Alexandria, Jupiter Ridge, Positano, San Jose, Seabrook, Wallace Falls + the Dead Sea
Plus: what 3 weeks with no alcohol has been like
Good Sunday morning, my friends! ☀️
If you’ll remember a few weeks ago, I shared with you my goal for this fall: to press pause on drinking alcohol. It’s something I had been thinking about for a long time, but never found the courage to do until recently.
I’m incredibly grateful for the support you all have shown, as I’ve received some very moving emails from many of you, sharing your struggles with drinking and how cutting it out of your life has made room for so much more. That’s the north star I’m trying to keep in mind since I made the decision to quit, rather than dwelling on what I’ve left behind.
Three weeks is kind of the first real milestone in trying to create a new habit. (Or, at least, that’s what I’ve always understood — that it takes 21 days to stop or create a new habit.) Now that I’ve reached 21 days without any alcohol at all — a milestone I haven’t reached in… forever? — here’s how it’s been going:
Quitting hasn’t been as hard as I imagined. My life now, with a family and a job and a smattering of school and work activities thrown in around those things, is more conducive to a sober life than when I was single, when most of my social life revolved around alcohol. It was always, always present. Now, I feel better in general and I feel the mental fog, which I experienced for so long, beginning to clear.
Still, I think about it a lot. Even though I know this is a healthy decision, it’s still hard to let go of the glass of wine or two (or three) I used to have. Particularly at the end of the week, when Thursday and Friday night roll around, I feel the itch. It passes almost instantly, but I spend more time than I thought I would tossing and turning around in my mind what life will be like without alcohol. What will the holidays be like without it? How will friends and family react when I turn down wine with dinner? Those are hurdles I haven’t had to jump over yet, but I know they’re out there.
I don’t risk dumb decisions anymore. We’ve all heard the same things about how much is too much to drink — one glass? two glasses? — but each of our bodies is different. Alcohol might affect me differently than it affects you. So, how do I know how much is really too much for me? Especially when I used to drive to a restaurant and have wine with dinner — there were probably instances I shouldn’t have driven. It’s a huge relief not to have to worry about that now.
My body feels stronger, and exerting myself feels better. When I go for a run now, I’m feeling better, even though I’m not faster. (According to my watch, at least.) I’ve felt really good all this week on my runs, and it’s really nice not to wake up with a nagging headache on my way out the door for my run, like I was before. That’s a nice change!
I’m becoming more fully aware of the impact alcohol has had on me. In the past, when I’d consider stopping drinking, I’d shrug it off because I didn’t want to really look in the mirror. Now, as I think back to the negative experiences I’ve had with alcohol, I wince inside. Things I experienced that I should have seen as signs to stop, I brushed aside. Now I see them for what they were, maybe for the first time.
I’m realizing how important a healthy body is to a healthy mind, and vice-versa. Of course, that’s so obvious I shouldn’t have to write it. But it’s easy to convince yourself you can drink what you want, for as long as you want, and your body will simply be able to take the punches you throw at it. It can for a while — until our youth runs out and the toll begins to add up. What I’m learning is that we have to take care and be intentional about who we’re becoming; and if we leave that to chance, it’s awfully easy to end up in a place you don’t want to be.
Have you made a change like this in your own life? What has your experience? I’d love to hear.
As always, I hope you have a great rest of your weekend and get a great run in today — keep in touch and let me know how it goes.
Races you might love running
Positano, Italy | Sunday, December 4, 2022
A run along one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, starting in the early dawn light along the streets of Positano, a breathtakingly scenic cliffside village on southern Italy's Amalfi Coast. From there, you’ll make your way along the Gulf of Sorrento and past the gorgeous, picturesque Massa Lubrense, a commune in the city of Naples, on your way toward the finish line in Sorrento, a coastal town that overlooks the Bay of Naples, whose homes and buildings are perched atop cliffs that look out onto marinas below.
€35 and up | Sign up here
Gold Bar, Wash. | Saturday, November 5, 2022
More than 2,000 feet of elevation gain await at this twisty-turny run along the trails of Washington’s Wallace Falls State Park, which spans nearly 1,400 acres along the western side of the Cascade Mountains. You’ll run past the 265-ft.-high waterfall that gives the park its name as well as along the trails that meander through the woods, where (if it’s not too cloudy) you’ll be able to see as far away as the Olympic Mountains. Choose from the half marathon, 22.4-miler or the 50K, and organizers note that runners should “expect to get your feet wet whether or not it’s raining. Depending on how wet the Winter is, there could be multiple water crossings.”
$54 and up | Sign up here