I’m about to make a rather bold choice but before I get into that I want to clarify a few things.
First, I am not an alcoholic. I have maybe two drinks a week on average.
I do however have many examples of people who have struggled or currently do struggle with alcohol consumption–on all sides of my family. It’s definitely an area that I need to keep an eye on.
Second, I’ve been studying the lives of the people I find most inspiring–the folks who’s lives I most want to emulate–and I’ve noticed a pattern: Almost all of them lived alcohol-free.
So, I’m going to conduct a little experiment. I’m going live alcohol-free for the entire year of 2016.
If not longer.
How did I come to this crazy “no fun” decision, you ask?
To be honest, I kinda feel like the challenge is being divinely given to me, but before you decide I’m a total nut-job allow me to explain:
The first thing that happened is I just simply drank a lot more this past year then I ever have before. I believe being more financially stable, more personally stable, and more connected to my community just gave more reasons and ability to consume. I don’t know why celebrating and alcohol are so interlinked, but they are. . . or at least they have been.
And I’ve been feeling a little uncomfortable with this “new normal” for a while.
Then I read a book called “The Skin Cleanse” to help me clear up my still acne prone skin and one of the things the author encourages her reader to cut out is, you guessed it, alcohol:
“The scientific answer is that alcohol basically hits your body like liquid sugar. Aside from being addictive and easy to overconsume (impaired judgment, much?)[…] Alcohol can also affect your sleep patterns, anxiety levels, mood, and immune system. And then there’s the potential weight gain. Drinking also dehydrates your skin and hair. In the short term, your skin will become bloated and puffy while trying to retain as much water as possible, and in the long run it will become dry and more likely to wrinkle. Your hair will become brittle and more prone to split ends. So please, do not kid yourself into thinking that you are drinking wine because it’s good for you. You drink alcohol because . . . life. You know?” – Adina Grigore
I read that last line and laughed. . . then I felt kinda weird. Well then why do you drink, Trina?
Then, the real kicker. I have struggled, embarrassingly, under alcohol’s mighty influence once or twice and I’ve realized how truly awful it would be to act that way around my kids.
My kids who are more then old enough to remember any odd behavior, no matter how fleeting.
I’d feel so ashamed, they’d feel unsafe, just the thought of it is more then enough to scare me sober.
I have no wish to experience this.
To my knowledge, alcohol has never made me smarter, calmer, less likely to act a fool.
I shy away from legalism, mostly because it is my natural state. I am uncomfortable with anything that hints at bad, dangerous, addictive, destructive. I actually give up coffee randomly just to make sure it doesn’t control me.
“I don’t need you, heavenly-black-goodness. I’m my own best friend.”
But I digress.
The other coincidental signs are as follows:
All over Facebook I saw articles with titles like, “Why I gave up alcohol.” or “Should Christians drink alcohol” and “Are you secretly an awful person. . . who drinks too much alcohol.”
And for Christmas my mother-in-law gave me a book that had a chapter all about an embarrassing moment that cost the author a friendship, all because she had a few too many and lost her social awareness.
I could go on.
PLUS, in the last few months I’ve had some incredibly unfortunate events occur in my community. Issues I don’t think would be there if those involved weren’t self soothing with so many drinks.
Why perpetuate the problem?
I see an issue.
I recognize that there are almost zero positives to not abstaining.
I’m deciding to take action.
2016 will be many things. There will be joy, and growth, change and struggle, all of which I will have the pleasure of experiencing sober.
Who could ask for more then that?
p.s. My son walked into my office and read the title of this article over my shoulder: “Do you know what alcohol is, buddy?”
“Yes. Like beer and wine and stuff.”
“Right, well. I’ve decided to not have any alcohol for an entire year. What do you think about that?”
“Umm, I think it’s ok. . . I think it’s perfect.” Smiles his gap-tooth grin and walks out.
There’s one vote for yes, and the most important one at that.
2016, Here we go!!