7 things I learned when I gave up cannabis and alcohol for a year
Over 11 years ago on my 28th birthday, I decided to give up alcohol, drugs (cannabis was the biggest one for me, but I was using others too) and sex for one year. I was a single gal and deeply devoted yogini searching for oneness with Creation. I thought giving up these things would perhaps give me an even deeper connection with God.
I made it five months. I’m proud to say the first thing that went was sex. After that, I was ready for a beer and a bong hit. Those five months completely changed my relationship with alcohol. From that point on, I never had more than one drink at a time and usually only a few times a month. Cannabis and sex creeped back in and I continued to partake in both in both healthy and unhealthy ways over the next ten years.
A few times I gave up cannabis for several months at a time. And much to the chagrin of my lovely husband I unconsciously gave up sex for several months at a time as a breastfeeding mother (and I breastfed for a long three years).
When my 38th birthday was nearing I was reflecting on my 28th birthday and how giving up those things (even though I didn’t make it a year) had such a profound and positive effect on my life. I decided to do something similar, save for the sex, much to the relief of my husband.
And now I’m several months beyond my 39th birthday and I’ve been without alcohol or cannabis for over a year.
>> Here are some things I’ve learned:
1. It’s healthy and informative to question your relationship and take a break with alcohol and/or drugs even if you don’t think you have a problem.
2. Surprisingly, one of my favorite parts about committing to not drinking or partaking in cannabis at all for a year, was having one less decision to make. If someone offered me a drink or a joint, I simply said no and didn’t think twice. In the past, my inner dialogue was often more like, “I don’t know. DO I want a drink or a hit? Is NOW a good time? Would it enhance my experience or not? Would it lead to connection or not?”
3. Even though I was only having a few drinks a month and partaking in cannabis a few times a week before I totally quit, the amount my anxiety has lessened is INCREDIBLE. Having both of these things out of my system has been the most positive thing I’ve ever done for managing anxiety.
4. It was kinda boring sometimes and sometimes I felt kinda lame and left out.
5. I found myself consuming more sugar than normal because I felt I deserved it because I “had no other vices.”
6. I found myself not wanting to exercise as much because I didn’t need it to manage my anxiety like I’ve needed it to in the past. That’s generally been the main reason I exercise.
7. I feel remarkably stronger emotionally because I had to sit with whatever came up and not reach for cannabis to make me feel different. My brain chemistry feels re-trained for the better in this way.
My first idea for a caption on this was “Feeling Better Balanced When Sober”, but this pic was taken before my year of sobriety and that’s a cheesy caption, so here’s an obligatory blog photo that seems like a decent visual representation of what I’ve written.
Will I continue to be alcohol and cannabis free? I don’t know. I really like not drinking at all (save for a sip of someone else’s drink). I mostly like being cannabis free, but could see myself possibly using it medicinally and/or ritually in the future, but maybe not. I’m no longer into recreational use of either.
I can’t say definitively that total sobriety is “better” than responsible use for me and for many. It’s not my intention to demonize alcohol and especially cannabis. Obviously, total sobriety is the way to go for those with serious addiction issues.
I’m incredibly grateful for my decision and dedication and I’m proud of myself for committing to a change in my life. I whole heartedly believe if you want to change something, you need to change something, anything and do things differently. I was ready for a change last year. Ready to step more fully into this mother phase of my life, ready to release the maiden phase, ready to be more grounded, service-oriented and responsible, ready to show up more fully for myself and others. So I changed my relationship with alcohol and cannabis.
I’d love to know about your relationship with drugs and/or alcohol. You can contact me HERE or on social media. And if you need help releasing either, I’d be happy to assist you on that path.