Celebrating occasions without wine in hand was a big challenge for me. Convincing myself I wasn’t missing out on anything took a bit of time. We celebrated a birthday this week, traditionally a perfect time to drink up large, splurging on special wine or champagne. However I enjoyed the entire experience sober, including walking through the city in the clear winter dusk, savouring many delicious dishes and being completely awake for a mystery film festival movie afterwards. My strategy is essentially playing it forward, I will describe how this works for me and also share how my “anti snacking” regime has surprisingly turned itself into mindful eating.
Coping with celebrations sober
During these occasions, like a meal out at a nice restaurant, the thing is to reframe your thinking. Don’t think what you are potentially missing out on (which is probably nothing ) but what you are gaining. Focus forward to the way you will feel at the evening’s end.
I like to order a drink in a wine glass, usually its a sparkling water with lime, as the array of non alcoholic drinks on offer often tends to be a bit sweet for my taste. I like a wine glass, I enjoy the weight, the shape and also that it has a stem. A tumbler full of ice with a straw tends to freeze my hand.
During the meal I focus on the food, the company and the surroundings. It used to be more about the muted, buzzy wine glow. If the company is good there is no need to enhance or dull it with a slightly blurry version and if the company is dull, that is just what it is.
The thing is that everything passes. I remember when trying to give up smoking years ago, I worked out it took about 7 minutes to smoke a cigarette. I figured if I waited 7 minutes, then whether I had one or not the time would still pass and the experience would be over. A glass of wine is much the same, once its gone its gone.
At the end of the meal you leave the table with a nice full tummy, totally clear headed. You won’t stumble on the way out and you won’t fall asleep in a movie cinema later or have a dull headache the next day. As an added bonus the bill will be way cheaper too.
So it’s day 7 of my “anti snacking” and I feel great. I have found that there is great freedom in knowing there are just three meals to be had in the day. Like ceasing drinking instead of cutting down, I don’t have to think about snacks or what and when to have them.
I’ve eaten most of my meals sitting down at the table. If alone, without the distraction of phone, laptop or reading material. I guess its been enforced mindful eating. I have had to pay attention to the eating experience, including how long it takes to actually chew some foods. When I eat either watching a show or reading I never pay attention to the food, it’s rather just a mindless shovel from hand to mouth. This new habit feels real and good and I can feel my relationship to food as a source of comfort changing.
I feel I have more energy now, I guess as my body is not using energy to digest food and have a nice sense of calm satisfaction. Quite surprisingly I have not freaked out and felt incredible hunger or had to enlist my strategies mentioned in my previous post.
Different strategies work for different people and I am here to help you with what works for you.
New habits – bring them on!