I’m back. Sorry for disappearing without explanation. Honestly, I think I just got tired of the counting drinks. Funny, many people have questioned why I go to all the work. Most or all of these people think that it is just easier to quit and that is what I should do. But, I don’t want to. I do admit, however, that the counting and all the stress of monitoring my drinking did get to me. Thus, I took a break from posting. I never intended for it to last 5 months, but it did.
What many of you want to know is “how was my drinking during that time?”. I can honestly say that I am sure that I went over my 15 drinks a week a number of weeks, but far from all. The worst drinking was over a 2 week stretch of the Christmas holiday. BMy drinking never came close to the point it was during my big drinking days, not even over the Christmas holiday. I wish I could say that those days are over and I had no desire to drink more than I did. The truth is some days I did and some days I didn’t, but the one thing that always seems to keep me from going overboard is the fear of having someone in my family, primarily my wife, see me drunk and suggest I stop again.
When I went over the edge about 4 years ago, I got to a point where I could not stop. I could not go one single day without at least one drink. I never came close to that this time. I remember when I was getting ready to ask for help (this phase lasted over a year), I was scared to death of thought of quitting, either for a short period of time or permanently. As this January came around, I headed into my annual 4 weeks of sobriety. I think this is my 4th or 5th year not drinking for 4 weeks in January. This year, as in past years, I did not fear it at all. I did not dread it at all. I really looked forward to it. Why? One, because I felt I needed it from drinking too much in December. Two, because I think it helps me mentally to know that I can do it on my own. And, three, just because I start each year with a health kick that always includes some dietary change that I won’t waste blog time with.
This year my goal was to go from Jan 2nd to Jan 31st. Well, I already blew it, but don’t feel guilty at all. I blew it because my wife and I were invited to a friend’s birthday celebration at a very expensive restaurant. When I first told my wife that I would not break my dry spell, even she said I was crazy. Crazy because there was going to be very good wine, the kind that we cannot regularly afford. So, with my wife’s blessing and encouragement, I went off the dry train for one day and picked up the next day.
Other than the birthday party, the dry train has been very, very easy. I will admit to having a few small cravings on a recent Friday night, but that passed with food. And, on the weeknights, I have had absolutely no cravings at all.
I don’t feel guilty for the one night as I was not looking for excuses to drink. If I were, I could have found many. While I was on day 3, I met a bunch of high school friends at a restaurant for a few drinks. I think they were all still in holiday mode as the drinks were consumed in large quantities. I stayed for 2 hours and drank nothing but water and it felt good.
Now, what happens after 1/31. Well, I haven’t quite figured it out yet. However, I am thinking of a new plan, something different from counting out 15 drinks a week. One with a little less work, but also riskier. My current plan in draft stage is to buy one 1.75 liter of vodka at the beginning of every month. By my calculations that comes out to just over 9 drinks each week. Considering, I really do not drink that much beer and wine (actually very little beer), I think I can be safe in saying I can have as much beer and wine as I want, but will not buy any more vodka if I run out.
Now, I know many of you are thinking that this could backfire in a huge way. However, I really don’t drink that much beer and wine, primarily because I almost always drink beer and wine in front of my wife. They are not like vodka where I can easily drink a 3 oz shot in the basement by myself. I don’t run to the basement and chug a glass or 2 of wine. I don’t hide the wine and beer. So, that would leave me about 6 beer and wine drinks for the weekends (to add up to 15 total after the 9 vodkas), which is more than I normally drink. I don’t usually drink Mon-Thurs.
This plan would reduce the stress of counting while still having controls in place. So, that is where I am at now. I know many of you are thinking, that if I am really enjoying a sober January, why not just keep going? Well, because I like to drink. Others of you are thinking “well, the plan sounds risky, but it might work if you buy a liter of vodka each month, instead of the 1.75”. Still others may think, why not just cut out the vodka all together and just stick with the beer and wine. Well, these are probably things I SHOULD do, and may do down the road. I am just not ready yet.