My experience halfway through a 100 Day Sober Challenge
By Lynn Calf Robe
WELLNESS – I am on day 58 of a 100 day sober challenge and I have to say sober life is treating me well. The decision to challenge myself to abstain from alcohol for 100 days stemmed from a number of reasons including the rising number of alcohol related deaths in my community which had me feeling helpless and scared.
It brought up many questions like how can incidents like this be prevented? and how can we protect our loved ones from this type of tragedy? and what it comes down to and I think most people would agree that eliminating alcohol from many situations would probably help however this also got me looking at my own relationship with alcohol and got me questioning myself, “how could I be part of this solution and encourage others to quit when I drink?”
I enjoy a drink (or more) especially on vacation, or a concert or presented with an umbrella (presentation is everything) or with girlfriends after a gruelling day at work or..you get the point, I love to drink. But on the otherhand I see and know the negative impact it has on people and society. While I do think its possible to drink responsibly, its a whole other story to become addicted to a substance like booze. It changes people and not always for the good.
I have to admit I was a little scared to start this personal challenge for two reasons; I love to drink (if that wasn’t made clear) and I was afraid of failing. So I did what most people do and to keep me accountable I took to social media and decided to create a FB event page to keep track, vent, and invite friends & family. The reactions I received at first from f&f were varied from extreme shock to absolute happiness. Over time more and more people have joined in and expressed their support while others have opened up about their sober lifestyles which has really opened my eyes to another world.
The benefits far outweigh the obstacles which include; more energy for other things like exercise (I joined a gym), weight loss (did you know alcohol has ALOT of calories?) and more cash. We often forget that alcohol is a depressant and will automatically make you feel depressed so I do not miss the hangovers. To keep it fair the challenge has not always been peaches and cream. It was tough in the beginning especially when there were certain things I wanted to do that usually included ‘having a drink’ or declining invites to events that would include alcohol because I knew back then that I couldn’t be in that kind of situation.
I have learned a few things; one being that I now understand what it means to ‘live one day at a time.’ You really have to adopt that mentality and try to refrain from living in the past or in the future. I also understand were my grandfather is coming from when it comes to booze. My whole life he has always expressed his hatred for it and always tries to get us to stay away from it. He quit when we were little so I have no memory of him drinking but he shared many stories with me about his ‘drinking days’ which was always so foreign to me because I cannot imagine my grandpa being drunk however the moral to every story was that it was bad so stay away.
The one story that resonates with me is when it became legal for people from Siksika Nation to drink alcohol. He recalls when he was young, seeing many people in town (Cluny, Alberta) staggering around and passed out in the street. It was a significant change in our community that day. Today, alcohol is everywhere; on the reserve, off the reserve, at most social functions often sponsored by one beer company or another so it is hard to get away from it. It is a large part of our society, not just in Indigenous communities but western society and its potential to wreck lives is very real. So I do get why people struggle with it and choose to eliminate it from their lives completely.
Now I realize that my personal challenge will not change the world or eliminate alcohol but I do hope that it does encourage at least one person from my community to get sober.