“Some people spend the day in complaining of a headache, and the night in drinking the wine that gives it.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
A lifestyle of fairly frequent alcohol consumption can present itself as a pretty rough cycle, where one night’s consumption is only eventually tempered by another day’s drinking. Though I resisted the hair of the dog on Tuesday, the trials and travails of Monday night’s festivities were enough to make this whole challenge seem not so bad…
Since I was slotted to close at the restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day, I had generally removed any notion of celebrating the holiday from my mind. Well, as fate would have it, I was called off at the last moment and immediately proceeded to celebrate the festivities in the accepted style.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
Several emerald hued beverages later, I woke up with a vile constitution and a fairly strong will to get this challenge underway. This is the equivalent, I would suppose, of taking a week off of watersports after being involved in a jet ski accident; I felt that I might have to go a week without drinking whether I liked it or not, if I ever again hoped to restore my good temperament.
We’ve probably all been there at some point, the morning where you swear not to touch a drop of alcohol until Nixon’s ghost returns to seek vengeance on us all. Well I might not be able to guarantee my eternal sobriety, but it felt good to know that I wouldn’t feel another hangover for at least a week.
Since then, there’s been a lot of good, some bad, and at least a few challenges I’ve encountered with One Week Without Alcohol:
1. It’s been harder to write
I’ve been looking to the wisdom of others to get through this challenge, and have been particularly trying to follow the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey.” Despite having more spare time to get work done, however, I’ve had a bit harder of a time with this than I had expected.
I had hardly realized before this challenge, but every time I sit down to write in the evenings, it’s over the company of a beer or two, usually a Flat 12 Half-cycle IPA, a hometown favorite of mine. Even though it’s only one drink, it seems to loosen me up just enough to write without too much inhibition, and stop me from meticulously editing until I actually have something down to work with.
2. I’ve laid in bed awake waiting to fall asleep
As many studies have shown, drinking alcohol before bed does not contribute to a good night’s sleep, reducing REM sleep and causing you to feel exhausted upon waking. Even still, it does make it a bit easier to fall asleep in the first place, even after having one drink each night.
3. Going “out” has been hard
I went to see a friend’s band play last night, and while I was fine in the first set, drinking cranberry & soda’s, by the second and third set I just started to get tired and my ears started ringing. I’m generally always the one wanting to stay out as late as possible, but I had no interest in being out past even eleven o’clock.
Short of these few challenges, however, I’ve found these past days to actually be refreshing and renewing. I’m already feeling better physically and clearer mentally, and can’t wait to see how I feel early next week. That said, the big challenge will be this weekend when I try and go out to the same haunts with the same company, without indulging in the swill myself. Should be interesting, to say the least. Wish me luck.
may we all get better together.
Start your own One Week With/out challenge! Begin here.