I’m going to rehab. Would you like to join me? There is no cost involved. We don’t have to check in to a facility. We just have to check in to ourselves.
Start by taking this last week of January to be mindful of everything you do. What you eat. What you drink. How you interact with others. How work affects your mood. How often you exercise. How your body feels when you move. How tired you are at the end of the day. Everything.
As you move through your week, notice what there may be too much of in your life. Is it work? sugar? salt? Multi-tasking? wine? exercise? caffeine? nicotine? Xanax? Let there be no judgments, just a real awareness of your lifestyle.
Then ask, what is there not enough of in your life. Is it exercise? Mindfulness? Water? Vegetables? Home-cooked meals? Leisure time? Laughter? Stimulating conversation? Sleep?
You probably already know the answers. You’ve been living this life every day. But perhaps it has just become such a part of your routine that you haven’t realized how your relationship with these things has changed.
Next, think about giving something up. Let’s use coffee as an example. If I said you could not have coffee for 28 days would that thought scare you? Make you uncomfortable? If it does, your relationship with coffee and your attachment to coffee, may be unhealthy.
Now, think about something you don’t think you can do every day. If I said you had to read a novel for 10 minutes every day, would you say you didn’t have time for that?
What is that thing that you think you can’t do without? What might it be? Or the thing you really want to do but think you can’t? Don’t answer now. Answer next week.
I have been thinking about this for a while., so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m giving up.
Over the holidays I was drinking quite a bit of alcohol, mostly beer, because, well, I love beer. And the holidays started way before Thanksgiving. Every social situation was either an excuse to have a pint or three, or a glass of wine or two. Did I say glass? Maybe I meant bottle.
So when New Years rolled around I thought that if I were a resolution making person, I would give up alcohol. But thankfully, I’m not a resolution making person. So I didn’t give it up.
But simply thinking about making that resolution made me reevaluate my relationship with alcohol. I realized that it had changed over the past few months. I wasn’t only having a drink in social situations; there was wine with dinner. It wasn’t only beers on the weekends. Some weeknights were involved. It wasn’t only in the evening. Occasionally there would be a drink at lunchtime with friends. So I decided that since February was the the shortest month, I would give up alcohol for February.
Because of that decision, I became so mindful of my intake that I haven’t really been drinking at all in this new year… at all is a relative term. Relative to last year. So the month of January is almost gone, and I have already taken control of that relationship. Along the way, I have learned something.
This is not an alcohol specific behavior. I have the same relationship with beer as I do with other things. I tend to over-indulge. I do it with beer, but I also do it with bread. And pasta. And occasionally cookies. And quite often pretzels. Mmmm, pretzels.
So for twenty-eight days I am going to take control of this behavior. I will abstain from alcohol completely, and I will strongly limit my intake of carbohydrates. After this month of mindfulness, giving up beer sounds like a piece of cake. But giving up cake?!
Seriously, just thinking about giving up carbs makes me want to run into the closet with a loaf of Italian bread and a stick of butter. And that’s how I know it’s the right thing to give up. I also know I am stronger than the comfort-seeking monkey on my back. Although the monkey is screaming Oh no, you’re not, even as I type those words.
I’m still looking for the sankalpa that will guide me through the month. Maybe it is: I am stronger than I think, or I am responsible and in control. I have a week to figure it out and I’m open to suggestions.
Would you like to join me? For 28 days, we will take complete responsibility for our choices. We will take responsibility for our actions. We will take control of our interactions with people or things. Only 28 days. Maybe it will stick. Maybe it won’t. But we are certain to learn a thing or two along the way.
If you want to join me, get mindful for a week, and then come find me. You know where I’ll be. On a bar stool, with a glass of water, far far away from the pretzel bowl.
Or you can join me here: https://www.facebook.com/events/347179552086457/.