Saturday, May 25, 2013

Beer Replacement

Last weekend, here in Canada we celebrated Victoria Day. The long weekend is fondly referred to as
May "2-4" weekend. Historically this was my favorite long weekend of the summer. It was like a ribbon cutting ceremony to the start of summer. Cheers to that!

It's name alone suggests a 3 day party, powered by beer, bars and barfing.  The weekend has not changed, but I have. I just spent my third May "2-4" weekend as a sober girl. Admittedly, this year was much easier to get through than the previous two.

What made this year easier?

It certainly wasn't the sight of packed patio bars or a parking lot full of eager to drink, consumers, at the liquor store. Those things will ignite a craving so strong that I can taste the icy, cold beer and I can feel the cool glass bottle in my hand and the condensation dripping. Those kinds of triggers will probably always stick with me. Just as the sound of the bell made Pavlov's dog salivate, the sight of certain things reminiscent of a good drunk fest will arouse liquor hunger in me. The part that makes all of that livable this year is strength.

I think about drinking often, but not to the point where I am moments away from popping a cork. They are thoughts without action. My thoughts of drinking are often the same, full of good feelings and happiness, but I don't act n them. Time has marched on and with it a healthier mind and body have emerged on my behalf. These changes have not come by thought alone. These modifications have taken root through strict and conscious action.

I eat a clean, healthy plant based diet. I get enough rest. I drink 4-6 litres of water a day. I exercise, except by now, I don't really consider it "exercise", it's just a part of the routine to my day. These choices have all come together to create not only physical strength, but emotional and psychological toughness, as well.

This fortitude is what made this year's May "2-4" weekend pass by without the same desperate longing as the years before. I still thought about drinking, but those thoughts sat somewhere in the back of my mind and not front and centre. The front and centre thoughts were of running.

Canada Running Series posted a page on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon site, introducing it's "Digital Champions". I am so flattered to be part of this group of influential and dedicated runners. The people at CRS have no idea how good this is for me. When a recovering alcoholic has things to focus on, other than drinking, healing is so much easier. They are playing a big role in my continued wellness. Consider following our journey to the #STWM in October, or even better, run with us.
http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/en/dchamps.htm

My long run on the weekend was also a source of focus that kept the thoughts of boozing from taking centre stage. I am still following my coach's low heart rate training plan, so my runs are measured by time and not distance. I ran for1 hour and 45 minutes and didn't once think of beer. What I was thinking about was the energy supplement I had taken prior to heading out for my run.

Jonathon from energybits gave me the chance to try the product which is great because I am always interested in new things. I was even more interested in energybits because many of the tweeps I follow have incorporated them into their training. What Jonathon didn't realize is that he was also giving me an opportunity to be a part of something that redirected my thoughts from the firewater. The product is 100% organically grown spirulina algae. To a vegan this means another plant based option for protein which is another reason I was eager to give them a go.

As I ran I was happy to find that my energy level stayed consistent. I did not have a big burst of energy at the beginning of my run, nor did I experience a big crash of fatigue part way through as I have with other glucose based products. I had no uneasy feeling in my stomach and I had no regurgitation. I felt as good at the end of my run as I did at the start and my thoughts were just as wholesome as the supplement. Beer was once again sstationed far away from my mind's spotlight. Instead I was considering what I had to do to get my hands on more energybits.
www.energybits.com

CRS and energybits are two of the things keeping me focused on staying sober. I have so many other things in my life that are deserving of my sobriety, including my family, my friends and my job, but I always had those reasons and I still drank. The number one reason I am sober and staying that way is because I want to. I want to be the best I can be for the things that matter. My motivation and strength to continue honoring my commitment comes from these external things and people. The more time and space I can put between me and my last drink, the better. If it takes running 100km and alignment with 100 ambassador programs, that is what I am going to do. I don't see it as "cheesy", I see it as therapy. It feels pretty damn good to have people who don't even know me, believing in me. I am replacing the good times and feelings I had drinking beer with the good times and feelings I am experiencing via the running community.


Stronger

Stronger