Three years ago, I made the decision to move away from generic and obscure New Years resolutions.
Instead, I decided to look at more specific patterns of behavior that prevented me from thriving in my daily life — the kind I didn’t really want to carry with me into another year.
I was tired of going in circles. It was time for something radical. You may know the feeling.
Yes, these types of resolutions are a lot harder than the “I’ll eat healthier” ones but I can promise you this: they are so worth it.
Here I will share with you how I managed to say goodbye to alcohol, energy drinks, and my beloved coffee over three years of simple, old fashioned New Years Resolutions.
For 2011, I made the very hard decision to give up alcohol for the new year (Jager bombs included.)
I managed to make it eighteen months without a sip!
This is coming from a girl that lived in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston and loved nothing more than to let loose on the weekends and dance to good 80‘s music with a drink in her hand.
But guess what? I learned to dance even better (and remember my night!) without the drink.
Major bonus points for no lost iPhones, burnt pizzas, or hangovers. Seriously.
Sobriety looked good on me and giving up alcohol for a season in my life really helped me to learn about myself and why I drank in the first place.
Sure, it was kind of awkward and scary to dance the first night I went out sober. Sure, it was annoying to keep having to explain to everyone why I wouldn’t be taking shots with them. (And even worse, having to endure the teasing and obnoxious drunk advice in return.)
But I pushed through. And it was AMAZING.
And today, I barely drink at all.
But it took me giving it up completely for an extended period of time to realize how much better I liked my life without it.
For 2012, I made the decision to give up energy drinks.
And I managed to go the entire following year without a sip of those as well. I have attempted two swigs since and let me tell you: that crap is NASTY.
It’s amazing what happens when you give up an addiction long enough to taste the freedom. The power is truly removed and a simple “no thank you” really does suffice.
And for 2013, I finally gave up coffee. Sigh.
I was drinking it every day and knew that I was seriously addicted. I had tried to quit once before but couldn’t make it through the physical withdrawal stage.
You think the caffeine headache is bad? Imagine that PLUS laying on the bathroom floor with flu like symptoms in the fetal position.
And some say caffeine isn’t a drug.
Because I’m no longer a sucker for torture, I did research this time and decided to wean myself off of the espresso crack with a healthier alternative called Yerba Mate. No flu like symptoms involved. After a couple weeks of Mate, I was able to quit everything for good.
Each morning, I woke up refreshed and free from the feeling that I needed a chemical to jump start my day.
I still enjoy this beautiful freedom today. And no more headaches.
I will admit that I tried to drink ONE cup of coffee (after 10 months of complete abstinence) right before I left for Uruguay…
….and WHOA! I did NOT like the way I felt.
Immediate anxiety. Tummy ache. Couldn’t sleep.
No thank you.
By the way, I am currently living in the Yerba Mate Capital of the WORLD where 90% of the population literally carry around thermoses and drink Mate all day long. You would think I may have been tempted to join the crowd due to my previous love affair with stimulants, but I’m happy to report the exact opposite.
I attribute this freedom to the power of kicking off the last three years asking myself a very basic question.
“What is no longer working for me?”
But I had to truly listen for the answer and prayerfully make the wise decision to simply stop whatever it was that came up.
I do drink Mate once every week or two in social situations but I honestly prefer my day without it.
Yep. The crazy caffeine addicted Amy no longer exists. Nor does the crazy binge drinking Amy come out to play.
I look for her at times and she isn’t there.
Someone better and more free has replaced her.
Someone happier and more peaceful.
Giving up destructive patterns and behaviors is a decision worth making.
And it helped me depend on someone even greater: God.
“I can do all things through HIM who strengthens me.”
Not Him + Caffeine.
Not Him + Alcohol.
My prayer is that all (including myself) would strive for deeper freedom in 2014.
Let me know if I can be of any assistance.
I love watching a beautiful journey unfold.