Tag: 90 reasons to not drink

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #25 and #26


#24 Reason not to Drink: good example for kids

(#24 is brought to you by Stephanie Douglass)

“I think it is good to for my kids to see me not drink. Now it is probably not good for them to hear me complain about it, so I keep it to myself. But having the kids (now adults) not think it is totally weird that someone is not having a drink with dinner, probably not a bad thing.”

I agree that it’s good for Max to see me not drinking.  I don’t care if he hears me complain about it though.  It will show him that I’m choosing not to do something I really enjoy for the sake of my health and well-being even though I would really like to be doing it.  I haven’t complained much (mostly on Friday nights) because it hasn’t been that hard over-all.  I’m also not raving about how awesome I feel because I don’t feel very much more awesome than I did when I was drinking.

#25 Reason not to Drink: more creative ways to hang out with friends

(#25 also brought to you by Stephanie Douglass)

“I love seeing my friends and I network and attend a lot of social and work events. And yes I am able to enjoy myself with a glass of seltzer water. But really, it is not quite a great to be at a loud bar or making your way through a crowd of strangers without that glass of something nice. So I found that not drinking forced to me to find other ways to spend a little time with my friends. A quick drink after work is easy and I still love it as a fast way to spend time with people. But there are other great options. I get pedicures every month – I like nice toes, I hate sitting still while they get nice. The time spent on this grooming is more fun with someone there to talk to. It is nice to go for a run or to a yoga class with someone. Or even a walk after work instead of getting a drink. Not drinking makes me more creative in setting up mini-dates.”

I don’t really have any more reasons left not to drink.  I have been getting behind because I pretty much just keep thinking of rehashes of the reasons I’ve already stated.  My sister thinks I should keep this series up because it’s good practice.  I think I’m going to drop it because how many times and ways do I need to state losing weight as a reason not to drink?  Stephanie has a couple more but one of them is saving money which I’ve already listed as a reason not to drink.  The point of doing this exercise was to reinforce for myself the reasons I’m doing it.  What I hope to accomplish and to keep myself feeling strong about sticking to it.  Turns out I don’t really need the reminder or the reenforcement.

I’ve lost 11 pounds in 26 days.  That is what is currently motivating me.  I wanted to lose 10lbs a month for three months.  I figured that if I lost 24lbs in 3 months I’d be doing great.  At this rate I may lose 30lbs in that time.  Maybe not.  The point is – the single most important reason I’m not drinking is to lose weight.  To get my metabolism moving and to get down to where I don’t feel like throwing up when I see my image in a shop window.  I need to get down to where my body isn’t getting in my way and depressing me independently of everything else in my life.  Because when I get down to a regular size, I will not have so much trouble making healthier decisions for myself.  Self discipline becomes a matter of maintaining a feeling of well-being and I’m pretty good at that – or was – in general.  I said from the beginning that what I needed to keep me going to reach my goals was to see the scale counting backwards fast enough to feel that the efforts I’m making are making a difference.

I will keep not drinking because it’s working.  I’m not sleeping better and I don’t look better (yet) and I honestly don’t think the whites of my eyes are any clearer.  My skin isn’t clearer – as a matter of fact, those little tiny red veins all over my cheek bones that I’m pretty sure are from drinking too much have not only not gone away, since stopping drinking they have become MORE noticeable and some rough patches have developed that look like some of those little veins have burst.  Whatever.  I don’t feel more energetic or clear minded.  I don’t feel more moral or “clean”.

But my clothes aren’t quite as snug.  My face isn’t looking as bloated.

My evenings are more boring and I pee way more often than I used to.

My friend Lucille, who finds my urination habits mucho perplexing, will find herself even more confused than ever.  I can drink a few beers and not have to pee very much.  It absolutely depends on the time of evening it is.  I drink a lot of decaf coffee in the mornings and don’t have to pee too much.  I have to pee the most often when I think I won’t  be able to pee for a while, like when I’m getting on a bus with no bathroom.  Or if I know that the only bathroom that will be available to me for a couple of hours will be some nasty one in downtown San Francisco or San Rafael.  The minute I plan to get into bed I have to pee at least three times.  I can be reading in bed and already have peed three times but the minute I turn out the light I have to pee.  The thought of sitting in a movie theater for two hours makes me have to pee.  I dread having to get up and pee in the middle of it.

It’s what I call “pee fear”.  The fear of being in a situation where it will be challenging or impossible to find a place to pee.  I’m on an airplane far from the bathroom and the second everyone is seated and the flight attendants tell us not to get up – I have to pee.  It’s a psychological thing.  It’s uncomfortable and deeply irritating and causes me tremendous anxiety.

If I know I have access to a bathroom and it’s earlier in the evening, I can go long periods without having to pee.  Except now that I’m drinking 2 or 3 cups of decaf black tea in the evenings I seem to have to pee constantly.  Black tea is a diuretic.  So obviously that’s the reasonable explanation.  But I thought coffee was a diuretic too and it doesn’t have the same effect on me.

Philip tells me I can have as much decaf black tea as I want.  I find that comforting.  The only thing keeping me from having, say, four or five cups a night is that I would probably spend all night peeing if I did that.  Who has time for that?!

I haven’t been nearly as hungry since quitting drinking.  I’m still eating a really large breakfast.  But last night I had a banana, tea, and buttered toast with jam for dinner.  I thought I was hungry later so I cut some cheddar to eat with some crackers but after a few crackers with cheese I put the rest back.  Do you know how many times I have put cheese back that I intended to eat?  That’s right, never.  I did NOT put it back because I was worried about calories.  I had eaten such a small dinner that I had plenty of calories to spare to eat all the cheese and crackers and still remain in a reasonable calorie range for the day.  I just wasn’t hungry.  I didn’t feel like eating.  I wasn’t exactly full either.  I just didn’t need any food.

This is a huge and important change from the last few years.  It’s how I used to be all the time.  I have always been a hearty eater but not a person who over-eats or snacks when not hungry or eats out of boredom or stress.  Not until I broke my hip and was bed ridden and had very little to do all day for three months of immobility.  That was the first time I ever snacked out of boredom.  If only I had recognized what I was doing and where it would lead me – ach! – that is not a useful train of thought.  Anyway, I believe in eating well but not in eating when you’re not hungry.  This is the first sign of my old and previously good habit of listening to my body and following its actual needs.

It is clear that I am a beverage obsessed human being.  I must have a beverage at my side at all times or I feel unsettled and weird and unhappy.  Doesn’t have to be booze.  Long before I became a real DRINKER I drank coffee and black tea and water all day long and then herbal tea at night.  Right now I have an almost empty pint of water at my elbow.  I will drink at least two more of these, maybe three, before moving on to decaf black tea.  I think that when I’m ready to bring alcohol back into my life I will only be able to do it if I establish a routine of having maybe 2 drinks and then moving on to decaf black tea for afterwards.  A little like some people drink wine with dinner and then drink coffee afterwards.

Not drinking feels pretty normal at this point.  That happened a lot faster than I expected.  On Saturday I went out to dinner for the first time in almost a month to a place I have never gone without drinking before.  It was fine.  I can’t deny that I wasn’t very excited to go out and it wasn’t nearly as nice as when I can order a couple of pints of beer but I still had a fine time hanging out with my guys.  I drank root beer.  One of the few sodas that don’t make me want to choke.

For the first time in a long time I got back to sewing (as mentioned in a previous post) and am making swift progress on it.  It’s great to get a project going like that.  This evening I will start basting the layers together.

A freelance writing job has come up that I truly want and I’m struggling to come up with a clear way of presenting my pitch.  This would be a dream freelance gig so it’s important I do it right.  That makes it much harder to just DO IT and apply.  I have an idea and I think it’s a good one but how to package it and start it.  I have to do a sample post with pictures and I know what I want to do – so why does it feel like such a loaded thing?  I can do this!  It’s exactly what I would love to do and I believe it will work well for the site that’s hiring.  So, wish me luck.  The deadline to apply is February 14th but I want to apply in the next day or two at the latest.  I think I’ll write out some of my ideas longhand while drinking my tea tonight and watching something on Netflix.  Then tomorrow I’ll execute.  Then submit by Wednesday.  That seems like a solid plan.

So there it is.  I probably won’t keep up with the 90 reasons series unless you readers have some that you want to submit that aren’t the same as any of the ones I have already listed.  (So if you are going to submit any to me – be sure to read all 25 reasons that have already been posted).  I will continue to discuss this topic but I’m ready to talk about other things again too like writing, pop culture, politics, and things that piss me off.

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: #22

pippa portrait 2

#22 Reason not to drink: to dry Pippa out

Something many people don’t know is that my cat Pippa is a lush and I’m afraid that it’s my fault.  If only beer hadn’t been so readily available on my desk and on my side table and in my hands, she never would have gone down this rocky road of chemical dependency.  It’s so bad that I can’t open a beer without her showing up to try to lick the bottle.  She lurks around until she thinks I won’t see her on my desk obscuring half my computer screen to get at the booze.  (Pippa thinks she has powers of invisibility)  Tonight I’m not drinking because I need to show Pippa how to be a healthy cat, a cat who isn’t obsessed with beer.  It’s already been really hard on her.  She cries twice as much now and let’s me know that I’m a brutal bitch by slinking around under my desk nipping at my ankles.  Lucky for her, she’s discovered a neighborhood cat support group that meets outside our house at 10pm every evening.*  All I can do is reassure her that when she is able to drink responsibly again, the beer will come back.

*True fact.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #15

goofy is as goofy does

#15 Reason for not Drinking: fulfillment of a Filipino fortune teller’s prophecy

When I was 18 years old I had the distinctive misery to work for Radio Shack, and one night I was scheduled to work at the one on Vanness Street in San Francisco instead of my usual location on Market Street.  The only other person working that night was a diminutive Filipino woman.  We got on great.  There were no customers that I can remember.  Why would there be?  People don’t seek out cheap electronics from stores wedged between Homeless Cafe and Piss Alley.  I wish I could remember my coworker’s name after all these years but I only worked with her this one night.  Anyway, as you might expect when there’s no one to sell crappy transistors and maladaptive plugs to, my coworker read my palm.

I wish I had written down everything she told me, obviously, but I was a thoughtless 18 year old arrogantly believing that I’d be able to remember everything that ever happened to me for the rest of my life.  I believed (apparently) that writers have magical memories.  There were three things she told me that I never did forget and two of them have come true.  First of all, she told me that I was going to marry an American man.  Clearly the chances were in her favor on this one.  I’m American.  Meeting mostly American men.  However, she did not know that it was my plan to marry a European or an Asian man (probably Chinese).  The one kind of man I definitely wasn’t going to marry was an American.  Because my sampling of them up to that point had not proved promising.  Also, I had an enormous crush on an Italian man at that time.  She assured me, as though realizing that this fortune was disappointing to me, she assured me that I would travel with my dumb American husband.

I did marry an American.  A really good one who isn’t dumb at all!  And we have traveled together.

The other thing she said is that in the middle of my life line there was a big mess of health issues.  Right there in the middle – I was going to experience some big health problems.  But, she said, I would come out of the health problems and live a long life afterwards.  So.  At 35 years old I broke my hip, gained 30 lbs from bed-rest and a steady flow of beer, then experienced crazy ass depression and anxiety and gained another 60 lbs from increased levels of Paxil, then (because it’s never enough to just be miserable, it must be compounded madly), I gained more weight from increasing beer and cheese intake even more.  Foot problems ensued, recurring hip pain, frequent back problems from hips being out of alignment…see?  She NAILED it.

My cool and funny (she was funny and very cool) coworker fortune teller got 2 out of 3 predictions right.  I’m aware of the numbers, the statistics one can apply – how easy all of these things are to predict for just about anyone.  But sometimes in life it’s a hell of a lot more fun to believe in the magic of the people you meet instead of trying to explain it away with statistics.  After all, statistics, just like magic, can be based on faulty premises, dark and stormy nights, or an irritable bowel.  I choose to believe the Filipino fortune teller.

I do not, however, believe that life ever just happens to us.  I do not believe that life is preordained and all we have to do is float along and wait for prophesies to come true.  If prophesies can be believed at all they must work because they are based on the character and the actions the individual whose life is being prophesied is most likely to take in any given situation.  Which is, really, just statistics having fun on the see-saw in the kiddie’s park.  A prophesy in which I experience a big breakdown in health and then come out of it isn’t likely to come true or be prophesied in the first place if I’m the kind of woman to luxuriate in a slow but deathly decline like Camille on her sorrowful tuberculosis couch.

I am no Camille.  I mean, I’m a pretty delicate flower when it comes to the heat, but that Camille shit isn’t me.  I have gotten up off the floor of my misery and ill-health to fight back exactly 1,789 times in the past 8 years.  I never stay on the couch of pretty dissipation for very long.  Tonight I’m not drinking alcohol because it’s the best way I know to make the Filipino fortune teller’s prophecy of returned health and vitality come true, because that’s the ending I want to this story.

90 Reasons not to Drink for 90 Days: #10

chapter four

#10 Reason not to Drink for 90 days: because I love writing more than I love drinking

(Dedicated to my friend Jimo, a patron saint of the arts)

There is nothing more gratifying than to have people excited for you to finish your second book in a series.  It means they really liked the first book.  My friend Jimo just read my book and suggested that my next reason not to drink is to get the second Cricket and Grey book written more quickly.  Which is actually one of the bigger reasons I knew I needed to give up alcohol for a while.

Everyone knows that writers shouldn’t drink hard when they’re struggling to get a name for themselves.  You start the heavy drinking AFTER everyone knows your name.  That way, when you crash and burn it will go down in spectacular history rather than just be the shame of your family and friends that is never mentioned.  I mean, if you’re going to be a problem drinker, you may as well be interesting and public about it.

Drinking makes me stay up super late and get up late and then start writing late and the later in the day it is the less likely I am to get any actual good writing done.  I was getting really pissed off at myself because I want to be on a much more disciplined writing schedule.  You have to be if you want to finish writing books and promote them and write more.  Writing well is hard work and deserves to be treated as a first priority.  As much as I love beer, I love writing more than drinking.

There will always be time to drink hard later but there isn’t always enough time to write good books now.

90 Reasons for not Drinking for 90 Days: #7


#7 Reason for not drinking for 90 days: drinking fatigue

When you come to depend on drinking to relax you, to calm you, and to help you wind down every day but you also happen to have to drink it in large quantities in order to get that benefit, you can experience drinking fatigue.  You don’t actually feel like drinking but you know that if you don’t you’ll remain the tightly wound non-sleeping and anxious person you are when you don’t drink.  So you drink, even though part of you would really like to take a break and perhaps just drink some tea for an evening.  A person who has a good relationship with alcohol doesn’t ever experience this.  So one reason not to drink for 90 days is to recover from (and cease to experience) the peculiar ennui of being obligated by habit, rather than desire, to drink a lot of beer.

I’m glad that I have forcefully removed the obligation to drink tonight.  It annoys me that I feel so much less angsty about not drinking today than I did three days ago.  Like, accepting that I’m not drinking, not just for tonight but for 3 months, is giving in to something I was determined not to be okay with.  Except that I am okay with it.  But I sure as hell won’t admit yet that it might actually feel GOOD to not drink.  Don’t worry, soon I will experience irritation fatigue, in which I begin to get really tired of being irritated all the time and forcefully remove my obligation to be annoyed.