Karie Hill

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Lessons of A 46-Day Vacation from Booze

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(I wasn’t booze-free in this picture)

It was part of a 40-day commitment I made for my Kundalini Yoga teacher training.

“Teacher, add 40 days of no alcohol to the list!”

OMG! What have I done? This was a bad idea. What was I thinking? No wine with the girls! No whiskey! No Sunday Funday! 40 days?! 

I was totally freaked out by this commitment, so I knew I had to do it.

I’m not an everyday drinker and rarely have alcohol in my house; but when I do go out, I love to get silly.

Bring on the karaoke!

SOCIAL PRESSURE

The hardest part was the first week.

“Can I have just a water with lemon?”

Oh, gawd. The waitress thinks I’m a total jerk and probably hates me for taking away from her tip that the two glasses of wine would normally add.

Have you ever felt that way?

Some of my friends (and I’m in my 30s) were really bummed that I wouldn’t be drinking for 40 days.

How much do we do that involves drinking?

I went down the list: canoe trip with the tied off cooler. beach day mimosas. cider and rum after pumpkin picking.

It somehow finds its way into everything!

I almost gave in when I let my favorite guy down on his holiday:

“You’re not going to have a beer with your grandpa on St. Patrick’s Day?”

I had no idea how much social pressure I felt.

After I stopped feeling bad (the waitress will be fine), I loved my booze vacation:

“You look so clean!”

No booze for 46 days meant less work for my liver and a cleaner diet.

Seriously, who craves green juice and salad after a night of red wine? Not me!

I felt cleaner and more vibrant. I slept better and woke up earlier.

My (I believe) pancreas was bugging me for months. I felt healed within the first week!

Saved lots of cash

I live in downtown Chicago. 46 days of no wine at dinner. Enough said!

I was more productive and present

My greatest takeaway:

Going out and “getting silly” was my go-to when I felt overwhelmed or uncertain.

Rather than deal with how I felt, I would go have fun and forget about my to-do list.

The next day I had a perfect excuse for why I couldn’t write or show up as my best.

I blamed it on how much I loved to have fun. Now I know it was part of how I limited myself.

Will I drink again? 

Yes. I don’t know that I’ll ever give it up for good, although I have considered.

I do know that the experience has changed my relationship to drinking and what it means to have fun.

5 Tips For a Booze Vacation:

1. Get clear on your intentions.

My intention was to be more disciplined and challenge myself to something I thought would be really difficult.

2. Make the commitment to/or with someone else. 

Knowing that I would have to face my yoga teacher was enough to keep me committed.

3. Find a drink replacement. 

Going booze-free doesn’t mean you have to stay home. Order soda water with lime. It’s tasty and you’ll feel like you’re having a drink.

4. Make fun plans.

I took a hip hop dance class on a Friday night. I went on nighttime walks, attended an art show, and had tea dates.

5. Notice how you feel.

Keep a journal on how you feel. Pay attention to your skin and weight. Notice how much better your decision making is.

Enjoy the clarity and vibrance.

Have you ever taken a booze vacation? How was the experience?  If not, have you thought about it? Leave a comment below.

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14 Responses to “Lessons of A 46-Day Vacation from Booze”

  1. Molly says:

    Hey Karie! I’ve considered and TRIED this many times, even using some of the strategies you mention. I appreciate your insight and information into how powerful it was for you. Thanks for the motivation to try again – I’ve had some pretty interesting events that lead me to think now is a great time to try!

    Bless,
    Molly

    • Karie says:

      Hey Molly! I also tried it twice before and failed within a week. It was making the commitment to my yoga teacher that helped me this time. I did not want to disappoint that lady! You can do it! Thanks for the comment.

  2. haha this is so perfectly timed. I’m in the middle of a “booze vacation”. No Cinco de Drinko tonight. I’m on Day 37 and I may have another 40ish days ahead of me.

    Tea has become my go-to replacement. I can’t have caffeine either so it’s all herbals for me. My body is forcing me to take care of her. I’m starting to get antzy having to think about each and every food choice. Thanks for the perspective and mindset shift. I’ll be setting an intention so this stops feeling restrictive and starts feeling more enjoyable :)

    • Karie says:

      Day 37! That’s awesome. No Cinco de Drinko … haha! The great part about you is you’re so fun. You don’t even need to drink when you’re out. Plan a salsa dancing night. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Pamela says:

    I’m actually on one right now, just started May 1st. After an emergency gallbladder removal in March where the surgeon took a picture of my ridiculously inflamed gallbladder with over 100 stones in it that I had obviously ignored for way too long, I figured it was time to start listening to my body more intently. So, after continuing to drink and feeling completely awful the next day, I figured my body was telling me something and I should be listening. I also thought about how inflamed my gallbladder was and what the rest of me looked like inside (could my gallbladder be that inflamed without other parts of me being inflamed as well?) and I know that alcohol causes inflammation so….here I am trying to love my body and myself a little more without the distraction of alcohol. Haven’t put an end date to it yet but 40 days seems like a good start. :) This post couldn’t have had better timing!

    • Karie says:

      Pamela, I love that you shared this. What a great lesson in listening to your body. We make our bodies work so hard! I know I was ignoring the pain I felt for months. Glad you’re taking good care of her now. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Valerie Cox says:

    LOL! I went on a booze-free vacation when I was 31 years old, I’m still on it at age 44. My dad was an alcoholic, who abused us kids. My first husband was an alcoholic, who ran around on me. I drank socially, often getting plastered. When I met my second husband, he did not want a wife that drank alcohol – period. I knew he was the one for me, so I had to give it up. His aunt had died a slow death when her liver began to fail and he watched as she deteriorated. He made a vow not to ever drink. I made that same vow over 13 years ago and we have an adorable 5 year old. I study suicide prevention, trauma and neuroscience. I showed my son pictures from Dr. Daniel Amen’s website showing holes in the brain from people who abuse alcohol and drugs. He said, “I never want to do that!”. Alcohol never brought any good into my life, yet I still drank it (before my current husband.) I have no regrets giving it up. My friendships changed, as I met other women who wanted to do different things for fun. I encourage any woman who has a problem with alcohol to get the help they need and start facing and dealing with their problems. Healing comes in facing problems, and more hurting comes from avoiding them. Hugs:)

    • Karie says:

      Such great insight, Valerie. I love that you shared that you found new friendships and new things to do. It’s so true! There’s so much to do and your inner circle shifts in the best way. What a great example for your child. Thank you for the comment!

  5. Ashley Taylor Yannello says:

    :) Incredible Karie. I really admire you for following through on this and I’m sure it brought a lot of lessons and most of all your strength. Funny how booze always seems to find a way in the bulk of our social gatherings with fam, friends and beyond.

    Also! Kundalini Yoga teacher! What What :) Seriously that’s major – we need a catch up juice or tea one of these days.

    xo
    Ashley

    • Karie says:

      Thanks, Ashley! Yes, lots of lessons. I loooove Kundalini. Come to a class sometime (Kundalini in the Loop). Not sure if I’ll ever teach but the training has led to some incredible personal growth. 6 months to go! Thanks for the comment.

  6. Tee says:

    I went a month without drinking before I got married. I looked and felt the best I had felt in years! I need to try it again sometime!

    • Karie says:

      I didn’t know you went a month before your wedding. You did look gorgeous! We should both try again in August after wedding season. Thanks for the comment!

  7. Laura Yamin says:

    Congrats on the commitment and following through going booze free for 46 days.

    Alcohol is weird substance for me. Personally it’s not my drug of choice but I have respect towards it. I tend to air on the side of going booze-free with the occasional drink here and there.

    Let’s just say for my other drugs of choice such as cupcakes and other sugary form deliciousness well they call for a new level of surrender. It all comes down to if I am willing to take things one day at a time.

    • Karie says:

      Thanks, Laura! I agree. Alcohol IS weird. I can’t remember a good decision I’ve ever made during a night of boozing (except karaoke). Maybe a 40-day vaca from sugar for you? Thanks for the comment!

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