Today was the say that I used the last drop of my luxurious $60 bottle of body wash.
I knew this day would come, eventually.
Not to be dramatic about it, but it was the end of an era.
I remember when I bought it.
I was newly sober and wanting to treat myself to something besides wine.
I was looking for new ways to reward myself, for my new sobriety.
I was trying to get onboard with healthy living, while managing the relentless cravings for alcohol.
The day I purchased this body wash, I stood in the fancy spa and debated with myself.
I was negotiating the value of this special, expensive, luxury item.
I was not used to spending $60 on soap.
I typically buy the generic body bars in bulk from Costco.
For special showers, I use travel size bath condiments from previous hotel stays.
Was this body wash really worth $60?
Could I justify spending money on something that was going down the drain?
Literally, going down the drain.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it.
I could afford it.
Yet, this body wash was something I put on my Christmas list.
I put it in the category of “something you just don’t buy for yourself”.
It was not a frugal purchase, or one I could defend, in my own mind.
Even worse, my mind flashed forward.
What if I didn’t actually stay sober and now I just wasted money on fancy shower gel? A total waste.
I would still need to spend more on wine?
A double waste. Ineffective.
I did eventually talk myself into purchasing the aromatic body wash.
I made a silent promise to myself.
I would use a tiny dime size amount daily.
I would absolutely enjoy my dime size indulgence every single day.
I vowed to myself that I would stay away from the drink and treat myself to a spa shower every morning instead, until this body was gone.
Waking up was going to be the new wasted, and I was here for it.
Today, as I recycle the bottle, I am 653 days sober and counting.
I am here to report that the shower gel was worth in the investment.
I am both clean and sober.
I have saved a conservative $10,000, since choosing to live alcohol free for 653 days.
Let me be clear, I was never a high rolling drunk.
I was a high functioning, gray area drinker, who bought $7 bottles of wine,
(if I didn’t get the whole case at Trader Joes for $30).
A $10 glass of wine at dinner was considered a splurge.
The special, fragrant shower wash was my first sober indulgence.
It taught me so much.
I have been more grateful for this purchase, than I could have imagined when I was standing there fighting with myself about whether I was actually going to buy it or not.
The lesson is to start treating yourself like you are worth it.
You spent money on self destruction, you can invest in your growth.
Take care of yourself and put your own oxygen mask on first.
Sobriety is about prioritizing your own needs before you take care of others.
It is about rewiring your brain.
If you used alcohol as a reward, when you remove it, you need to find an alternative reward.
Your dopamine hunters will be delighted when you seek and find a new treat.
You can start to implement new self soothing habits, when you reward yourself with something healthy, instead of alcohol.
When you do this, you are sending a message to yourself that you are worth it.
This message is what got me through the challenges of going alcohol-free.
Sober treats continue to keep me alcohol free.
I no longer have to argue with myself over a $60 purchase.
It all started with this body wash, which turned out to be absolutely priceless.
After a while I started to realize it wasn’t the glass of wine I wanted at all.
At dinner time, I wanted relief from the responsibility of making dinner, then also cleaning it up.
Take out meals served as my sober treat.
It wasn’t wine that made my ambiance look glamorous and relaxing, it was fresh flowers, new candles, and a pretty beverage in a fancy glass.
Those were my treats. No alcohol necessary.
When I had a tough day, it wasn’t numbing out with a drink that made me feel better, it was prioritizing a workout. I needed to move the energy through me with my favorite music pumping through my earbuds.
A walk around the block with my dog, observing the trees, was an easy fix to any negative mood or persistent urge for a drink that showed up within me.
When I was feeling bored, I wanted connection with my friends and family. A phone call, text, or in person visit was the solution to boredom. Real connection with loved ones filled my cup, more than a lonely night on the couch with Netflix and a bottle of wine, ever did.
My brain needed retraining. $60 didn’t seem worth it at the time. That $60 however, was the start at saving my own life.
In addition to the money I’ve saved by buying this treat and not purchasing alcohol, I have saved money in numerous other ways. I have been a more responsible spender. No impulse online shopping. No Ubers needed when I can drive myself. No need for fast food after a night out or the morning after to cure a hangover. My health has improved, saving immeasurably in healthcare costs.
Investing in yourself will always pay off, but we don’t always see it that way.
Organic Groceries = $70 (too expensive)
Junk Food for 4 at the movies = $70 (not too bad)
Life Coach = $100 an hour (can’t afford it)
A walk around Target for nothing = $100 (great deals!)
Monthly Yoga Membership = $100 (no way)
Bottle of wine with dinner = $100 (it is what it is)
Ditched the Drink Jumpstart class = $7 day (I wish I could)
Coffee and donuts on the way to work = $7 (necessity)
I am here to tell you the fancy shower gel will be worth it everytime. I will never again question that decision.
By ditching the drink, I have learned to easily pay for the things I value.
Consider gifting yourself this holiday season.
My advice is to put your money and energy into the experiences that ultimately bring you health, wealth, and happiness.
This has paid given me incredible return on investment.