50 days no drinky

This year, for my birthday, I decided to give myself the gift of sobriety. Today marks fifty days of that quest. My goal is to be my own experiment...to cleanse my body for a year...to hopefully grow some new neural pathways...to basically just see how I feel.

When I tell people that I'm taking a break from drinking, there is typically a follow up explanation that seems to be required, and so here it is.

I'm 35. I've been drinking since I was 17 when I had those two naughty wine coolers with a girlfriend. In my early-to-mid twenties, I very regularly went out dancing, and drinking...very regularly.  During my overseas lifeguarding days, drinking was the norm for me... just as normal as it was to walk around cities not understanding the language being spoken. Landing a professional teaching job with tons more responsibility than lifeguarding allowed me to basically grow up. [This may seem contradictory, but anyone who has lifeguarded knows exactly what I mean.]

When I began teaching nine years ago, 95% of my drinking was squeezed into the weekends due to the simple fact that once I have a drink, I like to continue the party often convincing myself that another drink, while completely unnecessary, is necessary. Thus, my weekends only rule developed in order to maintain some balance. The only "problem" with this agreement is it didn't account for the intricacies of holiday gatherings or summer vacations, and so, this summer when Tyler and I created an alcohol friendly wedding weekend, the days surrounding managed to blend and grow into a ten day imbibition-fest. I knew, as we ended our celebration, that a change was imminent.

Once before, I completed a similar goal. I was 28, and I quit drinking for a year and a half. When I look back on those days of not drinking, my lifestyle had changed so dramatically, that it is easy for me to parse out which memories occurred "with drink" and which occurred without. Luckily, I grew as a person quite a bit during that time frame. I managed to morph some of those "good for me behaviors" into my regular lifestyle, and while I definitely still drank profusely when I did drink, overall I found myself drinking less and less simply because I wanted to do more activities that didn't "require" drinking.

At this point in my life, I don't want to ruin all of my weekend days with hangovers. I don't want to stay up all night on weekend nights making it that much harder for me to adjust for the upcoming work week. I like that since I stopped drinking, I have been able to work out six out of seven days each week. I like that my nutrition intake doesn't have to take a break every time I go out, and I also like how the next day I'm not nursing a hangover with horrible food choices.

And so, while Operation Detoxification is underway, the left over pudding shots from our wedding sit cold and content in the freezer. The pickled asparagus, olives, and pepperoncinis now force me to tong my fingers deep into their jars to satiate my desire for fermented-ly good products, instead of finding them floating freely in a Bloody Mary. The many versions of floating beer pong apparatus given to us as wedding gifts have been tucked away into the garage. And our shot glasses sit idly by, waiting, dreaming of their next adventure away from the bar cabinet. Their little voices, "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play..."

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