After yet another extreme hangover post New Year’s Eve, I gave up drinking. Again.

Then, somehow, I came across Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol by Holly Whitaker and read it in a weekend. I was at day fifteen without drinking when I started the book and finished it on day seventeen. I immediately went to my hallway ‘bar’ and packed up all my liquor, cocktail shakers and glasses. Well…not all my liquor. I saved the bottle of coffee infused Kraken rum because it makes for a really great rum cake. I even packed up my beloved Havana Club rum. Currently, that box of booze is at the front door while I decide whose doorstep to drop it.

There’s so much good information in this book but what I really clung to was the idea of the Integral Map and the four quadrants of our lives we need to round out: I, We, It and Its.

Broken down like this:

I = Internal Processes such as psychology, beliefs, spirituality, existential meaning, knowledge and meditative stats. Which for me means more reading, writing, reflections, learning, therapy, meditation and at home yoga, as well as getting some sort of damn morning routine down. It also means more me time than ever before. One thing the pandemic has taught me is my pre-pandemic life was exhausting and not fulfilling in the right ways. I’ve learned I would rather make myself breakfast and read the New York Times in my chair instead of going out to brunch. This is still very surprising to me!

We = Shared Meaning such as belonging, community and relationships. I have been working on expanding my We into different areas of interest. I recently joined a women’s writing group and am part of two writing critique groups. In addition, I joined the board of a non-profit whose goal is to help other non-profits and I am really proud of the work we are doing. I also remembered how much I love to dance and I signed up for an Adult Contemporary Jazz class. I have no idea what I am getting myself into there but I am excited to find out.

It = Physical body meaning nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, vitamins, balancing gut health, etc. I am always working on these things and falling in and out of good/bad habits. So far this year, I am doing what I call ‘healthy lunch club’ with a co-worker, getting up in the morning to do yoga before work, walking Midge and treadmilling after work, given up chicken and turkey in addition to beef and pork and working on incorporating more whole foods into my diet and working with a naturopath.

Its = Environmental structure which means home environment, housing, career, health insurance. There will be very big changes in this category for me this year.

This morning I got up and drank some hot water with lemon and ginger switchel while I did my version of meditating. Then I did thirty minutes of yoga. I have friends coming over this afternoon and when they told me, upon invitation, they’d bring the wine, I told them to bring whatever they’d like to drink but that I won’t be having any wine.

Little by little is how this life gets changed