Today my dog, Bruno, and I each had a PR. Bruno ran 5 miles with me - his longest yet! We started running together this fall, as the weather got cooler and I was curious to see how he would do if I sped up our daily walks and got him running. The veterinarian and the dogsitter had commented on his girth, so I figured he needed a bit more exercise. So we started with some walk-runs and ended up regularly running 3-4 miles. It has turned into an almost daily morning ritual for us, no matter how cold or how rainy. Sure, my MapMyRun average speed has gone down since I can’t be bothered to stop the tracker for his pit stops, and I often end up running with a poop bag in one hand. But especially the last several months, with so much heaviness in the world, I have found that this treasured ritual helps me stay motivated to run. Bruno gets so excited when he sees me putting on my Hoka running shoes! And many of the motorists who pass us can’t help but smile. I have been told that he looks like he’s grinning as we run.
The reason we ran 5 miles today, a mile longer than usual, is because in the first mile of our run I was reflecting on how today marks 5 years since I stopped drinking alcohol, so I figured, today of all days would be a good day to set a PR with Bruno. As we ran, I thought about how 5+ years ago, if you had told me I would have chosen sobriety for 5 years, and would be running with a SECOND dog, I would have told you were nuts. I LOVED wine or IPA’s with dinner, while socializing, while traveling, on a hot day, on a cold day, to make boring stuff more fun, to make fun stuff even more fun, to have something that felt separate from Suburban Mom Identity. Nothing catastrophic happened, it was more of a gradual, creeping removal of the veil over my awareness that in all of the insanity of the world (and this was before 2020!), alcohol was not helping me, if anything it was hindering my physical, mental and spiritual health. On 12.6.15 I was so disappointed in myself, that I realized I had had enough. I wanted a break. I had no idea how it would be for me to interact in a world that is so alcocentric, normalizing and glamorizing alcohol to the point that if you don’t drink, people think you are pregnant, on antibiotics, or of such poor character or genetics that you can’t stop drinking. But I figured, I’d use my coaching tools on myself and learn some new stuff. It would be interesting. And not long-term.
Except that the more I learned about myself, about the brain, about authentic connection, about resentment, boundaries, control and humility, the more I realized I wanted to keep being present and learning more. The more I learned about how alcohol is a toxic poison that we have been brainwashed to believe is fine for people who “drink moderately,” the more I realized I did not want to return to the herd. This past week I came across an article about how public health groups have been trying to push for more awareness about the established link between alcohol and cancer:
"Alcohol’s cancer link is irrefutable: In 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that there is a causal relationship between ethanol—the specific type of alcohol in booze—and throat, liver, breast, and colon cancers."
But - surprise! - a lot of people would lose a lot of money if these public health groups got their way. Budweiser would be the new Phillip Morris. Anyway, this is another area that I do not have to wait for the legislators and doctors and advertising groups to become more enlightened. I am grateful, on this 5th soberversary, to have read amazing books like This Naked Mind by Annie Grace (and listened to her podcast), which talks about this and more. If you are at all sobercurious, or you are sober, I highly recommend you check it out.
These are some of the thoughts I had as Bruno and I ticked off the hilly miles and I reflected on the last 5 years of Living AF (Alcohol Free):
Wellness coach, athlete, mom, entrepreneur. I love helping people mindfully reboot their health & joy.