11 MONTHS DOWN - 1 month to go! HOLY CRAP.

Whoa, guys. Whoa. 

2015 is almost over. This just blows my mind, even without the whole not-drinking-alcohol-thing. This epic and beautiful year has nearly concluded! I'm sure that 2015 brought about some important changes for everyone. Whether we created the change or allowed it to happen, this year has helped develop something different within each of us. I think it's important to reflect on our lives from time to time and to evaluate where we are, and how far we've come. For me, the end of the year is a nice solid marker. I like the idea of rebirth, and the chance to start again. To make resolutions and changes, even if they're just wishful thinking. 

November was a month of readjusting to daily life from vacations, taking on some new work, meeting new people, dating, gettin' in some family time (over Thanksgiving), and learning - always, always learning. 

 Clockwise: Enjoying coffee in Portland, working from home, enjoying the change in weather, gearing up my bike for winter riding, and finishing a Book Club book.

Clockwise: Enjoying coffee in Portland, working from home, enjoying the change in weather, gearing up my bike for winter riding, and finishing a Book Club book.

Things I've learned this month: 

This was a small step, but I have many other habits I need to work on. 

Drinking was a habit I needed to get control over again. I figured out a way to handle what life throws my way without booze, and that feels really great. But realizing that I've been able to get a handle on that one thing magnifies the other things I struggle with. 

I still get in my head about stuff, emotionally speaking. I still haven't figured out a way to have music in my life regularly - whether singing in a band or a choir, just on my own, or by learning piano again. 

I need to be forgiving of myself though, and I understand that. I'm not perfect, and I never will be. That's another thing I need to work on: being okay with making mistakes (to learn from them), or being okay if it's not quite time yet. I dove into this a little more in this previous post

I can't just cut out the emotional stuff, relationships, or my desires and dreams. It works fine for something like alcohol, but I can't just remove those things from my life to better understand them. I have to work through them as they come, which at times can feel more difficult. 

I'm gaining confidence in my ability to handle alcohol next year. 

As mentioned in last month's post, I've been a little nervous about starting up with the booze again. But I've been gaining confidence over the past month, and I feel more ready. 

I know that I can go out and not need a drink. I know that I can go to a bar with my friends all night without any alcohol and have an awesome time. I can be myself without alcohol giving me false-confidence. I can even deal with a horrible shitty day without it. I've proved it over and over to myself this year. 

I'm beginning feel more certain that I'll be able to handle it. And that's very comforting!

I wish that everyone would decide to make this kind of change, just to see what it can do.

It doesn't have to be cutting out something, it could be adding. Deciding that every day for an entire year, you'll exercise - even if it's just a 30 minute walk, or playing catch with the kids. Deciding to work every day on learning a new language, bettering your neighborhood, or playing an instrument. Making the choice to be more honest in your relationships, and practicing it every day. Learning how to garden, or how to reduce your carbon footprint. 

All change is hard at first. It's not something that comes easily. We struggle with it, we curse the wrench that's been thrown in the machine, and we long for the comfort in routine and regularity. We are angry when we realize we have a food allergy and have to change our diets. We are frustrated when our car gets wrecked and we have to figure out other ways to get around. But eventually we grow, and start creating new habits and routines. And then, when we're finally getting comfortable, the rug gets ripped out from under us all over again.

That is life, I guess: a constant ever-changing clusterfuck in which we have to savor every happy moment when they come. When something is going well in one area of our lives, it seems that another thing ends up going catastrophically bad. It's important be grateful for the good stuff when it's happening. The unexpected will always occur, and I can either decide to be destroyed by what gets thrown at me, or figure out a way to use it to my benefit. As an eternal optimist, even at my very darkest, I'll choose the latter. 

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Money saved in 11 months: Approximately $2,625.00

How I feel: Prepared. Melancholy. Wistful. Nervous. Realistic. Healthy.