I gave up alcohol for Lent, and now, I'm afraid to drink again.
There: I said it.
I can't wait to drink alcohol again. Like, I can almost smell the lime after the tequila shot.
But that scares me. I'm like that girl who is now gluten-free, but just wants to eat bread again. I know how hard it's been to give it up.
In the past few weeks, I've had major anxiety, restlessness and low self-esteem. I finally turned away from carbs. I'm eating healthier, and I've started running.
It took so long to see any physical differences in my appearance. Everything is pretty much the same, plus or minus a pound... and I mean literally one freakin' pound.
I've been so freaked out during this sober time, I got the "I'm So Freaking Freaked Out" journal on my last official sober weekend in Chicago.
This may sound overdramatic... and it is. Because I really did love this journey of sobriety.
I loved learning to eat healthier. I liked finding Brussel sprouts and asparagus at Trader Joe's, and then cooking them at night. Sometimes, I've even been pushed out of my apartment due to the smoke of said vegetables.
I loved that in the beginning, I didn't mind drinking two – yes, two – liters of water at the bar so I wouldn't cave. I loved having sober nights in, drinking tea and eating strawberries while watching TV with my friends.
There's a lot I loved about being sober. But, there were major downfalls I had to deal with.
I had to deal with being shy and awkward. I thought alcohol was causing the problems, but it was really just a means of PROLONGING the problems.
I wasn't dealing with them: I was drinking to them.
I have learned as I have given up one vice – alcohol – there are still many more vices I need to come to terms with. Now, I need to make more healthy lifestyle changes.
Giving up alcohol for Lent was like a three-day juice cleanse. I guess it's kind of good.
It's challenging, but the real benefit of getting through those three days is so you can jumpstart a holistic change afterward. If you're going to eat an entire pizza on the fourth day, then it's not really worth the struggle of the three.
And so, I'm afraid to drink again. I've already started planning out the moment when I can have my first tequila shot, but it scares me because I have come this far. I went from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, and that's 44 days... almost a month and a half without libations.
Before I started this journey, my friend asked me if I was mentally prepared to give up alcohol, or if I did anything to prepare to be sober.
I hadn't. I read two articles the night before I gave up alcohol for Lent, and they both made me prepare for the fact that I really wasn't going to notice any dramatic changes, even though it was going to be difficult to give up alcohol.
I didn't mind giving up alcohol in the beginning. But then, I started craving it. I felt like I was missing out.
A guy would tell me on a date that I was tense and needed a drink. I started feeling uncool because I was sober. The first question a guy will ask if he wants to meet you – at least in my experience – is "Would you like to grab a drink?"
And I would just explain how I gave up alcohol for Lent. Guys were OK with it. Sometimes, they were even impressed.
And my dating life didn't suffer because I was sober, either: We just did different things, like going for walks.
Overall, everyone has a different experience upon giving up alcohol. I didn't really see increased savings in my checking account because I said "no" to a lot of free drinks.
I didn't lose weight. My skin still needs a weekly face mask and extra concealer.
But the biggest difference is how I feel. Mentally I feel the same, but physically, I feel different. I no longer have that "full feeling," and I haven't been bloated once since giving up alcohol.
Change is gradual and infectious. And in the age of instant gratification, the benefits to giving up alcohol may not be as alluring.
Maybe just drinking in moderation might be the best approach. Honestly, I don't want to repeat this whole process again.