utterly obsessed with.

But we have now decided that we DESERVE to feel amazing, and choosing this experiment for ourselves is one of the empowered decisions we can make towards that goal.

Here's a happy pic of Bran and I enjoying cold ciders at a bar in Ireland, September 2019.

Here's an example of how alcohol messes with my mojo:

On any given night when I'm not drinking, I'll go to bed around 11pm.

I wake up, well rested, without an alarm.

I drink lemon water and meditate, journal and visualize.

My mood is stable, calm, happy. I feel well-rested and at peace.

I go on with my day, get in an awesome workout, do great work, etc.

But on any given night when I've had alcohol, I'll go to bed between 11pm and 4am.

I feel hot and sweaty and have a restless sleep.

I wake up groggy and my body aches, my joints are stiff.

My gut is bloated and my bowel movements are "weird".

I experience surges of anxiety, worry and overwhelm.

I often skip my meditation, journaling, visualization, workout, etc.

We are more prone to ordering take out food and laying around all day.

Can you see what I'm getting at here? Almost ALL of the habits that I've worked so diligently to put in place so that I experience my BEST life possible are affected negatively by just one habit: drinking.

So I had to decide if my commitment to FEELING GOOD was greater than my enjoyment of the odd glass of wine or salted margarita.

"My mantra lately has been, it's good to feel good. I think I had a subconscious belief that feeling good was too easy or I needed to work harder. Like I wasn't worthy of feeling good or something."

I'm happy (and proud) to announce, that my commitment to feeling good + getting to the greatest health of my life IS in fact greater, and so is Brandon's.

So starting January 1, 2020, we commit to a #sobercurious lifestyle, while also ditching shopping for 12 months (blog post on that to come soon).

I'll be updating the blog weeklyish with updates on our journey and I would LOVE to invite you along for the ride.

If you're reading this, wondering what it could look like for you, I encourage you to reach out.

We can be found @mariebarkerwellness and @brandonpenneryxe on Instagram.

Stay tuned!

xo Marie

PS - My FREE MASTERCLASS on de-stressing and building a rock solid morning routine is coming up in February!! AND my new course, "Stress Less + Learn To Meditate" is launching too! Want to stay in the loop? Grab your free Stress Less Journal here and I'll be in touch with details soon!


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