Post-Detox Update

It is what it is

My August detox has concluded, and I suppose it was a success. You can read about why I did this here and here, but the short version is I cut out coffee and wine…or I attempted to do so.

I’m going to blame my lack of rigidness with this detox on the fact that I’ve had nauseating amounts of therapy for a restrictive eating disorder, and I recognize unhealthy deprivation from miles away. This sounds like a glaring excuse, but hear me out. I have proved to myself over and over that I can restrict pretty much any substance one puts in her body.

Because of how good I am at starving myself, Gil was quick to express concern when I announced that I would not be drinking coffee or wine all month.

“I wonder what ‘ex-therapist’ would say about this. You of all people don’t need to cut anything else out of your life.”

His words annoyed me, but I couldn’t help but recognize the truth in them.

The first week went well. It helped that my children started to school, so I was left alone to deal with the caffeine withdrawal at least until I picked them up around three. I was relatively productive at work and actually caught up on numerous tasks that were shelved over the summer. Working from home is tough with children. There’s the not getting stuff done, and the guilt that comes from letting the TV babysit your children so that you don’t get fired.

I never got the severe headaches that people talk about. There was one day that my head hurt, but it wasn’t unbearable. It probably helped that I was drinking ridiculous amounts of water.

Giving up nightly wine was much easier than the coffee. I didn’t want it at all. The most interesting part for me was that once my two large cups of morning coffee were taken out of the equation, I got in bed by 10. It’s as if knowing that I can have unlimited coffee every morning, makes me justify staying up late.

It took about two weeks for me to shake that groggy feeling in the morning, but that’s completely gone now. I like waking up and feeling like my brain works. In my pre-detox days, I needed at least one large cup before I tackled anything mentally taxing.

Now for confession. Weekdays were fine, and I had no problem whatsoever sticking to my plan. I didn’t even consider cheating.

Weekends were another story.  I was okay without coffee even though Gil was home, and he’s the biggest coffee addict ever. But by about 2pm the first Saturday, I realized that having all four family members in the house makes me extremely tense, and when I’m tense, I get snappy, and I bark at people — mostly Gil. Wine helps me deal with my family. Ugh. Just typing that makes me sad.

This detox kind of showed me what I already know, but it made it clearer. I drink more when Gil is home because we don’t get along, and I no longer have the energy to talk it out in a productive way, nor do I want to scream at each other all the time.

By 7pm that first Saturday, I was beyond wound up. So, I had wine.

I know. Week one.

This pretty much happened every Saturday while I was…uh hum…detoxing.

Then one Sunday morning, maybe three weeks in, I really wanted a cup of coffee. So I filled a large coffee mug with about 1/4 cup of coffee. I filled the rest with heated milk, a little coconut oil and some agave nectar, and then I mixed it with my multitasking immersion blender. It was good and just enough. I probably had three of these the entire month. I’m not beating myself up over it, which again, proves that I’ve learned to let go of my all-or-nothing mentality.

I’m sleeping better but still struggling with going to bed at a decent hour. I don’t know why this is so hard for me. Well actually I do know. I like the nighttime quiet. It’s peaceful, and I think better when the world is sleeping.

My anxiety seems better. I definitely think the coffee was making it worse, but then maybe not. Summer is hard for me. I detest schedules, but now that the kids are back in school, I do better with the structure.

As for the weekends, I need a new plan. I’m seriously considering finding a job where I work at least two weekends a month. I’m almost leaning towards another sort of trial separation for Gil and me, and honestly I’m okay with this. I do think it would give us both a better sense of how things would work if I were actually gone every other weekend. As it is, I either have to have purse wine if we all go anywhere together, or he and I fight the whole time. OR, we alternate taking the kids and doing activities with them. It sucks. I wish it were different.

The detox was eye-opening. It made me realize that I drink on the weekends to tolerate my situation, and that’s not how I want to live my life. I’ve never been one to medicate with alcohol, but that’s exactly what has begun to happen.

So, I plan to continue. I may have coffee occasionally, and I’ll stick to a glass or two of wine on the weekends or when I go out with friends or whatever. Gil typically doesn’t get home until 7:30 or 8 on weekdays, sometimes even later. The kids have already done homework and are usually either in bed when he arrives or close to it. I get everyone fed and bathed and in bed. It works.

So there it is, folks. There’s your update. It wasn’t perfect, but I did it, and I learned a lot.

Have you ever detoxed? Did you make any surprising discoveries? Tell me about it.

7 thoughts on “Post-Detox Update

  1. This sounds so familiar. Two summers in a row I dropped whatever food crutch I’d used to make it through the year, and I found similar dynamics in my family and in my own response to change. I also noticed how much I thrive when I feel I’m severely controlling my own behavior. I’d addictive, that power, for me. And feeling addicted to deprivation just isn’t healthy.

    I’m much more able to handle the interactions that used to make me ragingly sad and angry now that I’m separated. Not selling it as an idea, just saying that’s one of the places my summer detoxes led me, eventually.

    This kind of introspection, whether private or public, is really remarkable. You should pause to admire that in your writing. Honest with self then with reader? That’s revolutionary.


    • Well, I appreciate the compliment. I’m better at introspection than I am at actively making needed changes, unfortunately. But this particular detox was certainly eye opening. As for selling separation as an idea — not a problem. I linked my issues with deprivation to my marriage problems several years ago. The strange thing is, I continue to believe that we’ve resolved things until I cut out one of my crutches. I suppose that means I have a hard time sitting with my anger and discomfort in this particular situation.

      Anyway, thank you for such a thoughtful comment. It seriously helps to hear from someone who I know (at least it seems that way from reading your blog) has been in a similar situation. And I truly believe that our circumstances are quite similar.


  2. It sounds like the detox was pretty eye-opening in the sense that it showed you WHY you’re drinking why, even if the detox didn’t keep you away from it entirely.

    I tend to think cutting stuff out completely is hard to sustain…and who cares if you wanna have a glass of wine every Saturday night to deal with shit rather than have a fight? As long as you’re not abusing it, then “cheers”!


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