This is the year I quit drinking.
Seriously...it may be the only thing George W. Bush and I have in common and I hope to actually beat the "quit drinking when I turned 40" mark by a few months.
I told my son that for his birthday (which is actually next week despite his party being last Saturday) I would quit drinking.
He didn't ask directly but he has been monitoring my beer consumption and has brought it up multiple times during our morning commutes to school "you know beer isn't healthy, soda isn't healthy, candy isn't healthy! If I can't have it then why should you? ".
Good question, young man.
So why now?
I didn't wake up hung over this morning.
I didn't drink too much yesterday but almost everyday since December 16th, 2008 I have had a daily drink or two or four.
Why do I remember this date?
It was the first beer I had after my son was born and before that I had gone almost 2 years without any alcohol except for a shot of whiskey on New Years Eve 2006 in Bisbee, Arizona.
Am I an alcoholic?
I don't know.
Do I meditate every morning, practice yoga, exercise and eat an almost 100% plant based diet?
I do all those wonderful things but...
I used to be a strict Vegan who chain smoked Marlboro Reds so my history with balancing the good with the bad is something I've been mastering since I first started stealing wine and watering it down from my father in High school.
I was saving him calories and if you knew my Dad you would know he was a calorie counting wheat germ eating health nut...a few months of every year, anyway.
So...me drinking his wine meant I was actually helping him, right?
Here is the question:
How am I gonna do it? and why?
I love beer.
I've got a pretty good appreciation for it.
I worked in breweries for years and I can tell you that a fresh pour from a nitrous tap is heaven.
Ambers are my current favorites but the Vanilla Porter at Borderlands is pretty amazing (thank you, Zack for letting me get a taste of it) and so far Tucson's Dragoon Brewery has not disappointed me, yet.
So...it's not easy.
I'm not some "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf" type that gets crappy at dinner parties or an "Old E" swigging slop fest but I drink every night and depending on the time of the month I can be a pretty mean spirited drunk.
No doubts about it.
For almost 6 years I have been thinking "maybe, I don't need to quit, entirely. If I give myself rules, I can cut down considerably. I will only drink when out and about or I will only have 1 beer after work and I will have to also drink 3 glasses of water with each beer".
I used to do this kind of bargaining with cigarettes and with sugar and with flavored non-dairy creamer (that addiction may be most embarrassing one) but the reality is I have to do it Cold Turkey which sucks.
Cold Turkey? Just stop? It's shittty.
I get shitty the evening of and then what happens? The next morning, I wake up and feel great except then I get nervous because most of my social interaction outside of work involves drinking and despite knowing that I am freakishly charming when sober, I still get anxious when I am out and about with my peers or family so I drink.
It feels like a stress busting sigh...that edge is softened and my internal story that says "everyone thinks I am an idiot" quiets a bit and I forget about it for awhile until the buzz wears off and it starts again so then I grab another and another.
Of course, it's not just social situations...it's my end of the day reward for driving an hour home and walking into a home that is never as clean as I want and immediately hearing 2 barking dogs that even after a year have yet to get used to eachother.
Instead of getting mad...I walk to the fridge and grab a beer.
I start to chug it before I look around and begin to feel annoyed. Unfortunately, after an hour or two I am suddenly too tired to deal with the evening needs of motherhood and partnership so I become short and impatient.
This cycle sucks and it's sucking me dry so it has to stop.
Every morning when I wake up, I meditate.
I love it and I can't imagine waking up and imbibing to escape reality.
Even when I know my day is super packed I would never consider drinking first thing.
My mornings are the most pure and beautiful part of my day because I am 100% awake so why do I have to drink and escape every night?
Everyday... I try to help others and I try everyday to be a better Mom and be a better partner but the reality is I want to have some silence and to have more than 3 hours to myself any given week but because I'm asking for more than most ever get...I feel guilty hence reason #7 million on why I need another drink.
Oh me and my messy ego.
Today...I am going to go to a family BBQ and I will have a beer and probably a few more.
I love my brother but I don't fit in with his social circle so I will drink and hope I don't start any liberal leaning arguments.
When will I stop?
Here it is...here is the date:
There it is.
Why that date?
Will it be forever?
I don't know that either but it can't continue the way it has been...I deserve better as does my son and my boyfriend and my friends and my family.
I am missing out and I don't have anymore time to lose...
So here's to 40 and may it be sober.