Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thoughts On Giving Up Sugar and Alcohol For A Month

Things are somewhat getting back to normal after the Hey, Let’s Get Tangled Up In A Hit and RUNNNNNNN events of the past few weeks.

My month long abstention from sugar and alcohol ended on June 8th, so I’ve had plenty of time to jump back on board the Tequila Train.

(let’s be clear, I don’t drink a lot.  Friday through Sunday is usually it.)

The Hit And Run Accident happened before June 8th, though, and I was completely in my rights to go home and drink myself silly, to cheer myself up, and make myself feel better at this horrible world where bad people can hit your car and run away and never experience any consequences that you will ever be made aware of.

And while I went home, and yes, I cried on the couch and whined to God about how this year has been really mean and generally sounding like a petulant bratty 12 year old, but I did not drink.

And part of that was due to the petulant bratty 12 year old that paradoxically said, “I’m not gonnnnnnnna just because I coulllllllld if I waaaaaaaanted tooooooo.”

But a bigger part of me recognized through the tears and the brattyness that drinking would not improve this situation one bit.  The car’s bumper would still be mangled.  The bad guy would still be gone, and I am still on the hook for a $1,000 deductible.

And I think that’s the biggest thing that I learned from the Month Without Sugar Or Alcohol – why do you drink?  Why do you eat sugar?

Not a new revelation about my discipline or self control.  Not a hard learned lesson about the addictive properties of refined sugar.  Not even an interesting science experiment about how much my tolerance dipped in a month (which manifested itself not in the number of drinks I consumed after the month, but the headaches which showed up the day after.)

I can easily say that giving up sugar and alcohol wasn’t worth it.  It didn’t make me a better person.  I was damn cranky and snarly.  The scale said I lost five pounds, but you couldn’t see it anywhere on me.  I didn’t feel healthier.  I didn’t feel better.

But what I did learn was more along the lines of why do you drink?  Why do you eat sugar?

The sugar question is easier to answer because the answer is simply because it’s there.  If you swap M&Ms out with grapes or pineapple, you still get a sweet fix and can consider yourself a better person.  One Diet Coke a day or a Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks can handle your caffeine fix.  Those are habits I can easily maintain without issue.  Though, yes, I did have Yogurtland on Sunday and yes, it was glorious.

The alcohol question.  Well, it definitely made me reexamine my habits, and how casually I would throw back a drink for no other reason than it’s Friday, the start of the weekend.  I could easily cut that out, no problem.  Make my drinking intentional and purposeful.

The biggest benefit to drinking is when I write.  Because alcohol drowns out the negativity in my head that constantly whisper you suck, you suck you suck suck suck, and what you’re writing is absolute crap, and why are you even bothering to try because you are never going to get anywhere, I promise you.

And yes, I could go to therapy, I could read a self help book, I could do a lot of things, but none of those solve the writer’s block as quickly as a glass of Don Julio.

And, as any writer will tell you, sometimes the most important thing you can do is get over that block and start writing.

So I think I will modify my habits, and will become Queen of Moderation.  Though there’s probably nothing nicer than a Sunday afternoon Mojito.  And I think I will be okay in saying I don’t need a reason to justify one of those.

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