This post if about giving up alcohol, in case you couldn’t stand the suspense.
Over the past 6-months, or so, I gave up my nightly drinking of beer routine in order to pursue my dream of becoming a nightly whiskey drinker. It’s worked out surprisingly well. Historically, I have not been great at sticking to things but I was able to stave of my beer cravings by replacing them with whiskey and soda water.
I did this because I was starting to get a beer-belly and, being a minimalist at heart, I don’t enjoy having lots of extra things, a beer-belly being one of them. What spurred me into action was my niece told me to stop sticking out my belly. On the outside I laughed and told her I planned on forgetting her Christmas present but on the inside I said “I’m not sticking out my belly, this is where my belly just is. It just exists right here.”
Having nieces who are college age twins is great because they will give you loads of unsolicited life advice. They are almost always wrong, but they keep me and my wife young. I mean, we are young. Just not THAT young so, their advice is fun. They say stuff like “You’re starting to lose your hair,” or “You should shave your beard, it makes you look homeless” or “You guys should take us to the melting pot for our birthday,” or “Honda Fit’s are not cool cars.” Normally their advice is fun and not steeped in any life experience so I get a real kick out of it. In this case though, they were right. I needed a strategy for getting slim enough to not have to take shit from a 19-year-old.
My strategy for limiting my beer consumption was to buy real cheap beer. I started buying Kirkland Light, from your friends at Costco, to be exact. For beer lovers like myself it is hard, HARDDDD to say no to an imperial stout. So dark, so full, just get in my mouth, etc. It’s like not even kind of hard to say no to a Kirkland Light, especially if my other option is whiskey. So, for the last six months or so I stopped drinking beer, for the most part. I kept Kirkland Light in my fridge. I wouldn’t buy better beer if I had the Kirkland Light because I’m cheap and I for sure didn’t want to drink 48 Kirkland Lights. I also started intermittent fasting and my belly has shrank back to an appropriate level for a 31-year-old wannabe minimalist beer lover.
Life is confusing. I had kicked my beer habit. What they don’t tell you about consistency is it’s only admirable if you consistently do something good. Consistently save half your paycheck? Woah, you’re awesome, here’s a button or something. Run a marathon? Woah here’s a sticker that says 26.2! Run half a marathon? Here’s a sticker that says you didn’t complete a real marathon, 13.1! But try consistently drinking at least one or two whiskeys a night and suddenly your consistency isn’t as admirable and your wife thinks you drink too much.
Granted, it’s easy to know how many beers you’ve had. When you make whiskey drinks at home you can just load that sucker up with that confidence water and after two drinks you’re dancing to Aretha Franklin Pandora station wondering why more people don’t pay you to entertain them.
Enter 2018 and New Year’s Resolutions! I don’t do those. But, I did decide to take a few days off drinking just to reset my body, or because my wife was like “You should take a few days off drinking.” It was one of those, I’m foggy on the details. So I consistently didn’t drink from January 1st-January 6th. Overall during that time I felt great. I had more energy throughout the day and was still able to fall asleep at night. I had less fun during the hours of 6pm-9pm, if I’m being completely honest, bout let’s gloss over that.
On the evening of January 6th we go to our friends house for some games and drinking. I let my hair down and end up having a few drinks. I wasn’t being super embarrassing but after taking so many hours off of drinking the alcohol hit me differently. I didn’t try to fight anyone, or tell anyone that we should be best friends, I just got really tired and slurred a few words. Also, it was the first time I met some new friends who are awesome people so, two points for a great first impression by me.
The next day I was hung over and a little embarrassed. I usually do pretty good in social drinking circles. I’m not the Steph Curry of drinking in public but I do pretty well. It was an off night. I felt gross the next day and really started to think about why I drink. What the pros and cons are.
I started drinking nightly to self-medicate when I had a particularly stressful job. I no longer worked at that job but I still drank just about every night; mostly to celebrate the fact that I didn’t still work at that awful job. During my week of not drinking I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would. After my not so great showing in my one social setting so far this year, I decided to make a change. I poured out the remaining whiskey I had, which was more than half the bottle. For a frugal person, like me, that felt really wasteful. I also felt good because I knew in order to resume my whiskey habit I would have to drive back to the store and re-buy a new container of whiskey. I’m too frugal and/or lazy to do that so…
I am giving up drinking for the rest of 2018. Boom. Keyboard drop.
I’m now typing on a new keyboard since I dropped my last one and it’s not working quite right. Now, you may be thinking: “I bet he won’t make it the whole year.” To that I say, I bet you’re right. However, I’m still going to try. My goal is to get to the point where I no longer think about it. I don’t like being controlled. Ironically, I also don’t like having hard and fast blanket rules set against me IE no alcohol. So I kind of have to pick the lesser of two evils on this one. Alcohol is a habit for me. I am addicted to it. Not physically, but mentally. I didn’t want to get to the point where alcohol was both a mental and physical addiction.
It’s scary because some days are made for a nice porter. God made dark beer for the cold nights and light beer for the summer days. I have enjoyed trying to push my own boundaries somewhat over the last year or two and have found happiness in stoicism and being content with being uncomfortable. I look at this challenge as a personal mountain I need to climb. I do tend to start climbing dumb mountains and realize halfway up that I don’t want to be on that mountain at all. This may very well turn out to be that type of thing. No promises.
Here’s to a year, more or less, of not drinking. I still refuse to be 100% accountable for my words and actions.
Disclaimer: I’m prone to making sweeping changes and not sticking to them so take this with a grain of salt. I reserve the right to have a drink if I’m on vacation somewhere or for any other dumb reason I can manage to come up with. I’m not doing this for a sticker and I won’t put a 13.1 sticker on my car if I make it to June and give up. If you would like to join me for a portion of the adventure I will accept your application to be on team, got to think of a name, we’ll deal with that later.
Cheers. (Get it. Because, I can’t drink. Huh? Ha.)