Five Reasons @ Five Months

Posted On: 06.19.12

So. It’s been five months.

Five months without a lick of booze. And I feel good about this experiment even though it’s really really brutal and annoying at times. Something I’ve realized, and really come to appreciate, is how personal this decision is. As I approach the halfway mark of my yearlong experiment, I feel more than ever that this was a good thing for me to do. That said, I’ve heard from many of you who relate to my story and my struggle, and so I feel a continued motivation to share what I’ve learned so far. One thing? The reasons I’m doing this are both elusive and endless. But I thought I’d honor the five-month-mark with a little list of some of these reasons. Today, I revisit the main question people asked when I first announced my plan to dry out for four seasons. That (understandable) question: Why? Why did I walk way from wine for one year?

1. I was curious to see if I could actually do it. And if I would want to. I’m not going to lie. There have been periods in my life when I’ve wondered whether I could last for an extended (non-pregnant) period of time without drinking – or whether I would want to. This is one of the reasons I waited for two months to tell people about my dip into the dry life; I wanted to know whether I could do it, and continue with it. Five months in, I realize something wonderful and eye-opening: I do not need wine and life can be really great without it. (Except for when it’s decidedly not great and I sorely miss that glass (or two or five) of wine!)

2. I wanted to be, and feel, healthier and less anxious. I had fallen into the habit of drinking almost every night. Not a ton, but enough to affect my sleep and make me feel sluggish and puffy many mornings. I wanted to change this. Also, after having a very difficult time after giving birth to my third daughter last spring, I went into fix-it mode and found a therapist. She told me I was suffering from anxiety. She also explained that drinking only exacerbated my anxious feelings. This was a light bulb moment as I always thought my anxiety was caused by my drinking. That the reverse could be true was a genuine game-changer. Five months in, I am definitely feeling healthier and generally less anxious. (That I have at times over the last five months turned to caffeine and sugar with a problematic vengeance is its own legitimate issue. Alas.)

3. I wanted to see how non-drinking would affect my writing and my relationships. I had a hunch that drinking was making me less productive in my writing efforts and was distracting me on some level from certain important relationships – most notably those with my husband and daughters. I was interested to see whether removing alcohol from my day-to-day would unblock my creative clogs and make me more present in my moments with my creatures. Five months in, I am feeling pretty optimistic productivity-wise and things are really good with my man and my girls. Win-win-win. (Except for those times when my kids are being kids and life is being life I am thisclose to losing it and all I want is a gigantic old school glass of Pinot Grigio.)

4. I wanted to feel the things I wasn’t letting myself feel. Although I wasn’t psyched to admit it, I knew there were things I was escaping by drinking. The grief that gripped me – and continues to grip me – after losing my dad to cancer. The unfortunate anxiety of being an incurable perfectionist. The inescapable stress that comes with trying to simultaneously write a book and maintain a blog and raise small children and be a perfectly present wife and hot human being and thoughtful friend and daughter and sister… You get the picture. Five months in, I am still getting used to the feeling everything bit. This has been the hardest thing by far. There are still moments when I feel impossibly overwhelmed and would love more than anything to blur the edges of existence. (Gummy raspberries don’t work quite as well as vino did, but the Haribo hangover is far more palatable.)

5. I was spending far too much time and energy thinking about my drinking. At the end of the day, the biggest reason I decided to give up alcohol for one year is that, rightly or not, I was spending far too much emotional and existential real estate on it. Looking back, I wasted hours pondering the role of alcohol in my life — and making my husband ponder it with me. The irony is that I am now spending a good chunk of time thinking and talking about my non-drinking and how it is affecting my life and identity and is this really any better? I don’t know, but I imagine it has to be?

Maybe my problem was never over-drinking, but over-thinking? Could very well be.

To catch up on my A Year Without Wine, click here. Many of my earlier posts were originally published on an anonymous blog. Here are some of the biggies: I Sit Here Shaking. And Smiling, Can I Hold Your Hand?, Complicated (a.k.a. Three Months Without Wine), The Day I Changed, Drinking Words, I Miss It (a.k.a. Four Months Without Wine)

Are you a fellow over-thinker? Do you have any habits that concern you? What if anything do you use to numb? Would you ever give up wine or other vice for a full year?

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Oh, and...

  • I'm on the Huffington Post! I am so thrilled to tell you guys that this very post is up over on the Huffington Post. This is my first post to be published there and I am beyond thrilled. Feel free to pop over and leave me a comment there. Yay!
  • Link-Up Loveliness. I'm linking up with other thoughtful writers over at Just Write and Yeah Write, and Things I Can't Say. If you are looking to find some great blogs and connect with some wonderful bloggers, I recommend clicking on over.
  • Wild is amazing. I just cracked open Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild yesterday afternoon. I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm already blown away. Have any of you read this book?
  • Happy birthday to my sister-in-law J!



74 Comments for: "Five Reasons @ Five Months"
  1. Read and adored Wild. Worshipped. Can’t wait to discuss with you! And bravo to five months of your adventure in feeling things without a screen … in some ways that’s what it is, right? xoxo

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I can already tell how good the book is, and how much it is going to mean to me. To be honest, it’s a bit hard for me to read because I can relate so profoundly to some of the grief stuff, but that’s okay. And thank you. Indeed I am feeling things without a screen. Tricky but wonderful, too.

  2. Love this! I did one year without playing Spider Solitaire… it affected my writing so much and my time management! After one year, I started again and had to give it up once more….

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Oh no. What does that mean for my drinking? 🙂 Now I am tempted to check out Spider Solitaire. Will do my best to resist. Thanks so much for your words, Barbara.

  3. A great big GRATS!

    I couldn’t do it though. A week or more w/out the stuff I love would drive me nuts. I went w/out internet for a month and almost died! xD

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, Jenny. Given that I refresh my email approximately every four minutes, I do not think it would be possible to go a month without internet. Alas.

  4. Congratulations to you for your perseverance!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Dawn. I am realizing that so much of life is about perseverance, about hanging in there, you know? Look forward to checking out your site!

  5. What an insightful post. I think many of us suffer from over-thinking. A big Congrats on the milestone! Good for you. I’m curious – has it been harder, easier, or about what you expected?

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I am now wondering whether over-thinkers are more likely to blog. I imagine so, right? I’m so glad you asked the question you did. I think this experiment has been easier than I expected. Before I gave it up, wine had become a pretty fixed part of my lifestyle and I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to follow through. I go for large stretches of time without thinking about alcohol at all, but there are certainly times every single week when I feel a rush of emotion or anxiety and my instinct is to have a glass of wine. Those are by far the hardest times, but they come and go pretty quickly. For me, the biggest question will be what I do when this year is up. I guess I have seven months to think about it. Oh, and I will; I will most certainly over-think it.

  6. I admire your determination. Giving up anything that we use for a crutch for an entire year is hard! Congrats on all the benefits you are seeing!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much, Kenja. I very much appreciate your words. And, yes, a year is a pretty long time!

  7. Great post. I have been sober since I was in college and I always wonder what it would be like if I was drinking with kids. I hope I never know, but I am riveted by your project and your approach. Even all these years later– almost 18– I remember the anxiety and the puffiness, etc. I of course found other ways to deal in feeling avoidance, like exercise, shopping, and undereating, but there’s just something about alcohol. Great post.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Christie. So interesting and intriguing to learn that you stopped drinking after college. I’d be curious to learn more – might email you so consider yourself warned. Your comment grabs me on another level though. I find myself reaching for other things – like exercise, like nutrition, like shopping – to fill the void once filled by wine. Obviously, some of these things are healthier than others, but I sense something in me – a need to have “things” to turn to. Is this me or is this human?

  8. I’ve thought about doing the same thing for a long time — so it’s great to read your very honest reflections. Funny how we tend to over-analyze even our small, guilty pleasures. I think of myself as quite disciplined — as in, I allow myself just one glass of wine (most nights). But that one glass is important enough to me that I wonder about my attachment to it. Giving up meat was easy (never did like it that much), but I think giving up wine, even the little I drink, would be harder. Perhaps that’s because it’s not food, it’s really a reward at the end of the day. And I’m not quite sure what would replace it in my pre-frontal cortex. Really good Kombucha??

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Katrina – So wonderful to see you here. On some level, I think we thinkers are thinkers and it is in our essence to ponder these things, and sometimes over-ponder them. What’s interesting (to me) is that it was my over-thinking of my drinking that was ultimately making it so problematic. Because I was concerned about it, and fixated on it, I think I ended up drinking more – and then hating myself more in the aftermath of doing it. It was quite the cycle and I’m happy to be out of it. I have friends who objectively overdo it and are very kind to themselves the day after. They laugh, they indulge in egg sandwiches, they get on with their life. I am just not wired that way. I analyze and pick apart and aim for perfection. I am not proud of these things, but these things are mine. The drinking you describe sounds to me on some level ideal. If I were able to go back to having a glass as a singular reward at the end of the day and it was never more than that – and didn’t plague me with neurosis – I would choose that in a heartbeat. And the question of replacements? Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. For me, it’s already been many things – candy, coffee, writing, reading, exercise, shopping… Alas.

  9. I’ve been thinking about quitting for about 5 years now. Shit, i gave up coffee after drinking it for 30 years something I thought I could never do (thanks to Kris Carr) Usually i think about quitting when i have a hangover. All that wasted time feeling like shit. I also think abut quitting due to the regret of saying something i wish i hadn’t. Alcohol is like truth serum. I get WAY too ‘deep/philosophic’ and share things I oftentimes regret Otherwise I’m fairly reserved, not prone to gut spilling. My question to you is: how do you manage the parties and dinners where everyone else is drinking? This is the only time I drink for the most part and I think it’s due to anxiety. The drinking calms me into being able to go through the motions of feeling part of the group.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much for this thoughtful comment, Julie. Now you have me curious about giving up coffee! Maybe I am a creature who just likes a good challenge. But I also like my java, so I don’t know. Something that has been fascinating to me is that parties haven’t been that hard. I do find myself having to explain why I am not drinking – and more often than not, this doesn’t bother me because I get to tell people about this project and what I have learned so far. The actually abstaining from drinking doesn’t faze me. I will say that there have been some occasions when people around me have been pretty drunk and I just tend to feel a bit “out of it” or peripheral which isn’t awesome, but I tell myself in these moments that it is cool that I am so clear-headed and that I will feel good in the morning – which I do.

      I’m not going to lie and tell you – or anyone – that I don’t miss wine. I do. I miss having a glass and unwinding. I miss not having to explain myself. I miss that fun and buzzy feeling I got when I had the right amount, but not too much. But there are far more things I don’t miss, you know?

  10. I’m an expert over-thinker myself. Very interesting post and I love the structure of the list with the positives followed by something that might be undermining that positive somewhat. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Louise. It was actually fun and somewhat un-me to make a list. I tend to be the more meandering, non-linear type. But I wanted to be honest that this experiment isn’t all roses, that I am compensating in certain ways, and struggling at times. I do hope you follow along!

  11. Wow. This is a very timely post for me. I just started a cleanse yesterday. You basically give up sugar, caffeine, dairy, wheat and ALCOHOL. It’s a 21 day regimen that I have done before- but I’m just taking it week by week.

    I often joke that the coffee maker and bottle of wine are my parental support staff. I’m beginning to feel like it’s a little too true, and maybe I should stop joking about it and start seeing if I will feel better without it. So the fact that you have gone 5 months is very inspiring and lights a little fire under my ass to stick this out.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Hi! You know what’s so interesting about this? I kicked off my year with a 21-day cleanse. I did it with Husband and I had to cut out all dairy, wheat, sugar, caffeine, alcohol… It was the Clean Program. Same one? Anyway, for me, it was a fabulous way to ease into this year without wine. I realized during those three weeks how great I felt, how much energy (and optimism) I had and it made me motivated to continue. Of course, once the cleanse was over, I went back to Starbucks and drank enough coffee for a small army. And the candy situation? Not good. Have actually not had sugar in several days now and feel incredible. Might be the next thing to go, but I also don’t want to be “that person,” you know – the one who deprives herself of everything. Historically, people like that have annoyed me to no end.

      Hope you come back! Look forward to checking out your blog.

  12. I stopped drinking for those exact same reasons. Drinking stopped taking me someplace fun and kept me from being productive. I identify as an alcoholic but not everyone who stops drinking does. All I know for sure is that I don’t want my kids to watch videos of me holding onto a wine glass for dear life. That’s the big motivation.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      A big and amazing motivation indeed. I am really very curious about the label of ‘alcoholic.’ I know several alcoholics and there is no question to me that they had and have a capital P problem and will battle that problem forever. I have a friend who recently got out of rehab and she told me all about these fascinating brain scans they did to show physical addiction. I think there are countless others of us who wrestle with alcohol and other things in a much smaller, non-addictive sense… But it’s always interesting to consider these question – how we name things, how we identify ourselves in aspects of our lives. All of that said, it’s good to know there is some universality in my reasons. Thanks, Karen!

  13. Congratulations on seeing this through. I know how hard it is to give up these “crutches.” Given my tendency for addictive behaviors, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t start drinking. I just recently recognized my dependence on food and decided to do something about it. I’ve lost 20 lbs. in two months and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I eat so much. For the first time, I feel I can beat it. Stories like yours are inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Wow. I’d love to know more about what you’ve learned about overeating. I just read Julia Cameron’s The Writing Diet which was fascinating and insightful. I don’t really need to lose weight but am realizing (now that the booze is gone) that my relationship with food is not always healthy. I am really interested in learning more about nutrition and healthy living and plan to write more about these things here, so do share any wisdom you might have! 20 pounds is major. Congrats!

  14. I’m an over-thinker. I think instead of do, and then I think about how I shouldn’t do that. It’s a whole thing. I don’t know how not to over think. If you figure it out let me know!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      It’s definitely a whole thing. How can we get over overthinking without overthinking about overthinking? Alas. Look forward to checking out your site. Intriguing name for sure.

  15. I just started to pick up drinking more than usual. (usual would be special occasions) The more writing I’ve been doing the more of a habit its been to pour myself a drink or two. I know its not necessary to drink and write, I’ve done plenty of writing without drinking. But it has started to become a habit I should probably break.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I am so interested in the connection (or perceived connection) between drinking and creativity. For a long time, I was under the impression that drinking enhanced creativity, but I’m beginning to think otherwise. I do plan on posting on this question though. Thanks for the reminder to do so! Thanks for your words today, Carrie.

  16. Congratulations on five months!

  17. Interesting. I think those are good reasons – I have some of the same (why I drink) and I periodically try to cut it back. I can’t go a whole year though. I love wine too too much.

  18. This is for me, a very thought provoking post. I have often wondered about my own relationship with alcohol.

  19. Leslie R.

    I am most definitely an over-thinker. I’m so impressed with you for trying this experiment and sharing the results with us. I hardly drink at all, so giving up alcohol wouldn’t have much impact on my life. But there are certainly things that get in the way of living my life the way I want to, accomplishing things I want to do. I’d actually really like to give up coffee. I tried it once for a summer and I slept so much better and had so much more energy. Then in the fall I went back to school and got cast in a show, and I was unable (or unwilling?) to make it through that and my full time job without caffeine. Done with grad school now, though, and trying to embark on a healthier life – so a year without coffee may be forthcoming for me!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I have given up coffee for stretches of time – my first pregnancy for instance, most recently a cleanse… And I will say that it makes me feel better and more even. Without it, there are fewer energy highs and lows. That said, I just treasure my coffee and almost think of it as part of who I am and what I do. I cannot imagine plugging in at Starbucks and not sipping that big old Venti. I must say that I have learned to embrace decaf more. Hey, baby steps, right? Thanks, Leslie!

  20. Congratulations and you are bursting with inspiration! I admit to drinking some wine more frequently lately (I suffer from both anxiety & depression) & could probably stand to cut back. I don’t drink every night, and when I do, it’s one glass. But that’s no excuse.

    Anyway…this is fabulous and how exciting to be featured on the Huffington Post too!
    Yay, you!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, Erin! I am really excited about Huff Po 🙂 So interesting because I read your comment and I say to myself “well, she’s just having one glass… what’s the big deal?” but what I am learning is that these things are so idiosyncratic and it is more about how we feel about our habits. Even if our patterns are objectively “okay” we may angst over them and then there is an issue, right? So interesting to think about all of these angles.

  21. I’m impressed by the clear-headedness and strength it takes to do this. I understand exactly how you felt realizing that you were leaning on the wine as a crutch, using it to dull anxiety you needed to deal with. For me it wasn’t grief – it was a mood disorder and me dealing with it very, very poorly – but the realization was the same. Things were wrong, and needed to be faces, not drank away.

    Good luck with the rest of the year. My sympathies and condolences on the loss of your father.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks so much for this, Eric. Aren’t these realizations – however and whenever they come – really amazing? The cool and tricky thing is that we all know far better than others if we really have an “issue” with anything, you know? It is up to us to be awake and aware and honest with ourselves about how we deal (and do not deal) with what life throws our way. And thanks re: my dad. Almost four years later, I am in a pretty good place in terms of this loss but there are certainly very painful days still. I imagine (and on some level hope) there always will be.

  22. What a great trial period! I always think we can learn so much about ourselves when we challenge ourselves in these ways.

    Your last one reminded me so much of what I feel about smoking. I quit (cold turkey) because I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, but the main reason I stayed away was that I hated that feeling of always being preoccupied with something.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, Amanda. Yes, being preoccupied with something – particularly if it is a negative something – is no fun. On the other hand, there can be a beauty in preoccupation with good things – like our dreams, our families, our careers, right?

  23. Tessa S.

    I hope you reap more positives than negatives from your experiment. About seven years ago I gave up alcohol together with cigarettes – couldn’t see myself not doing one without not doing the other – the alcohol wasn’t the issue but I badly wanted to quit smoking – and I’ve not started either again since! Had no idea at the time that I could ‘cope’ as well with no alcohol but, in hindsight, I have to say that my life has been greatly improved without it. The best thing is that I feel ‘clean’ – as if my body is bearing a lesser toxin/toxic level – and I love always feeling clearheaded and energetic.

    While I am also an over-thinker – and having read the posts in this thread – I think we need to be really careful about removing too mnay things that we may associate as ‘bad habits’ from our lives – as we do, especially if we are aiming for perfection. Perhaps it is better to figure out why we do these things and if, really, they are in fact that ‘bad’. Someone commented about Solitaire – I play Solitaire – but I know why and when I do it – it’s when I am stressed or overtired and I seriously need to ‘tune out’. Playing Solitaire allows me a complete break from the over-thinking, especially when I am not in a very good state for over-thinking. So I just go with the flow – even paying for an hour or two (!!) It seems to get me back into the swing of things.

    The very big idea I want to add here is that I think we are all too busy, actually, in our lives and we should do all we can to cut back and minimize, so that we can create more time for doing ‘nothing’ – yes, seriously. I think it really helps. I mean, when last did you actually have a moment when you could say “Well, what should I do now?” Or, even better “Well, what would I like to do now?”

    Just some thoughts………

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Very very interesting thoughts here. I could not agree more that we need to be careful about stripping our lives from everything (or too many things) that could be construed as “bad.” I do not think a dogmatic pursuit for perfection makes for a very happy life – and, believe me, this is something I’ve thought about. I also do think it is critical to think about, and wrestle with, the reasons we turn to these things in the first place rather than simply working to eradicate the “things” themselves from our days. I also find the idea that we should make space for “nothingness” in our lives very, very important. You are right; I cannot remember a time when I just thought to myself “what should I do know?” I think too many of us – myself included – race around, move from place to place, without stopping to breathe, and think, and assess.

      So happy to have your words here. I do hope there will be more of them!!

  24. There is the wildly pervasive stereotype of the drunken, depressed creative soul, angsting away in his garret… but I think that’s a load of hooey. I mean, yes, there are lots of writers like that but there are also lots & lots of writers who get up, have their coffee, and as stephen king describes it, “get their butts in the chair” and just write. booze and dope and whatever else (haribo, I suppose, but i like to think those peach-flavored ones are harmless, right? please tell me they’re harmless?) … it all just gets in the way. We find clarity by being clear, not by dropping a scrim down over everything.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      There is that stereotype, isn’t there? And, at times, I think I have bought into it. There have been points where I have glorified the extra glass of wine for creativity’s sake and I guess I’m not sure I buy it anymore. I am feeling an immense (and, yes, complicated) clarity these days and I can only see it improving my “work.” Thanks so much for this, Deborah.

  25. Love this idea and your writing. Your honesty in your writing is refreshing and inspirational. Keep it up! We’ll be reading. 🙂

  26. Oh my, you are so brave, so bold, and so strong. Not only to take part in your dry little experiment, but to share your journey so eloquently.

    BTW, I love your blog design. I shall have to drop back by to explore some more.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks so much, Kerry Ann. For obvious reasons, I was intrigued by the name of your own site. Happy to have found you and your words in this odd ether!

  27. congrats on being picked up!! so wonderful! Also? so wonderful that you are exploring this for yourself. These seasons of self-exploration more than anything i think will help your creative process {although, certifiable over-thinker here, as well 🙂 }

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      So happy to have encountered another over-thinker in the ether! Seasons of self-exploration… I really like that. I can only imagine doing this will help the creative process, but I guess I will have to wait and see. All very interesting no matter what. I love your blog and am happy to see you here. Thanks, Tara!

  28. Awesome post, awesome willpower, awesome, just awesome.

  29. J

    What an interesting experiment. I’ll be interested after your year is up, if you decide it was a learning experiment, and again embrace the wine, or if you decide it was life changing, and stay clear of it. I have friends who have done both, and they both seem pretty happy with their decisions.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I keep thinking about this now, namely what I will do at the end of the year. My hunch is that I will return to drinking very minimally, but I guess I don’t know yet. I trust and hope that the next seven months bring some answers in this regard. Thanks, J!

  30. The feeling is the worst. It hurts to feel. You’re brave and I admire you. Congrats and you’ve got the support of this Peach.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much. Feeling is such a tricky thing, isn’t it? Love your blog name. Look forward to checking it out!

  31. I’m only a month in but yes yes yes yes yes yes yes to #5. Also, do you read She committed to a dry year and just had her five month soberversary too. You two are on the same timeline.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Congrats on one month!!! We must compare notes 🙂 Will check out the sober party girl… definitely intrigued. Thanks, B.

  32. Wow. I was so surprised to find you and discover we have both decided to give up alcohol for one year and that we both just celebrated our five month soberversary. CONGRATS to us! I would add to your list that I was afraid I was an alcoholic and wanted to figure that out before I took another drink. I am looking forward to pouring over your blog! Take care!

  33. 5 months, wow! I don’t think I’ve ever gone that long unless I was pregnant. My drinking isn’t all the time, but I don’t think I’d want to give it up. Going to be following along with your journey to see how it goes!

  34. Karin

    I drew a line in the sand, or perhaps concrete, at the end of May to drink no beer and no Diet Coke for the month of June. What I actually said was, “Just the month of June and then I’ll reevaluate.”

    The Diet Coke thing went better than I thought it would as I had set myself up for major caffeine headaches but they didn’t really come.

    The beer thing has been fine too. What triggers the quickest, even higher than my husband popping the top on a frosty one, is to see someone drinking on a TV show. All of a sudden I think, “Sure would like a beer right about now.” Interesting how quickly that passes when I don’t act on it.

    Here I am days before the end of June. Don’t know what I’ll decide regarding July but I suspect it will at least be Diet Coke free.

    I admit this has been a high-stress month due to family health issues. I’m glad I didn’t try to numb myself. I know I stayed more present. It would have taken a lot of alcohol and still not solved any of the problems.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Wow. It really is wonderful to know that others out there are experimenting with these things, and flirting with the notion with change. I am curious to know what you decide, so keep me (and all of us) posted. I have no idea what I will decide come January, but I guess I have time to think (and over-think) about it, right? Thanks for another thoughtful comment, Karin!

  35. Amy

    I have been toying with following your year without wine. The past few months I have been leaning on wine too much, I think and it’s dulled me.I am so nervous to give it up and for now, I’m starting at a month. I just want to be sure I can give it up for a month and still enjoy things and unwind without alcohol. I’m hoping that my love for running and yoga (and my husband) show me that there is not a need for a nightly glass (or two!) of wine. Thanks for the inspiration! I love this blog and hearing your honest thoughts on wine (and life).xxxoo

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Do a month and see how you feel. I so understand the nervousness of embarking upon something like this. My hunch is that you will realize, and quickly too, how great you feel without it, how beautiful and clear things are without the gloss of wine. There will be hard moments, sure, but you will get through them and feel a new kind of strength on the other side. Please please email me if you want to chat more about this. I am full of thoughts and realizations that I’d be happy to share. xxo

  36. Thank you for this blog.

    When I read about your reasons for having a year without alcohol, I felt as though I were looking into a crystal ball. I’m trying to write , and every day that I wake up feeling even just a bit tired or a bit less motivated, I shadow box with myself about the two glasses of wine I had the night before. Reading your blog struck a real chord, and I’m thinking, ‘if She can do it, then so can I’I, and now I know I’m not alone. Thanks so much, and please continue with the updates.

    best wishes,, from Annabelle

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you so much, Anabelle. So good to know that I am not alone in these questions and these struggles. Today is actually my six month mark. I have gone half a year without alcohol. And that is major and I am proud, but I am also wondering why. Why I am doing this. I’d love for you to read my entry today. Maybe you have some sage words of encouragement? So happy you are following along. All my best, Aidan.

  37. Kate

    So glad I found this blog you’ve inspired me to keep on with trying to give up wine!im just trying to quit through the week at first… Small steps x

  38. I’m approaching my five month mark this week and popped over to read your Five Reasons @ Five Months blog post from 2012. You continue to inspire and motivate me. Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s still making a difference today.

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