I gave something up for Lent. I’ve been thinking about giving it up for sometime. Ever since I read Inside-Out Simplicity by Joshua Becker, I’ve given a lot of thought to moderation, addiction, and when to say when.
I’ve always had an interesting relationship with alcohol. In my early 20’s, I was a bartender. I loved pouring drinks as much as I enjoyed drinking them. I married, and seven years later divorced an alcoholic. During that marriage, I stopped drinking several times. I thought if I stopped drinking, he’d stop drinking, but it doesn’t work like that. So I didn’t stop for long.
Not unlike many many of you, alcohol has been a part of every holiday, family function, great getaway and weekend unwinding for as long as I can remember. Not in a get upside down kind of way, but in a social, celebratory way. While I used to enjoy a crisp clean cosmopolitan, spicy red wine is more my style today.
There’s a place somewhere in between moderation and addiction. I’ve been there with alcohol, food, work, shopping, exercise and other habits. I’m not sure what to call that place. Indulgence? Denial? I do know that the older I get, the faster I recognize when I’m headed there.
I’ve also realized that how we feed our bodies and souls is usually an indication of what we think of ourselves. Indulgence or denial is always a sign to take a better look at when you say when. What event or situation is asking you to overeat, drink too much, watch to much TV, or to do something that negatively affects your health, inside or out?
So what’s wrong with a glass of wine with dinner, or two or three on the weekend? I thought nothing…until I read Joshua Becker’s take on addiction. In Inside-Out Simplicity, he posed this challenge…
See if you can fill in this blank, ―I could never give up ________________ for the next 30 days!
My first response was, well I could give up anything for 30 days, but I wouldn’t want to. Then, I stopped being defensive and filled in the blank.
Wine. I could never give up wine for 30 days.
I read Inside-Out Simplicity months ago, but that challenge has stuck with me. In fact, almost every time I buy a bottle of wine, I think, if I could give this up for 30 days, why haven’t I? I could start telling you that maybe this, and maybe that, but I know what the answer is. I’ll share it with you. You might think it’s silly, or maybe you’ve thought the same thing.
If I give up wine, and quit drinking, does that mean I have a problem with alcohol. If I enjoy wine so much, that it would be a challenge to give up, am I addicted? Only after I said those words privately to myself, and now out loud to you, can I see that I’m not addicted to wine or anything else. That said, I can also see that after only a few drinks, I am pretty tipsy, and the next day, a little fuzzy. A hangover in your 40s is different than a 20 something hangover. It comes easier, and hangs on longer.
Hmm…Tipsy and fuzzy…not exactly in line with my life on purpose mission.
Lent seemed like the perfect opportunity to be tipsy-less and fuzzy-less. Why not 40 days instead of 30? I started early and had my last glass of wine on Friday, March 4th. I haven’t missed it. Not one day. Last weekend, my husband and I went out to dinner with friends. We had a bottle of wine on the table and I drank water. It wasn’t a big deal to me or them.
Your turn, see if you can fill in this blank, ―I could never give up ________________ for the next 30 days!