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I Stopped Drinking Alcohol Two Years Ago

January 25, 2022

“If it doesn’t make you feel well, why do you continue to do it?”

That’s the question I asked myself about two years ago specific to drinking alcohol.

Before I continue, let’s be clear about something. This two-part blog series is not about alcohol consumption. This blog is not an attempt to convince you to stop drinking. It is about the choices you might be making that don’t result in you feeling well. Only you know what those things might be. The example I happen to be using is alcohol because it’s a real example that I have personal experience with. For you it might be a specific food or behavior or even actions within a meaningful relationship you have. You get to decide how my opening question pertains (or doesn’t) to you.

Consider this:

List 3-5 things that come to mind when you consider regular (or consistent) choices you make that do not result in you feeling well. (It might even be worth spending some time exploring what “feeling well” means to you.)

Jen Ballou journaling about the things that do and do contribute to her feeling well.

I haven’t had any alcohol in about two years.

I’m not sure of the exact day, but it was sometime in January of 2020. I remember the timeframe clearly because Omari was preparing to go on a mission overseas for about six months, Sophia was about a year old and not sleeping well at all and most days I simply wasn’t feeling all that great. I was working on rejuvenating my small business after maternity leave, had recently started teaching yoga, was going to be a “single parent” for a while and recognized that there were probably some things I could do (or not do) if I really wanted to feel better. That’s where it began for me – not feeling optimal and getting curious about what changes I might consider making in order to feel my best (or at least better).

At the time, I was living a fairly healthy lifestyle, at least according to my standards – a lifestyle focused on balance and joy. Typically, cutting something out of my diet completely is not something I subscribe to. I’m a firm believer in not labeling food (or drink) as good or bad, right or wrong. That being said, as I began to tune in and really pay attention to how things affect my body and overall daily performance, a few things came to mind that I might explore. Ultimately, I decided to see if discontinuing the use of alcohol would have an impact on how I felt. For me, this change did not feel threatening or unrealistic at all.

Consider this:

Out of the 3-5 things you listed from the question above, which one feels like the lowest hanging fruit? In other words, which one seems easiest or most realistic for you to explore in your current season of life? Consider spending some time over the next few weeks thinking about what small and/or consistent changes you are willing to make specific to that choice. Perhaps this isn’t about eliminating anything and is more about creating and maintaining a healthy boundary? There are endless ways to navigate this step. Make it the way that works best for you.

Jen Ballou reflecting on one small, consistent change she can make to feel well.

It was never my intent to completely stop drinking alcohol and I place zero judgement on anyone who chooses to have a drink, or even many drinks. If I happen to find myself in a situation someday where I want to have an alcoholic drink, I will. But for the last two years, I have realized that alcohol is something that I don’t want to consume. I am not an alcoholic nor have I ever felt addicted to alcohol. I simply stopped drinking it because it doesn’t make me feel good. As a matter of fact, it actually makes me feel horrible. One drink or many, alcohol influences things that are important to me and my wellness.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for part two of this blog series about the choices you make to feel well. In the meantime, if you have any questions, get stuck on the prompts above or are hoping to read about something specific in the next part, send me an email at jennifer@jenniferballou.com

Sending joy,
Jen

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Welcome!

Here you will find blogs that focus on topics which enhance our ability to live a balanced, joyful life! I look forward to learning from you on many of these topics, as well! I would love to read any comments you might want to share at the bottom section of the articles.

categories

military

personal

resilience

wellness