Why is it that when you tell yourself you can't have something, you want it even more?
Thirty-one days ago, I started Dry July. I haven't touched a drop of alcohol for a whole month.
But boy did I want to. Why? Simply because I said I wouldn't and naturally, I wanted to rebel.
The bottle of pinot gris sitting in my fridge had been calling my name every time I opened the door.
I have had to literally say the word "No" out loud so I wouldn't be tempted.
It took all my might to leave the lid on the chilled bottle with its beads of water dripping down the sides.
It has been more of a mental battle against the bottle this past month. A test of control and delayed gratification.
Not because I'm addicted, but because I've told myself I can't.
I mean I like wine. I like a tipple when cooking dinner, a cheeky drink with the girls after work on a Friday, or a glass of red with the fiance on date night.
But I know I don't need it, I just want it.
It's like telling a child they can't eat a chocolate bar when all that achieves is increase their desire for sweets even more.
Booze is part of our lives whether we choose to drink it or not. It's at parties, bars and restaurants, family get-togethers, special celebrations like weddings, birthdays etc.
In our binge-drinking Kiwi culture, we need to learn how to enjoy a drink mindfully and responsibly. That means learning how to savour a drop of good wine, the appropriate times to drink, and when to stop when we've had enough.
Restricting myself to not even a small glass is why I wanted more.
But my resistance to temptation was rewarded in the long run.
Because my reward (the wine) was in front of me the whole time, I was being constantly reminded why I set myself the challenge.
The attention I put on having a drink made me wait longer for the bigger reward of being able to say: "I did Dry July" and knowing I could return to having a drop when I felt like it soon enough and not feel guilty.
However, it was interesting to see how I handled the frustration of having to wait. I'm not a patient person at the best of times.
I did things like drink sparkling water out of a wine glass to create the illusion of drinking wine. I didn't swap wine for a fizzy drink, instead, I just drank water or went without.
I told people it was hard when really it wasn't. I think this was me playing into the idea I should be finding it hard.
I also sucked in my bestie to do it too and my fiance - except he decided to go without treats, which he claims was a much harder feat. A bit of friendly competition never hurts!
After completing Dry July, I have learned that I am fully capable of attending a family get-together, birthday celebration, or socialising with the girls without a wine in hand.
But it's not something I plan to continue for the rest of the year. The month-long challenge was enough for me and I'll be doing it again next July just to prove, once again, that I can.
Overall, it wasn't the going without wine that I found challenging, it was the mind game.
For me, it was all about seeing the perseverance for a pinot pay off.