I decided to give up sugar and alcohol for a month. I have a friend’s wedding coming up, and I wanted to look nice for that, and I haven’t had a test of discipline like this in a long time.
“Lent was two months ago!” crowed some of my friends when they heard I was doing this. I know, I know, I know. And it’s not as though I’m a sugarholic or alcoholic. I only drink on the weekends, and that’s when I indulge in dessert as well (I eat fruit during the workweek). So it shouldn’t be that hard to go for a month without those things, right? Sure, right, right.
But damned if, after taking those small things away, the cravings start INSTANTLY. I was walking through Party City on Saturday, and I had no idea they had a candy section for parties, and it was like walking through some kind of Candy Bazonkaland. And true, it was all wrapped up in plastic bags and bins with blaring signs (5 for $1.00!), and probably no adult would want this kind of candy. But I had to walk slowly through it and do one of those sense memory things, where I imagined the taste of a Three Musketeer mini thingie, or what a junior mint tastes like. Had to go through the whole experience before I could move on and let it go.
I tried going to the sugar free section of a candy store, but those items looked as though they had been there for years, like NOBODY wants to eat the sugar free peppermint patties, heh.
If I’ve been binging on anything, it’s Mad Men, and you know ALL they do is drink on that show. Watching people drink at work, knowing I can’t drink at home, that’s actually been easier for me.
And when you stop doing these things, and then analyze the urges when they come up, it seems that when I’m really stressed (like dress shopping for this friend’s wedding) is when I REALLY want some kind of sugar candy thing. Like there was a bowl of perfectly wrapped pink and red taffy at this one dress shop, and normally I’d just dive on in, but I had to stop myself.
And when you’re at a play, and it seems everyone around you has their little plastic cups of wine, or beer bottles, and you’ve got a bottled water, it’s not difficult. It does make you wonder why you drink in the first place, or at least, why do you drink at a play. (I drink when I’m writing to quiet the critical voices in my head that inhibit creativity)
But overall, I don’t understand the whole Lent thing. Like if I was doing this officially for Lent, and in the grip of a craving, I’m supposed to be calling on Jesus to help me through the craving, or saying to God something along the lines of, “I want You, God, more than I want this beer!”
Which seems to really cheapen the notion, somehow. I much prefer to think that I’m strengthening my resolve, my discipline, my commitment skills.
And how does THAT help your relationship with God at all?
Um…. Okay, fine, I don’t rightly know. Man, this is when I would drink. But I’m not going to, ho ho ho.