Editor’s Notebook

By: Kelly Burch

Kelly Burch is Editor of Renew Magazine as well as a freelance writer who has worked in Boston, London and Australia.  

Spending #14days on the wagon

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Oct 13, 2014

Sometimes I think it’s a bit funny that as the editor of a Recovery magazine, I’m not actually in recovery myself. I’m passionate about living well, and I have dealt with addiction (many times) in my own family, but I’ve never known the feeling of being powerless to a substance.

Not being able to enjoy a simple glass of wine, and having to make a daily commitment to sobriety, is something that I have experienced.

Which is why I was more than happy to take the #14days challenge. The On the Wagon campaign ( challenges people who are not in recovery to spend two weeks living drug and alcohol free in order to show solidarity with Americans who struggle with addiction.

In an odd twist, the #14days challenge coincided with an unexpected trip to visit family in Dubai. In this metropolis tucked away in the Middle East, alcohol doesn’t flow as freely as it does in the United States. Only hotels can serve, and to have drinks at home you need an alcohol license.

With the option taken off the table, it was amazing how little I missed drinking. An afternoon on the beach was complete without a margarita or a mojito, and a fancy dinner tasted just as good without the accompanying glass of wine.

I realized that often times I am drinking without really thinking about it. In our society, so many situations are set up to seem incomplete without drinks in hand. I’m sure that alcoholics and people in recovery are acutely aware of just how common this is, but I wasn’t.

By taking the challenge, I realized that orange juice and sparkling water is just as refreshing on a hot morning as a mimosa. When friends come over to catch up, the conversation flows just as smoothly without the wine. So often I have a drink not because it is what I am craving, but because it is expected.

Already the #14days challenge has encouraged me to be more aware of when and why I’m drinking.

Seven days in, and with seven to go, I’m very glad that I decided to be on the wagon.


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