Sunday, April 17, 2011

Booze: 12 Year Old Whiskey vs. 12 years

I suppose I should talk about booze more, but I'm not ready to think that not drinking has to always be about drinking.  You know what I mean?  It is about self-control, discipline, about understanding craving, interaction, self-inflicted bias, and a lot of other things.  Not drinking doesn't have to be about drinking all the time, though.  

I can recognize that one should always strive to be careful not to slip up and drink, i.e. to be aware of one's thoughts enough to not easily fall into habit.  At the same time, I've made a bit of an effort (and will continue) to concentrate on other facets of my life besides not drinking.   That's necessitated some changes, I won't lie.   I think I stand in a better place than I did six months ago.  I feel less confused about things generally, though in some ways, I'm more overwhelmed.   I'm concurrently learning to let go in a way that I never could before,  or, perhaps, to find a balance between the need to know and be everything verses falling apart completely. 

It occurred to me this morning that when I track back good times in my life, i.e. when I've made the most progress (recognizing that this is completely subjective) on a larger scale, I've been not drinking.  I stopped drinking for 9 months in the year 2000, and at the time, I swore that I was staying sober for good--forever.  I'll never forget the spring break that I broke that promise to myself.  It was exciting and reckless and I desperately needed a release from the world around me.  I stayed more of less sober for three years, then, still, although I'll admit that some weekends were worse than others, and then I devolved from 2004-2008, pretty much, into a lush.  I didn't want to see myself then.  I wanted to go back in time.  I don't know if it was completely synched up with drinking or not, but there's a strong correlation.  Since 2008, things have been up and down.  I stayed sober for six months in 2009.   I don't know why I decided to stop being sober, some excuse. Some release again. 

In the short term, drinking does provide a release; in the long term (successive short term intervals), it actually can create more stress (for some) and anxiety.  I'm learning that now. 

There's a beer I bought on my 29th birthday here.  It says "SAVE FOR 30" but I think I might have to wait.  Forever, perhaps.  That is, I think I have to come to terms with the fact that not drinking is on average better for me than drinking, and simply not drink again.  That means not enjoying the luscious frothy head of a belgian style ale from an infamous cooperstown brewery, or smacking my lips at the bitterness of a brooklyn IPA.  When I think about what I lose, it seems large.  But when I compare it, now, to the  patterns in my life, overall, it doesn't seem large at all.  What's 12 year old whiskey compared to 12 years?

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