Today is the first Saturday night in probably two years where I haven’t spent the night finishing a bottle of wine while haphazardly scrolling through Netflix. Sure, it sounds like a harmless way to spend a Saturday evening but when you’ve drank on more nights of the week than not, it’s concerning. Would I call myself an alcoholic? No, but would I say that I’ve developed an unhealthy dependency on it as a way to relax because I don’t know how to shut my brain off? Sure. I’m not going to lie. You should see the numerous bags of wine corks I’ve collected in the past three years. It’s quite impressive.
Since a mid semester breakdown that I had a couple years ago in my last program, I started to use alcohol to curb my anxiety about my academic performance and it turned into my go-to method for dealing with everyday stress. I’ve definitely made progress since starting this new program as I’ve restricted my drinking to weekends, holidays, and special nights of the week, but I’m still not happy with it being what I look forward to at the end of the week or feeling like my weekends are boring without it.
I have the next 10 days off because campus is closed for the holiday break and I’m trying to use this time to focus on some self-care and start some healthy habits, including finding ways other than drinking to relax, before I enter my second semester of the program. For starters, I began an exercise routine today and I can barely lift my arms over my head and my legs feel like they’re going to give out when I go down stairs, my apartment is hospital level clean, and I’m trying to learn how to mediate. Has anyone tried to meditate before? It’s hard. It’s like that’s the time my brain conveniently decides that it wants to bring up obscure and embarrassing childhood memories while simultaneously reminding me that there’s a block of cheese in the fridge that’s about to go bad or that I need an oil change. I know people think meditation is a little hippy dippy, but those that can do it are some sort of mind ninjas. I’ll keep at it.
Either way, I have 10 days off where I don’t even have to leave the house if I don’t want to so I’m going to enjoy this time as much as possible.