Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not a Drop

I have not had a single drop of alcohol in a month. Not a drop. Not a sip of someone's drink at dinner. Not  a cocktail with dinner. Not wine alone at home. Nada. There may be some wine that cooked out of dinners we made or in meals that I ordered at restaurants, but other than that, nothing. And that doesn't exactly count.

I also have four more weeks of abstaining to go (save for Tuesday, where I'll probably give myself a pass and have an Abita with Marid Gras dinner). I am nothing if not good at self flagellation. I made a personal vow, which I heretofore have not shared with anyone, to not drink until I leave for D.C. on March 17th. I didn't want to share this self imposed goal in case I failed. I prefer private shame. This is what good Catholics do. Or even bad ones, really. That's why confession is done in private and you don't even have to look at the priest.

I don't want to get all preachy and sound born again on this. I also fully recognize I am one of the most fallible humans ever so as soon as I type this I'll be due for a bender where I forget everything that happened in the preceding hours. But it kinda feels nice to not drink.

Even more shocking is that I don't really miss it. I really wasn't expecting that. As one of the most binge drinking idiots out there, I have at this point come to associate drinking with such negative consequences (horrific hangovers, lost hours, vomiting, horrible decision making) that even the thought of beer or whiskey right now kinda makes me want to throw up. Yay for Pavlovian self training? (After way too many years. Some lessons are hard to learn.)

I won't extoll the virtues of not drinking. There are some. Clarity, lack of regret among them. There have also definitely been moments where I have wanted to claw my skin off and a drink likely would have been the self medication needed to not feel that way. But overall, it's going well. Other than the boredom. There aren't many adventures to tell when I'm sitting at home not drinking and going to the gym a whole lot. Too much introspection, really. But hopefully we'll get to a point soon where we're going out and having adventures while still being a teetotaler.

The preceding five paragraphs were drafted before I went out and watched hockey Friday night with Chuck. I didn't drink when we watched hockey for five hours at Kezar. I sipped Diet Coke and water and watched him drink. When we moved on to an Irish bar in the same neighborhood, I finally relented. I gave myself a pass and had a cider. And then three more. But that was it. Which, for me, isn't a lot. And I didn't really enjoy the drinking part. I enjoyed immensely watching him get all tipsy on Jameson and ginger, but I appreciated my clear perspective. So: I can go out and have fun and not need to drink excessively.

Even for not drinking anywhere near what one would call "a lot", I didn't like the puffy, bloated feeling the next day. I was sapped of energy with a mere four drinks over two hours and felt generally cruddy. (I also ate fast food on the way home at 1 a.m. so I'm sure that contributed as well. There are always bad food related decisions to be made.) I have goals that I want to accomplish that spending an entire day of each week feeling lethargic because of alcohol isn't really worth it. Is this what maturity is?

I'm not really sure what any of this means. I'm not sure if I'll never ever drink again. That seems highly unlikely. There's definitely an urge to go dance on tables and be wild with my friends at some point, but I think there will be a lot less drinking for the sake of drinking. Maybe? Like I said, I don't really know.

But for me a 29 day abstinence was a pretty big accomplishment so I thought I'd just throw it out there.

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