Should I Quit? (The 6 Month Question)

Posted On: 07.16.12

Well, it’s been six months. I’m halfway through my Year Without Wine (and all brethren booze). And I’m not going to lie: I’m losing steam.

It’s not so much that I am jonesing for a glass of wine. Really, I find that I am rarely craving a drink which is both surprising and cool, but there have been times when it would have been so nice to participate in the sipping sense. A couple of examples?

The Wedding. We went to a wonderful wedding recently in Saratoga, New York. It was a truly gorgeous and happy affair in the most exquisite locale and there was this marathon indoor/outdoor cocktail hour where people floated from green grass to lavish buffets to beautifully-stocked bars. There was a signature drink – a sage martini, I think – that sounded particularly summery and delish. And I would have tried it had I not been doing this thing I am doing.

The Vacation. Over the Fourth of July holiday, we spent a week in Cape Cod. The weather was downright glorious and we hung out with family we rarely have a chance to see. Before dinner each night, everyone cracked a cold beer or poured a glass of wine. I would have loved to follow suit. I think it would have helped me relax a bit. (Note: “Vacations” with kiddos are not exactly spa-like in their serenity.)

Anyway, neither was a big deal. Both times were lovely and I had fun. It’s just that I felt a bit quiet, a bit thinky, a bit peripheral to everything. Maybe I’m fooling myself (always a good possibility), but I think a drink or two would have mellowed me out and made me sink into my moments more. At the wedding, I might have hit the dance floor more than I did. In Cape Cod, I might have been able to savor the sunsets and feel more mellow.

The truth: A question has been floating through my mind recently:

Should I quit?

It’s been six months. This is substantial. I have learned so much about myself and my patterns. I have truly learned that fun can be had without swimming in Pinot Grigio. I have honestly concluded that I do not need alcohol to function, to deal, to cope.

So. Why continue with this self-imposed exercise in alcohol avoidance?

Truth be told, I don’t have a solid answer to this one, but I plan to keep on going. I guess I feel that if I have learned so much in the first six months, it’s likely that there’s a lot more to learn in the next six. I guess I am a perfectionist, a goal girl, and I like to follow through with things I set out to do. I guess that deep down I believe there are compelling, if elusive, reasons for me to make it to the year-mark.

And so. I’ve been trying to focus on all of the really positive things that I’ve felt since January. And one thing, one simple thing, that stands out? I haven’t had a single hangover. I think this is why I enjoyed my pregnancies so much (after the first trimester which honestly felt like one long hangover) – because I never felt that dull, achy, anxious, icky aftermath of too much sauce. The truth is that my ability to drink has waned over the years and I was feeling hungover a fair bit when I was drinking. Even after a moderate amount. I was waking up too many mornings feeling slow and shameful and, in retrospect, it really wasn’t a fun way to start the day.

So six months without a hangover? Pretty amazing. Maybe this is reason enough to keep on keeping on?

Thoughts on hangovers? Are you able to power through them or do they tend to drag you down? Are you able to drink in such a way that you avoid hangovers? Do you agree that vacations and weddings are more enjoyable with a bit of booze? Most importantly though, should I keep going? Convince me, people!

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Oh, and...

  • In case you missed them, here are my other YWW musings at: five months, four months, three months, two months... And my probably my most vulnerable ADR/YWW post to date: The Day I Changed.
  • Oh, and confession: I just spent a good chunk of change on Amazon ordering books on alcohol and life. I guess at this point in the game, I am craving glimpses into other people's lives and stories, and also more information on alcohol and what it does and doesn't do for us... Anyway, should have much to write about going forward! Any good book recs on these topics?



52 Comments for: "Should I Quit? (The 6 Month Question)"
  1. Jan

    It’s funny because you don’t seem like you are losing steam. Rather, you seem strong but curious about why it will be good to continue. I think it is only natural that you evaluate and reevaluate why you are doing this experiment. For what it’s worth, I think you should keep going because it is clear to me – even from afar – how much you are gaining and learning from this. I so enjoy reading your updates on this project because I know that I can relate on so many levels.

    Of course weddings and vacations call for a drink, but kudos to you for enjoying both without that drink.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks. When I reread my own words, I guess you are right that I am not exactly losing steam, but maybe my metaphorical “steam” is evolving. The things that motivated me at the outset do not seem to be the things that are motivating me now. My reasons are evolving. Maybe this is natural, and good? And, yes, it’s not a shocker that I was missing the glass of wine at the wedding or on the vacation… Thanks for your support… I shall keep on for now and keep you in the loop as to how this little experiment evolves. Happy Monday!

  2. JHL

    Keep going! I think there is something about setting goals and sticking to them… I can’t remember where, but you said something (I think) about why you want to do this for a whole year – something about all 4 seasons, etc. Maybe these times – weddings, vacations, summer (?) – are just part of that cycle. How would you feel if you walked away from this now? Relieved? Disappointed? Happy? Regretful? I say keep it up. Selfishly maybe because I’m learning a lot *watching* you do this.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      It’s hard to know how I would feel if I abandoned this self-imposed exercise in avoidance midway through. My gut is that I would probably feel disappointed in myself for not seeing it out. Thank you for reminding me that I said that about a year. I do think there is something meaningful about making it through an entire year, each season, each milestone, etc. I am so happy that I experienced last Thursday (the anniversary of Dad’s death) without pouring a glass. Honestly? It made it a more clear and compelling day.

      So happy to hear you are gaining something while watching me do this odd thing I am doing.

      Thanks, JHL!

  3. LC

    Hi, Aidan! This post reminds me I still owe you an email with my story. I’ll get myself together and send it to you very soon.

    I can tell you that my first year of being sober was all about not drinking. This second year (I have almost 20 months sober now) seems to be all about my THINKING. Why did I feel the need to drink? Why did (do) I feel such anxiety in some situations which would make me turn to alcohol in the past? It’s been very hard work, but it is paying off. I see you exploring similar things within yourself, and it’s been a great thing to watch.

    I can also recommend Drinking: A Love Story, by Caroline Knapp; and Guts, by Kristen Johnston. Both are excellent reads.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, LC. No worries about that email though I do look forward to it. Interesting that you went from a phase of not drinking to one of thinking… And here I am, overthinking my non-drinking 🙂 So funny because I am halfway through Knapps’ book and am adoring it. Must check out Johnston’s book, too. It is truly fascinating to glimpse other people’s stories and struggles, you know?

  4. see your goal through… the short term benefits don’t outweigh the goal (at least in my opinion)… this was very important to you – almost heartachingly so… there are different kinds of ‘hard parts’ – physical, emotional, psychological… i would imagine there are stages to this just as there are to grief and anything else one has to keep moving through to get to the resolution…
    a year is a true commitment – and you will be so proud of yourself for completing it… and happy to keep being without hangovers with three happy, chattering little ones about…
    i guess, aidan, life is about developing practices – we practice kindness and compassion, awareness… i work in metal, you work with words, but we practice our crafts each day… some people practice yoga or meditation… the idea being that with each day of exercising the correlating muscle, it becomes a bit more ingrained, we develop muscle memory…
    i think that riding your goal out is just really important – and not to look at it in terms of how many days are left in the year to complete it, but as how many days you have already come…

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you for this. I am realizing something pretty cool, namely that this is one of the reasons I decided to write about my year without wine – to get the thoughtful support of all of you guys reading. I do think there are probably stages though I am not in a position to discern what they are. I think I am entering a phase of confidence, of clarity, of knowing – maybe even of smugness. I think I need to enjoy this feeling of increased mastery while remembering just why I embarked on this year. I also think I am beginning to crave information about alcohol and its effects, and I am also beginning to crave other people’s stories which is probably why I am interested in finding good books on the topic.

      I appreciate your imploring me to look at how far I have come rather than the distance that’s left to travel. This is important, I think. To realize that I have gone an entire half-year without a sip. This is major. And writing this makes me smile and realize I WANT to continue.

      Thanks, Mary Jane. So much.

  5. Emily

    With me, my goals sometimes evolve to have less to do with the catalyst that causes them and more to do with proving a point. To myself, to others, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t think this is really a bad thing. The point you may be trying to prove first and foremost is that you can do this. You are halfway there! Sure, after this is all over you may find the point you were trying to prove is that you don’t need it. You can deal with life without it. However, it sounds like you are finding the key moments where it will help you along enjoyably without taking away from moments and the ability to be 100% present. I think you are right, six months has presented six months of moments where you have particularly missed it. I think by finishing the next six, you will find even more. And that’s ok. That’s good. Even if you look back next Fourth of July, after pouring that glass of wine before dinner and think, “that was hard. Really hard, but I did it.”
    Keep going, girl! You’re doing awesome. As I get older, I have issues with hangover symptoms too…more than one glass of wine and I am waking up with a dry mouth and a headache. *sigh*

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Emily, for these words of encouragement. As I said to Mary Jane, I think this is why I made the (hard) decision to be so public about this break from wine. I think I knew a time would come when I would feel blah about continuing and would need people to point out the reasons for me to keep going. I think you are right that the next six months will present even more moments when I would really like to “participate” and these moments might be different in hue than the wedding moments or the vacation moments and that this is all okay, good even. I am learning a great deal about myself and my vulnerabilities and I am eager to continue this course in self even though there are certainly times when I am tempted to drop out. Re: the hangover thing, I am guessing this is just a product of age and maturity as most people I speak to admit that they cannot consume too much without ill-effect the next day. Guess this isn’t a terrible thing ultimately, perhaps our bodies way of hinting that we should slow down the sipping. Thanks again!

  6. Tessa S.

    I say stick with it, Aidan, and complete the year. While your goals may be evolving, you do need to go back and remember what this was all about at the start. Go back to the core of what put you on this road. Don’t get distracted and derailed. And as Mary Jane said, look at all the successful steps you’ve made so far along the way – count your achievement so far to this point. Keep your eyes down, focused directly ahead. Do not look up to see how far there still is to go. And you don’t even need to be concerned with the effort required to complete a further 6 months. You’ve already proved, beyond doubt, that you can do 6 months. You already are a champion.

    After 7 years of no alcohol myself, there is no way I am going back – and you do get stronger and stronger with it as time passes. I have got over the things you are currently battling with, which I now think of as just small ‘bumps’ along the way. I also thought I couldn’t hit the dance floor and have enough fun without alcohol, but I think these are just strange notions we cling to (and could be interesting to examine why we hold on to these notions). Hitting the dance floor, dancing up a storm and having heaps of fun are all about personal choice. They are not things that are sold in a bottle of alcohol.

    As an interesting exercise, I would suggest drawing up a list of the pros and cons. On one sheet do the pros and cons of the way things are now with not drinking alcohol, and then do a second sheet doing the pros and cons of how things would be if you were to start drinking alcohol again. It may be interesting to see what comes up. The absolute bottom line for me is that I would still drink alcohol if it was possible for me to have just one glass of wine and then switch to water or soda. I found I just couldn’t do this and I too often ended up on a slippery slope.

    Go, Aidan, go! You can do it !

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thank you, Tessa. I am particularly struck by what you say about the dance floor. Why is it that I think and believe that a glass of wine would fee me up to do such things? Probably because that is what I know. I’d be curious to learn if I could be the kind of creature who could be free and a bit wild without the booze. I think it’s entirely possible. So so interesting how we make these (often questionable) connections in our minds, huh?

      I would be so curious to learn more about your seven years without alcohol. Might have to email you!

  7. Kristen

    I know you plan to continue on the no alcohol train, but I hope you can motivate yourself again. Please know that many of your followers admire your journey. Keep going – we’re all rooting for you!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, Kristen. I am motivated. That’s the thing. But I guess I am feeling much stronger than I did 6 months ago and less in need of this drastic experiment. Maybe though that’s reason enough to keep on going, right? That I am feeling so good, so strong?

  8. Anna

    Try setting a shorter term goal–don’t drink for 1 more month. Then re-assess. Thinking about only being halfway there is probably difficult.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Such a good way to look at it, to take baby steps. I remember when I was trying to lose the weight after Little was born, I would set 2-5 pound goals for myself instead of saying I want to lose all of it… It really did help to break it up like that. On August 17, I will reassess! 🙂

  9. I’m glad you’re struggling with this. Not because I wish struggles for you, but because it means that you’re not walking through this experiment blindly, and you’re still thinking critically about why you’re doing it, what it’s accomplishing, and so on. If you stay the course you will for sure gain two things: 1) Six more months of observations and reflections, and 2) The satisfaction of having completed the year.

    That said, sometimes goals need adjusting. You made this decision not knowing how not drinking would affect you. Now you have six months worth of data points and you can make an informed decision about what to do with the next six months. If you decide to adjust your goal it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve bailed on the experiment. It just means you’ve been strategic and thoughful about making a change.

    Lastly, if you do decide to take a different path for the next six months. You could practice drinking, but minimally. You mentioned the enjoyment of no hangovers. Perhaps you could set a “no hangover” goal of no more than one drink a day, and a max of three drinks a week (or similar), so that you would be better able to participate in social conventions, but without the painful aftermath. There is a whole continuum of options between “too much wine” and nothing at all.

    Asking the question is always the right place to start. I know you’ll make your decision the right one, whichever one you choose.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      You so get me, Gale. Maybe that sounds weird, but I feel that way. As I was writing this post, truly asking myself whether I should continue with this, I kept saying to myself, It is good that I am wondering, it is good that I am confused, that I am asking such questions. I agree that there is no right answer, but my instinct tells me to see out the year. I’m not sure why, but I think it will be more than worth it. But you can bet I will continue to over-think it all and ask a billion questions 🙂 Thanks, you. xox

  10. This is one of those posts where I feel compelled to say something, but I’ve been going back and forth as to what because honestly… I feel terribly uncomfortable with the question of “Should I keep going?” because I feel like that’s a question that only you can answer.

    What I can say is that I’ve found the posts I’ve read in the Year Without Wine series to be really interesting and intellectually stimulating, and I can certainly relate to your journey because of circumstances within my own.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      You are right: It is only a question I can answer and I think I probably answered it before I even finished asking it in this post, but I guess part of me is craving camaraderie at this halfway point and part of me is curious to see what you all think. I think including others in this journey (hate that word btw) has made it so much more interesting and rewarding and it feels good to include you all today, as I ask some big questions. It means a great deal that you can relate to my words and my story. Thanks!

  11. Jill

    I’m not sure I can (or should) comment on whether you should continue with your year because I’m a lousy goal setter and goal-keeper. What I want to say instead:
    I so so admire what you are doing. The specifics of the goal you set, but also the general-ness of setting a goal and really sticking to it. When we met, my husband set a random goal for himself each year, “just because.” Like- no red meat, no wheat products, etc. I never fully appreciated the significance of this practice (as a PRACTICE) until now, reading your thoughts.
    Also- as a goal non-setter/goal breaker (think: i am not having any more girl scout cookies….well, maybe just one more) I just also want to say that if you choose to amend your goal or take a break from the challenge, I would hate for you to spend time beating yourself up about it. Self-flagellation is often the go-to activity of perfectionists. (maybe that’s why I don’t set deprivation kinds of goals, because I don’t like to fail!) And the fact you’ve achieved what you have should be honored in your heart, no matter what step you take next. My humble thoughts and appreciation for what you are sharing.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Wow. Thanks so much, Jill. I do worry that I would beat myself up if I didn’t keep on going for the year. Alas, I am a member of the Perfectionist Species. I think more than that though, I know, if implicitly, that the last six months have been so positive and clear and lesson-ridden. I am feeling comfy now in this no-drinking thing which allows the wiggle room to ask questions about continuing, but I think, deep down, I want to keep this up for at least another 6 months. I think the interesting (and complicated) point will be next January when my year is up and I must decide what to do. At this point, I’m not sure at all what path I will choose. Guess that’s okay?

  12. First of all, amazing job so far – I know you’ve inspired a lot of people. Second, I don’t think a SINGLE person would even blink if you decided to stop now… except maybe yourself. There’s a chance that if you don’t get to the end of one year, you might later think back and wonder/wish that you had, just to have seen what you’d learn, how you’d feel, etc. But this should only be a decision you make for yourself, for what you might learn in another six months. Not for anyone else 🙂

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, Rebecca. I do have a hunch that quitting now would cause me to look back in years to come and wonder. I also think that I have gained too much clarity and strength in the last six months to just jump ship now. I know this is about me, but there is certainly (and wonderfully) a public angle to all of this. I chose (for reasons known and unknown) to blog about this, to be open with my story, and I can’t forget that, you know? I wonder if I am truly more worried about what I would think if I stopped or what all of you would think? I am not even sure I can honestly answer that question… Hmm…

  13. Stacy

    I’m with Gale on this one. Certainly, I don’t wish to deprive you of the sense of satisfaction of accomplishing the goal you originally set out to accomplish. Should you choose to continue on this path, I will be so thrilled for you when you reach your milestone. But, for what it’s worth, it sounds to me a little like the “one year” thing is starting to feel a little arbitrary. Maybe it is? You set you to prove something to yourself and to learn about yourself. You have absolutely done that. I think you know that you can do one year without a sip now. What it sounds like you are wondering is, “do I want to?” That’s a great question and only one you can answer.

    Perhaps your path so far has been about being without. Maybe now you want to work on carving out a path that works for you for the long term. I don’t think you would learn any less – and might even learn more – if you changed your course. (Also, please note I would not be giving you this advice if I thought you were an alcoholic!) Simple pleasures in life are not to be taken for granted. For me, a glass of wine with my toes in the sand with the people I love at the end of a glorious and exhausting day at the beach is one of them. Just be sure you aren’t depriving yourself without a purpose. Life is too short for that.

    Anyhow, you know I support you 100% and I completely admire the journey you are on. Either way, I will find the next six months just as interesting because it is your contemplation about all of this that is truly extraordinary – not the deprivation.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I agree that life is short and we should not put arbitrary restrictions on ourselves for purposes of consistency, or for purposes of zealous adherence to ultimately unnecessary goals. That said, I think, quite frankly, that my initial reasons for doing this are blurring a bit. And this makes sense – we humans are resilient beings and can evolve and change and that’s all good, but I was struggling with all of this stuff not long ago and I shouldn’t take that too lightly. That said, I know so much about myself and my weaknesses now and I genuinely think my relationship with alcohol is already profoundly altered. My feeling is that I will keep going for six months, but I guess I can reevaluate from time to time between now and January? Thanks so much, Stacy! Hope you guys are well. xoxo

  14. AG

    I think you have to keep going. Just getting to know you through your blog and the kind of person you are…you even said it above, if you have a goal it needs to be accomplished or I think you will always wonder “what if..” You will never wonder “what if I stopped at 6 months” but you will also wondering “what if I would have lasted the whole year”

    I am with you about a little to drink at a wedding or on a vacation-sometimes I think it just soothes nerves I have about seeing friends I haven’t seen, sometimes I think it helps to relax me when I have a mind that can tend to wander off and worry about things, think about life. I don’t think enjoying alcohol in any variety during those times is strange, I think that is exactly what it was intended for. I am also with you, my hangover tolerance is extremely low these days as I have gotten older and I do sometimes enjoy waking up after a fun night knowing I do not have one while my other friends might!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, AG. I think you are right to point out that I might end up asking what if someday. I’m just not sure that is reason enough to continue? The reality is that there are so many other reasons – some of which didn’t exist in the beginning of all of this. I am telling myself that it is natural, and a good thing to question myself and why I am doing this at this stage of the game. In my future, I see weddings and vacations and other special occasions both with and without wine… My hope is that it just doesn’t matter as much. We shall see.

  15. Hey Aidan – congrats on 6 months! I guess I would say the test is, how would you feel if you didn’t go the whole year? If you quit today and had a glass of wine tonight, tomorrow, do you think you would feel like you “failed” or would you feel peace with your decision because you felt you got out of it what you wanted? I certainly wouldn’t judge either way, nor would most of your readers, only you can make the decision and know what’s right for you! No matter what, it’s amazing that you’ve stuck with it so long and you should be very proud of yourself!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks so much, Kaela. I do think so much of this is how I would feel if I abandoned this project halfway through. I know myself and it’s likely I would beat myself up, but more importantly, I think there are several compelling reasons to keep going with this. Today has been cool for me because I have spent much of it pondering all those reasons, all of the wonderful and interesting things that have come my way since January. More stuff to blog about going forward!

  16. Sometimes, all you can do is try it and see what happens. But, here’s an alcoholic’s perspective: When I crave the normalcy of a simple glass of wine, I remind myself of why I quit in the first place. For me, those reasons are still valid and compelling. If I could just have a glass or two of wine, I wouldn’t have stopped in the first place. I experienced a huge amount of anxiety around drinking and know that it would happen all over again. I’m drunk from the first sip. I’m no longer present from the moment the glass hits my hand. I’m not goal orientated (I dropped out of college a semester short of graduating) so finishing the year just to say you did it doesn’t seem important. What you’ve learned and what you can continue to learn is what matters. You might be able to moderate yourself just fine. If you can’t, you know you can stop again. Trust your heart.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks for this, Karen. I really do appreciate your perspective. It’s tricky for me because I do think I could moderate, but I also do know that there is anxiety around my drinking and that drinking makes my general anxiety worse… I know this is something I need to think seriously about and I think more time to feel this out and think this through. My genuine hope – and I am pretty optimistic – is that I will return to drinking in a more moderate and thoughtful fashion. I suppose only time will tell.

  17. Six months really isn’t that long. Sometimes it feels that way but when you think about it disappears in a blink.

    I say see it through. It will be gone before you know it and will provide more writing fodder and that is never a bad thing.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, Jack. Yes, you are right. Obviously, this experiment is not primarily about writing, but the truth is it has made me a more thoughtful and creative person – I really do feel this – and it has given me so much to write about. And it can’t hurt to have this extra “fodder” as a bonus external motivation. You are also right that six months is not very long. The last six have zipped by so I can only imagine the next six will as well.

  18. nancy kneuer

    In addition to not wanting a hangover in the morning when my children were young, I also wanted to be present in case something happened and they needed me. I was always worried that they might get sick or hurt and have to go the emergency room and I wanted to be sober so that I could deal with it. If you want to talk to other people dealing with sobriety issues, open AA meetings are an excellent oportunity to hear other people’s stories. Problem drinking is as much a reason to quit as full blown, fall-in-the-gutter alcoholism.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, Nancy. Yes, I so get all of those motivations to stay clear. I am certainly curious to hear other people’s stories. I think that’s why I have such a desire to read right now. Very interesting what you say about problem drinking v. alcoholism. I wonder how many people fall into the former category? I imagine lots. Just as many people have “issues” surrounding food (or spending, etc), I think people have “issues” surrounding alcohol. All very interesting to think about…

  19. Monica

    “Keep on keeping on” is the saying the Father uses at my church. 🙂 I think you should keep going, don’t give up. There will always be times when temptations strikes to make you want to have a drink, instead you can replace drinking with something else you enjoy. I don’t drink very often, I only tried it once and just a little and it was with family at home. Nonetheless, I am very proud you made it 6 months wihtout wine. Congrats, Aidan! 🙂

  20. I definitely think that you should stick with it. Like you, if I had set a goal/challenge for myself, I would do anything to meet it. The perfectionist in me would probably consider it a failure even if I did learn as much as you have thus far because I didn’t actually finish it. And I’ve read somewhere that sometimes the nagging, the wondering, the constant signs (even if only you notice them) all mean something. And it doesn’t seem that this is something you’re taking lightly or that you entered into lightly. So I think it’s kind of the universe’s way of telling you to stick with it as well!

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I agree with everything you say here. If I set out to do this, and I did, and I embarked upon this with a real seriousness, which I did, I should just stick with it. Truth be told, this hasn’t been that hard and save a few times when I would have loved to “participate”, the benefits have far outweighed any costs. I think I need to keep these things in mind. The big question will come six months from now, but I trust that by then I will have a greater clarity on what I want to do going forward. Thanks so much, Elise!

  21. Have you by any chance seen the movie The Way? This post reminds me of the girl in this movie on a quest to kick her smoking habit, but in actuality the quest is not about smoking at all. I know random, but thought I would mention it.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      I haven’t seen the movie, but now I really want to! I do think this is about FAR more than alcohol. I think this is about self, about identity, about change. Thanks, Amanda.

      • YES! Then you definitely need to watch the movie. You just summarized the plot perfectly. It also helps that it was filmed in France and Spain, but an American movie, and the backdrop is gorgeous throughout.

  22. Aidan, thank you SO MUCH for your honesty. I appreciate knowing that this is a struggle, because it gives me a sense of solidarity. I’m not doing the yearly purge, but rather it reminds me that no matter what our goals, they are not always easy. Sometimes it’s easy to gloss over the nitty gritty details, but sometimes that is right where we are! Knowing someone else is in that tough spot supports me- whether or not you continue (even though I see on fbook you are!) Peace and kudos to you!

  23. Aidan,

    I know you will stick with it because as you said, “You are a goal girl.” The end of the journey is not only fulfilling a goal, but learning so much about yourself. Keep on keeping on. I know you will have so much to tell us. High five for the six months! xoxo

  24. Careful, okay? There is nothing romantic about drinking. You didn’t miss out on anything at either of the events you described by not drinking. Being with friends on a getaway, watching friends get hitched – THOSE are the romantic, wonderful things. Not the wine.

  25. Jess

    Don’t quit! It may seem silly but even if you have gotten everything you can, life-lesson wise, out of this experiment, I think you’ll feel like you quit if you don’t see it through for a year. You vowed to do a year and are more than halfway there. I think you risk creating a life regret if you don’t do it for the full year so for that reason alone I say keep going! Plus, I bet there are still a few more lessons tucked away in there. (And, “a year without wine” has a better ring to it than “six months without wine” :))

  26. Hang in there Aidan! You can do this, if you want to, but if you don’t that’s okay too. I don’t drink, but I’m constantly trying to kick the coffee habit. I’ve gone as long as six months. Then I’ll stop in a great little bistro with the tempting smell of multiple cappacini sitting in front of my friends. Suddenly the lure of the dark roast sends me back to my old ways. There are health properties to wine and anything in moderation is theoretically fine. But if you really want to reach the finish line, hang out with the non-drinking crowd. (There are lots of us.) And if you want to look like you’re drinking (just to keep people from bugging you at an event) try throwing an olive or cherry into a glass of water. Fools ’em everytime.

  27. Karin

    Yes keep going. You said a year, make it a year. The why is because you are a perfectionist goal-setter, not unlike me. I’m seldom comfortable about disappointing myself and I don’t see a solid reason for you to abandon the goal you set. Yes, see what is to be learned in the second half of your year. You can do this, which is something you already know.

  28. Aidan, your musings about alcohol and life without it are fascinating. Really. So keep it up. Alcohol was a huge barrier to my creativity, productivity, happiness. I didn’t even think happiness was possible. 30 years into sober living, I know that alcohol occupied a much greater part of my life than it deserved. I know it because my life is and has been so full of…well…everything! Honestly don’t miss booze at all. Even at weddings. Even on the Cape. I drink, except it’s water and tea now. Interesting how my not drinking doesn’t even register with most people while intensely bothering some. Says more about them than me, IMHO. Go for it! See what the other 6 months (now 5) are about. And perhaps you will see that you don’t really want to drink after the year is up. I’m going to follow your progress. I really enjoy your writing, so I’m happy I found your blog. (I’m a Smithie, btw).
    Best wishes,

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