If you read Mocktails for Mommy, you know I recently decided to take a break from alcohol for a year via One Year No Beer (OYNB), an online program which I highly recommend. If you too have any concerns about the impact of alcohol on your life or want a status update on my journey, keep reading.

I went 40 days alcohol-free (AF). I felt AMAZING. Clearer skin, better sleep, more energy, and so much more; that was where I was at, and then came day 41. I had a very emotional personal situation that day and felt the desire for alcohol to cope, but thought it was all out of the house. Then a lightbulb went on and I remembered I actually had two ounces of whiskey left in the house that I had forgotten about. Can you say “self-sabotage?!”

Rather than reaching out for support, I had an ounce, not wanting someone to stop me. One ounce was enough, it did no good (duh), and I went to sleep. I thought there was no way I would consume the last ounce given my experience that night, but low and behold, the next night, I had the same illogical desire. I made a drink with the last ounce, but after half of it, poured the rest out feeling awful. Though frustrated, I felt safe in knowing my experience affirmed alcohol was never the answer to my emotional struggles and without it in the house, I would not have another slip.

Contrary to my belief, I have had four slips since then. None have been out of control, awful experiences like I have had in the past. None would constitute the term “binge.” Some were for social reasons; some emotional. However, the details are not important. What is important is the slippery slope that led to more slips was the thought, well, if I could stop at one ounce of whiskey on this day, maybe moderation is possible. I would like a drink tonight, maybe I can have just one…

Here is what my process of “experimenting with moderation” taught me though…it is about so much more than being able to moderate. Just a little bit of alcohol clouds my mental clarity, mood, energy and so much more for weeks following consumption. It causes my skin to break out, my appetite to grow, my anxiety to rise, my confidence to fall, and particularly my confidence in socializing without alcohol. Once I slipped, I forgot how excited I had been about socializing alcohol-free. When I was next in a social setting, I felt the desire for that old crutch. Ugh. Losing that excitement was NOT worth it. If I let anyone down who was inspired by my “One Year No Beer” goal, I am so sorry. I promise you that I am perfectly imperfect and I am deeply committed to sharing my journey with you…ups, downs and the in-between.

If you have concerns about your alcohol use and would like to talk, please email me at nikola@nikolarosa.com. I am always here for you. As for me, I am 70 out of 76 days alcohol-free and I am more convinced than ever that life is better sans alcohol. Through the help of my friend (OYNB partner-in-crime), I remain cautiously optimistic, choosing to focus on all the AF days instead of focusing on the slips. Also, my north star in this journey is that I had 40 days AF which was enough for me to see the difference. If I had not experienced that shift, I would not know how much drinking moderately still negatively impacts my life and well-being. It all would just seem “normal” and my success at moderation would seem “good enough.” I have seen the other side though; moderate, occasional drinking seems harmless until you take a real break from it and feel what it really is like to be toxin-free; to BE WELL.

With hope,

Nikola Rosa