Tag: 90 reasons not to drink for 90 days

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #23 and #24

Lili quilt fabric

(The fabrics I am using for Lili’s quilt.  She says she likes pink, red, and purple.  I could not find any worthy purple fabric so I chose black as the third color.  I believe that all little girls benefit from having some black in their lives.)

#23 Reason not to drink: because it’s working

It’s been 3 weeks now and I’ve lost 9lbs.  That doesn’t feel like a lot compared to how much total I have to lose, but it’s down to 104lbs from 113lbs – and that’s not nothing.  I’m almost done losing all the weight I gained this summer and early fall and that feels great.  This rate of weight loss will not continue forever.  It will slow down at points (as it always does) and then pick up again.  But right now, it’s perfect.  It’s enough to keep me motivated to see this whole thing through.

#24 Reason not to drink: so I have time to make Lili’s quilt

I have a lot of quilt making to do, starting with a quilt for a little girl named Lili who is irresistible and smart and getting older every day.  Drinking beer on a vocational level takes up a lot of time.  I can’t do other things when I have a beer in my hand, at my elbow, or promising to be more delicious than, say, cleaning the house.  I want to get Lili’s quilt made before she graduates from high school so instead of drinking beer last night I cut out strips of fabric for her quilt.  Today I will start piecing them.  It feels great to have time to do other things now.*  An hour’s worth of picking up bottles of beer every night really adds up.  Think of it like this: 365 freed-up hours = 15 extra days a year to get stuff accomplished in!

*Author is in no way admitting to a belief that hours spent drinking beer are wasted.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #20 and #21

little veins

If you ever said or thought for a second that I’m a vain individual you better TAKE IT BACK RIGHT NOW.  My God!  The errant brow hairs, the eye bag, the eye veins!

#20 Reason not to drink: whiter whites of your eyes

#20 reason not to drink is brought to us today by Stephanie Douglass who says that not drinking alcohol will make the whites of your eyes whiter.  So I took a really up-close picture of my eye to see if it’s true.  It’s hard to tell because the lighting isn’t so great right now and I had to brighten it in photoshop.  The white parts might be whiter?  But damn, not drinking sure doesn’t get rid of those veins in the whites that look like tiny red rivers on a map.  Stephanie has some other reasons not to drink that I will share later this week.  Have you ever noticed that when you don’t drink the whites of your eyes get whiter?  Please share your observations here.

#21 Reason not to Drink: beverage variety

I love that there are about a billion different alcoholic beverages one can drink.  I love how much variety there is in the beverage world.  Just don’t visit that variety shit on me when I’m not expecting it, like Monday through Sunday.  I drink beer.  When I can’t afford good beer I drink cheap wine.  Then every once in a blue moon I’ll knock back a couple of gins and tonics.  That’s it.  I like that there’s variety available for OTHER PEOPLE, just not me.  So based on the concept that things you’re forced to endure that you don’t like build character (or really potent phobias and aversions) – this is an opportunity to suffer for the good of my character.  And boy is my character getting MUSCULAR.  Last night I had a glass of mineral water with Angostura bitters.  It was okay.  Then, just before I went back to drinking decaf PG Tips which is my new evening beverage that I don’t ever want to deviate from, I tried a drink Philip made that our friend Chelsea told us about: ginger ale with bitters and lime.  It was better than the mineral water with bitters.  Now I can’t find decaf PG Tips around here.  I went through a whole box of the stuff in three weeks after having had the box for two years.   So tonight I’m trying out another Chelsea recommendation: decaf Typhoo.  CAN YOU SEE MY CHARACTER BUSTING OUT OF ITS TOO-SMALL CLOTHES?!

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #18 and #19

my green stripes

#18 Reason not to Drink: method writing

Method acting is a way actors access the thoughts and emotions of the characters they’re playing.  Method writing is the same thing.  What if I wanted to write a sober character in one of my novels?  How could I access the thoughts and emotions of a sober person while experiencing the joy and comfort of drinking delicious beers?  While I have no actual intention of writing completely sober characters any more than I have the intention of writing alcoholic characters, this is a valuable exercise to expand the colors in my crayon basket.  Now when I need to access what it feels like to BE a teetotaler I will be able to draw on all the raw irritation satisfaction and discomfort well being and Friday boredom zen-like indifference to festive beverages that I previously wouldn’t have been able to FEEL in my bones and make REAL on the page.  Now it will be in my power to make YOU feel it too.

#19 Reason not to Drink: my green and white striped XL shirt 

In the world of weight loss and weight gain there is this popular idea that you shouldn’t hang onto your “skinny” clothes because it’s just going to depress you and help you FAIL at reaching your goals and will serve as a sad reminder of how you used to be in horrifying contrast to what you’ve become.  I disagree with this.  I haven’t held onto things I wore when I was really thin.  I’ll never be really thin again and that’s not what I care about or want anyway.  However, I have kept all my favorite clothes from when I was a regular sized person.  I wore XL and looked great.  I had a waist and wore stripes and felt good.  That’s what I want.  That XL looks tiny to me now.  That’s what becoming obese does to you.  I know people who are proud of being size 4 and that’s great that that number means something to you.  I know people who will not feel good about themselves until they are out of the Large sizes and down to the mediums and smalls and invisible sizes.  Not me.  Look at that shirt.  It’s so small.  The fact that I’ve kept it all these years is to prove that I have not lost hope, that I have never stopped believing that at some point I will turn things around and get back to the clothes I love wearing.  I miss wearing my striped T’s so much.  Yah, I know.  I could wear them now.  I shouldn’t care about wearing stripes at any size.  I just don’t feel right or good in them.  Even if I could find this kind of stripe in my size.  Generally in my size they’re all bejeweled or beaded or covered in weird-ass decoupage-style printing and made of creepy fabrics.

I will wear that shirt again.

It is the closest I can come to religious-style faith.

*****

As I’ve reached #19 reason not to drink I am realizing that it’s going to be very hard to come up with 90 reasons.  I think it’s going to end up being a lot of jewelry and shirts I want to wear and stupid little nothings.  I’ve already used up about 80% of the big reasons I have for not drinking for 90 days.  Ah well, it’s okay.

Something I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days is this head-space I’ve sunk into and how I find myself wanting to jump into the television to become a fictional character on Fringe (maybe one of the people who doesn’t die at the beginning of every episode) or into a book, but only my favorite ones.  I find I don’t want to waste my time on fiction that disappoints me or stresses me out because I’m already spending enough evening time struggling to get into that calm happy place that I no longer have.  It has occurred to me that as a fiction writer I should be able to immerse myself in a different place any time I want.  I shouldn’t have to depend on other people’s fictional worlds to give me the happiness and comfort I need.  I’ve thought that maybe I should go get on my laptop and write some fiction.  Write what I wish I was experiencing.  Write the space I want to be in.  But then the weight of having to make Cricket and Grey follow the path it needs to take makes me stop.  So I rewatch another episode of Fringe and worry about what I will watch when I’ve rewatched the whole series.

Artists sketch in their sketchbooks.  I know because I’m married to one.  They sketch ideas and what they see and sometimes they just doodle and the doodle becomes something more.  Writers do this too, usually, writing in a journal or a blog.  I do this all the time to empty my head.  But I don’t sketch fictional characters or scenes that aren’t part of the big project I’m working on.  But why not?  Why not do small vignettes?  Why can’t I just sketch out small scenes without it having to go anywhere in particular?  I don’t have to share it with anyone.  I don’t have to take it seriously.  Why don’t I do it?  The last time I did it it turned into a whole novel (Jane Doe) that remains unfinished.  It doesn’t have to turn into anything.  I make up my own rules.  I always have.  So I don’t know why I haven’t  been doing this.  I can rewrite the same scene over and over and over again if I want.  Not to polish it for a book but simply to continue to be in the middle of it.  Long-form poetry.

In other news, I’ve lost 6 lbs in 18 days.  I put it on facebook but I need to record it here too.  I had 113lbs to lose and now I *only* have 107lbs to lose.

Yesterday I got take out from my favorite Mexican take out place.  I got my usual plat of cheese enchiladas, beans, and rice.  I always eat the beans and rice on tortilla chips first and eat the enchiladas last.  This time I took a few bites of the enchiladas and it was too cheesy for me.  I am not evolved enough to not eat them anyway, so I did.  Then I felt too full and not good.  Like I’d had way too much cheese.  These are words I don’t understand.  This is an experience that is new and almost frightening.

Too much cheese?!

I wasn’t kidding when I said I naturally eat a lot less when I’m not drinking.  But I have never understood the concept of “too much cheese”.  Until now.  My friend Sarah thinks it may be my body being wise.  I don’t know.  I do know I haven’t had enough vegetables this week.  I’m craving them but not making them.  (Out of laziness, really, it’s been a real funk of a week.)  This coming week needs to be full of steamed vegetables.  I’ve been wanting to cut down on cheese but hadn’t had the will to do it.  Maybe it’s because I’m consuming other dairy in the form of half and half in my tea?  It’s all useless speculation.  It doesn’t really matter.  Over-thinking food in this way is irritating.  More vegetables is all I need to focus on now because I’m craving them.  And smaller portions.  Not because that’s how to lose weight (though it is) but because I don’t need as much food now.  I’m getting fuller faster because I don’t have any alcohol to soak up with it.

One last thing.  I have been unwilling to find alternative relief to my discomfort and I continue to feel unwilling.  It isn’t that there’s nothing satisfying to replace alcohol with or that there’s nothing else I could come to look forward to.  I’m not entirely sure why I am so unwilling to find new things to enjoy and look forward to.  I think part of it is that I don’t want to let myself feel comfortable.  A little self punishment perhaps?  Or maybe it’s just that I need to be in this place of discomfort because I need to really live it for a while in order to prevent myself from getting to this place ever again.  I think I have to work through some of my anger about having mental illness.  I think what’s going on is that I don’t want to mask the raw unpleasantness I’m experiencing – this return to how my head was before I drank enough beer to settle it down and keep it calm.  I think this is an important part of this whole experience.  Like going through the seven steps of grieving.  Or going through the 12 steps of AA.  This is my version.  With my rules.  I need to live in this place for a while.  Until it either resolves itself or until I’m ready to work towards resolution.  Being completely raw and unmedicated makes me a danger to myself so this here, this state is as raw as it’s safe to be.  Whatever the actual reason is, I am not ready to “fix” it or change it.

My friend Nicole has mentioned seeking sedative-like effects from herbs.  Hops came to mind.  Bitter bitter hops.  Hops are one of the key ingredients in beer and what contributes to its satisfying bite.  Long long ago, when I lived alone on Hyde street and was getting really witchy, I used to make a hops, peppermint, and honey tea to help me with insomnia.  It wasn’t very effective but it was calming.  When I’m ready to find other things to drink and look forward to – I may try using hops in a few different ways and see what comes of it.  Not a lot of other herbs have had a sedative action for me but I will consult my herbal books and see what other things I may want to experiment with.  I am interested in making bitters – but this takes some alcohol.  They are meant to be taken in very small quantities – enough to soak a sugar cube, for example.  So I may allow myself home made bitters if it seems like a good idea.  I do plan on buying Angostura bitters this weekend.  That’s made with alcohol too.  But you use only a few drops per glass so I will not be counting that as having an alcoholic drink any more than I would consider taking an herbal tincture the same thing as having an alcoholic drink.  We’ll see.  I will look into it and I will consider it.

I make up my own rules because this is my own adventure.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #17

stefon

#17 Reason not to drink: so I don’t end up like my Grandma Maryalice

I remember when I visited her in Florida by myself when I was 10 years old.  We ended up traveling with my Grandfather up to Wisconsin and I have already shared with you all the infamous meat-eating misadventure and the follow-up to that a few years later with the Pork incident.  She was a mean son of a bitch!  But I’m remembering having arrived in her condo all wide-eyed hippie child excited to be away from my parents and siblings and ready for adventure.  There was a hurricane going on, as happens in Florida, and though I’m sure it was unimpressive by Floridian standards, the palm trees outside her condo were bent almost in half and brushing at the windows.  I was impressed and increasingly more scared as the evening wore on and I had nothing to do but notice the hurricane trying to get at my bones.  You don’t show fear to people like Maryalice.  I remember her pouring drink after drink of the hard stuff and cajoling me for being afraid.  I just realized that I can’t remember her smoking but the condo must have been thick with her cigarette smoke because she smoked a ton and didn’t believe in fresh air.  I felt spectacularly unsafe with this slurring adult inside and nature acting just as drunk outside.

Her teeth, when she got up in your face with a scowl, were pretty scary.

My grandma Maryalice was a very unhappy person and she enjoyed taking it out on other people.  As you can imagine, I have no fond memories of her, much as I wish I did.  Her smoking got to her before her drinking did and she died relatively young of emphysema but I gotta tell you, I’m pretty sure her liver was done-for too.  I haven’t gotten close to her level of drinking so far, which is why she’s tonight’s reason for not drinking.  I never want alcohol to get in the way of my ability to comfort scared children or be the cause of delivering bitter misery to the people who love me.  Alcohol is to enhance experiences in life, not drive them.

*****

I’m feeling a little better today (hello mood swings).  Thank you all for listening to me and being there for me.  Today I started tackling something I’ve put off for a while because I couldn’t deal with it even though I knew I needed to.  There haven’t been too many times in my life where I have been in a situation that forces me to choose between being silent or doing the right thing.  I always say that I’m the kind of person who does the right thing, even if there are personal consequences to me.  Life has decided to call my bluff.  I’m sorry that I can’t give any details – you know I normally disclose everything freely – but I just want to report that I’m following through.  I’m doing it because I can and others can’t.  I’m doing it because saying “no” to wrongs when we encounter them is the only way we keep the good in balance with the bad.

Mostly I just have to fill out some annoying forms, so nothing heroic or anything.

I feel like I’ve honored my character and my beliefs today.

Now it’s time to watch Criminal Minds and drink some decaf black tea.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 days: #5 and #6

garden hat 1

Reason #5 for not drinking for 90 days: less recycling

Our recycling bin seems to have a bottomless pit when it’s empty.  It’s difficult to imagine having enough stuff to fill it up.  Yet we frequently filled it to capacity with 50% of it comprised of beer bottles.  It’s a relief to create less bottle waste.

Reason #6 for not drinking for 90 days: for the love of hats

I am a hat wearer.  I love them and I used to look great in them until my head got fat.  That’s right.  When you get really fat your head circumference grows right along with the rest of you – even before you can see it in your face.  I can no longer wear my favorite hat (the dirty 12 year old paper hat you see above) and it really bothers me.  It is very hard for me to find hats that work for me now aside from my berets.  There was only one hat left that I could wear on my fat head and still look good in, and my dog ate it 4 years ago.  Not drinking today means getting one step closer to being able to wear hats again.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #3

beer in Asian market

Reason #3 for not Drinking for 90 Days: Guiltless Mornings

I have never felt guilty about being a lush.  If I do not pose a danger to others with the way I enjoy life I don’t see why anyone should make a moral judgement against me.  Yet there are a lot of Americans who view even drinking 2 alcoholic beverages a night as a sign that you’re an alcoholic.  I reject this 100%.  However, once you have gone over the line, you know it.  No one else can tell you when you’ve crossed it better than you can.  Everyone is different so what is crossing the line from healthy drinking to unhealthy drinking is different for different people.  Once you know that you’ve crossed the line into dangerous territory you will begin to feel guilt.

Mornings are the worst.  Since I rarely get drunk and therefore rarely have hangovers, it isn’t about single evenings I’ve had too much to drink.  The problem is habitually drinking a lot more than is healthy for you, knowing that you’re doing it and every morning you wake up and you haven’t listened to yourself and stopped drinking after a reasonable number of drinks.  It’s been a while now that I have woken up most mornings with a dreadful feeling of disappointment in myself.  And guilt.  Just big-ass guilt.  Guilt that I absolutely don’t let anyone besides Philip know how much I drink which makes it my dirty little secret.  Guilt is ugly.

When you make mostly healthy choices for yourself and your body it isn’t that big of a deal when you go wild occasionally but there’s a balance sheet and when you spend most of your time on the negative side of it, it will begin to wear you down.  Guilt builds.  So one reason for not drinking today is that when I wake up tomorrow morning I will wake up without that gnawing guilt that I have done something bad and secretly been a disappointment to everyone, especially myself.  I will wake up guiltless.

Provided I didn’t misbehave in any other more nefarious way the night before.

*****

Day three of being sick – it’s worse now.  Chest cold taking hold!  Misery.  Sleepless nights, constant tickle in my chest and esophagus that I can’t clear.  Eating riccolas like they’re beer-flavored.  I’m tired.  But I’m just letting this cold do what it needs to do.  I’m taking care of myself – drinking elderberry syrup, lots of water, and hot lemon juice with honey and cayenne and turmeric.  I’m off to rewatch the first couple of Fringe before attempting to get some sleep.  Have a great night!

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #2

wedding ring

Reason #2 for not drinking for 90 days: Wedding Ring

Somewhere around when I hit 200lbs my fingers got too fat to wear my wedding ring.  Nightmares of having to cut the thing off made me set it aside for thinner days.  For reasons I can no longer remember and probably weren’t major anyway, I didn’t have it resized.  Well, 200lbs is far behind me at this point and I’m tired of not wearing my band.  I can’t afford to buy a new one at this point and, really, I just want to go back to being a regular sized person so I can wear the ring I already own.  Not drinking alcohol for a while will help me get started towards that goal.

*****

Day two of being sick.  Definitely don’t have the flu.  This is just an annoying cold.  Tonight while I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner I realized that I would not be drinking beer and the realization made me think “There’s nothing to look forward to anymore” and then “Not drinking beer for 3 months makes my life feel empty.”  If you were to point out all the amazing things my life is still filled with I would be very annoyed and probably get snappy with you.  And I would be a bitch and not apologize.  I’d come up with a bunch of dreadful dark things to say in retaliation to all your cheery light and you would feel my dark cold shadow slowly creep across your skin sucking all the joy from you-

Anyway, it’s only 7:15pm and I am not sure what to do with myself.  As soon as I’m not sick I will cut out a quilt for a little girl and I can work on that while watching tv.  I do like hand stitching.  I find it as meditative as knitters find knitting.  How perverse of me that if you were to make that suggestion to me I would definitely growl at you and that’s when you’d finally see the sign posted next to my head “Don’t feed the animal suggestions” but it would be too late.  Then you’d finally give up on me, wash your hands of my pessimistic stink, and join the happy people who play games and like balloons and the smell of candy and the sound of Christmas bells and who still willfully believe in fairies.  I’d slink away to find the nearest empty cave and finally start my life’s true calling: being a beardy hermit.

That’s all for now my fellow commiserators!

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #1

yellow feetReason #1 for not drinking for 90 days: MY FEET

It is no secret that when you get fat, really fat, your feet get fatter too.  It’s also no secret that the heavy you are the more weight your feet have to bear, the harder they hit the pavement to carry your mass around all day.  I have always had obnoxious feet (very wide, super high arch, a bad temperament) but it wasn’t until I gained the first 50lbs above my normal weight that I had really bad foot pains (most likely plantar fasciitis) and my feet ache a lot when I have to be on them.

Since not drinking for 90 days will help me lose weight, it will help my feet too.  Every pound I lose is a pound my feet don’t have to feel bearing down on them.

I want happier more comfortable and functional feet.

*****

So this is day one of my challenge and I have spent most of the day in bed because I have come down with either a cold or the flu.  I’m not quite sure yet but it’s feeling flu-ish at the moment.  But instead of running a fever I’m running kind of cold at 94.8 degree body temp.  Yet I was sweating profusely and feeling very hot under my covers.  I have a terrible sore throat that is easing up now, a stuffed head (also easing up a bit) and the beginnings of a chest infection.  YAY.  So it’s beer-0-clock now and do I want a beer?

I do not.  I do usually drink some alcohol even when I’m feeling sick – it kind of numbs soar throats – but I do not want any alcohol right now.  I’m drinking  sage tea with lemon, raw honey, a dash of cayenne, and a dash of turmeric in it.  It tastes much better than it should.

I’m thinking of this as a backwards kind of gift from the universe.  Its way of easing me into this period of rest for my liver and all my other organs that don’t love beer as much as I do.  I truly hope it’s a cold, though, and not the flu.  I really don’t want Philip or Max to get this.  I really wish we had a better extra-bed situation.  Oh well.

Incidentally, I really dislike the word “sober”.  I was just going to say it sounds so dry and heavy and wondered if that’s why being sober is also referred to as being dry?

Well, that’s all the being up I can stand.  It’s time to get horizontal with a book and hope hope hope this is just a little cold.