Take Can’t Out Of Your Vocabulary
Family legend has it that even as a baby, I hated the word “no.” Every time someone even whispered it to me, I’d scream and have a temper tantrum.
As an adult, I still hate the word “can’t.”
When I mentor new vegans, one of the first things I do is tell them to take the word “can’t” out of their vocabulary.
“You can’t eat this, you can’t eat that.” NO!!!
I CAN eat anything I please! I just CHOOSE not to eat dead animal flesh!
I did not become vegan because I disliked the taste of meat. Once upon a time, I loved steak – the bloodier the better. I even ate some weird sh*t like alligator on a dare (which, BTW, tastes NOTHING like chicken!)
But once I knew better, I did better.
And now I CHOOSE not eat meat because – why participate in the taking of an innocent life, when there are so very many other things to eat in this world?
I never think about veganism as a series of restrictions; I see it as a series of choices that I am consciously making every day.
I take this thinking into my Dry January challenges. I CAN have a drink any day in January, at any time, if I CHOOSE to do so.
I am simply CHOOSING not to do so.
It’s a subtle shift, but effective!
Don’t tell yourself, “I cannot drink because I am doing Dry January.” Tell yourself, “I am doing Dry January, therefore I am choosing not to drink.”
“The experts” will generally advise you to toss all the liquor out of your house when doing Dry January.
I find this to be counterproductive!
It’s basically ME telling ME a big NO. And when I hear NO or CAN’T, that just makes me more determined to have or do whatever the forbidden thing is.
(I can see my feeds tomorrow, all my male friends sending me photos and TikToks of themselves dancing in their boxers or tightie whites, “Can’t touch this …”)
I’ve found on my previous Dry January experiments, if I do have a bottle of wine or a can of beer in the house, I think much less about being “dry.” It’s there if I want it, and since I am not telling myself “NO” I am oddly less likely to want it.
However, if I toss the booze and make it “absolutely none for you, naughty girl!” then I start wanting it. And I think I start wanting it largely because I’ve told myself I CAN’T have it.
It’s like my disastrous experience being a raw vegan.
I absolutely did not think that one out beforehand.
I don’t like salad, and nuts don’t like me.
Plus – cold food in cold weather. There is no lower sensory level of food than cold zucchini noodles during a snowstorm!
I actually wound up fantasizing about oatmeal – hot, warm, cinnamon and raisins. Oooh. And collard greens slow-cooked until they practically dissolved in my mouth the instant I took a bite. Aaaah. Or brownies – warm and rich and gooey, fresh from the oven. Oh sweet baby Jesus!
Just own it.
“Okay, so I chose to drink today, I choose not to drink tomorrow.”
If you make some dumb decisions while under the influence, own it.
So you drunk texted your ex. You CHOSE to do that. Yeah, we’ve ALL done that – own it and forgive yourself.
You poured Jameson whiskey into your coffee cop, drank it during the one on one with your boss, and mooned her at the end of your Zoom meeting, twerking and slapping your butt cheeks and telling her to kiss your rosy ass. No, we haven’t all done that, but we all salute you for doing that. Most of us will probably also contribute to your GoFundMe as you will likely be unemployed for the next five years.
Own it. It wasn’t the whiskey that made you do it. You’ve been wanting – nay, YEARNING – to do it for years and the whiskey gave you a convenient excuse. But really, you didn’t need the “liquid courage” to do it.
TAKE THE POWER BACK.
You can make stupid choices with or without alcohol.
Ponder that a moment.
Text your ex. Get married in Vegas. Tell your boss to go f*ck himself/herself. Get it on with the poolboy, even if you don’t technically have a pool. (Don’t ask me how I know.)
Isn’t this comforting, that you can make stupid choices drunk OR sober? And the best thing about making stupid decisions while sober, is that you remember everything!
What good is it to tell your boss to f*ck off if you can’t remember the look on her face when you mooned her?
What good is it to get it on with the poolboy if you can’t remember if he had a six pack or an eight pack? (Talking abs, not Michelob.)
Also, when you take back the power, you learn about what makes you choose to drink in the first place.
You’re trapped in a dead end job.
Your boss is something that slid out of the primordial slime.
Your spouse/partner is also getting it on with the same poolboy.
You’re identifying a little too strongly with the lyrics to Once In A Lifetime – “same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was.”
Two Important Notes:
If you think you may have a serious drinking problem, and are not just doing Dry January for the challenge/learning experience/reset, it may be best for you to remove all alcohol from your house. I’m just sharing my own rebellious mindset and what works for me. I am NOT a medical professional.
This is not going to be a “perfect” Dry January. I drank on January 6 after the riots at the Capitol. I drank again a few days later when I realized several family members actually supported the riots – AND the plan to execute Pence and Pelosi by lynching. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this – that people I loved wished death on others. Days later, I still can’t wrap my mind around it.
However, I acknowledge this was my choice to have a drink so I could postpone dealing with the emotional issues.
For the rest of Dry January, I am choosing to be stone cold sober. I am sure there will be many things happening with COVID and domestic terrorism that will make me want to down a few Moscow mules. I am certain I will be horrified and disappointed by many people, and my heart will just break again and again and again.
But every time I do Dry January I get a little stronger. A little bolder.
I look my demons in the eye stone cold sober, and then boot them into the next hemosphere.