120 Days Alcohol Free: Self Care Day

Today I did something I haven’t done in a really long time.

I just…relaxed.

Well, maybe relaxed isn’t the exact word. But today, I had a “me day.” And it was nice.

After nearly breaking down completely on Wednesday and reflecting more on the things that continue to cause me pain, I realized that although I’ve been doing a great job of keeping myself busy and getting shit done, I’ve been woefully negligent of my own self-care, to the point of almost complete overwhelm.

So, yesterday, I made sure to get my two major homework assignments done so that I could enjoy the weekend more fully without worrying. I spent the evening with my boyfriend and, because his internet service was out, we actually spent some time talking with each other and listening to records, instead of mindlessly watching a movie. It was nice.

When we woke up this morning, we went for a quick breakfast before he took off to get his internet situation figured out. I decided to hit the gym, where I lifted weights for about an hour. I always love lifting, because it helps create such a unified feeling of physical and mental power. Not to mention, I’ve never been someone with well-defined musculature, especially in my arms, and seeing that develop now is really exciting. So, I had a good workout, and I rewarded myself with a peanut butter, banana & chocolate protein smoothie afterward.

As I was leaving the gym, I didn’t really want to go home yet, so I decided to drive over to one of the nearby lakes in the area. The weather has been disturbingly beautiful for this time of year. I’m talking 70 degrees F/21 degrees C in early November, in the upper Midwest region of the United States – a place that typically has snow on the ground and 32-degree weather by this time of year. What the hell?!

Anyway, despite my underlying climate change anxiety, I decided to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather by taking a long walk around the lake. I didn’t wear headphones or bring my phone, so it was just me and the scenery, and all the people around me walking their dogs and enjoying the day. I even saw a cute couple with their cat on a harness and it melted my heart. I walked for about an hour and cherished the sun on my skin.

After that, as I got into my car, in a moment of weird inspiration I decided to get a tattoo that I’d been debating back and forth in my mind for some time. Two tattoos, actually: my two favorite punctuation marks (because I’m a grammar nerd), one on each forearm. So I headed to my favorite tattoo shop, and within an hour, I came out freshly inked. I have 10 tattoos now, each with their own unique story and meaning, and I always leave the shop trying to plan the next. But I’m happy with the two I got today. They’re modest but fun, unique enough to perhaps spark conversations, and both a small reminder to me of where I’ve been, and where I’m going.

With bandages still wrapped around my arms, I went to my favorite local pizza joint and grabbed a slice of pizza with a soda water + cranberry. This is a pizza joint that I would regularly walk to when I lived across the street over a year ago, and I’d get two or three beers plus two large slices of pizza, two or three times a week. I don’t know what I was really looking for when I went there like that, already buzzed looking for more booze to fill me, and comfort food to top it all off. Probably wishing to be noticed, only to stumble home in the dark. A sobering thought as I sat there at that same bartop, munching my pizza and hydrating with sparkling water.

When I finished up there, I drove myself home. I drew a bath and sat in the warm water for 45 minutes, reading. Showered, dressed, cuddled up in bed with my computer. Allowed myself to nearly get sucked into Election 2016 coverage but decided that enough was enough. No need to add extra anxiety or depressing thoughts to my day. I shut it off and watched a comedy special, and then started watching Lost.

And that’s it, really. I’m sitting here now, about to start my 4th Episode of Lost (season 3, episode 19!) because I’m content with just finding a way to be a little distracted, rather than feeling like I have to be “doing life” at 110% today. I finally feel okay with taking a break.

It’s been nice today, doing nothing of true substance. Just taking a day for myself – and spending several hours of it in my own bed, letting myself rest. I knew that breaking down and crying the other night, feeling so completely overwhelmed and unmotivated to do anything was a sign that I needed to hit the brakes for a mental reset. Life with all its demands is tough enough – throw in some mild depression, recovery from an abusive relationship with alcohol, and a complete uncertainty about where things are going to go next, and you’ve got a pretty sweet recipe for a personal disaster.

Anyway, I just thought I’d check in on this 120th day being alcohol free, to say that self-care can and should be practiced, before you reach the point of needing some serious intervention. Especially if you’re freshly sober. Shit ain’t easy, but it’s worth it.

3 thoughts on “120 Days Alcohol Free: Self Care Day

  1. shehidbehindtheglass says:

    Yay you!! Sounds like an absolutely wonderful few days. I’m so glad you were able to do that for yourself – it’s so important! We’re enjoying freakishly warm weather here too (I’m guessing that I’m somewhere above you in Canada – we usually have cold and snow by now and this weekend it’s almost 20c!)

    Liked by 1 person

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