Last night I had a dream I was drinking a pint of beer. It was about 9:45pm. I go to bed real early since giving up alcohol and everything else bad for me in January, and replace it with food. Like, as much food as I can possibly eat. Even when I’m stuffed. (Which, I admit, I also did when I was drinking, but somehow it registers more now).
My colleague says she’s sleeping better without wine or cocktails. I’m not entirely sure that’s true for me. I never really sleep that well but I can say my eyes look clearer and I have more energy. I may have more energy because I’m having coffee more often and it’s just the caffeine, but I’m definitely wasting less time. The problem with that is: I’m working more. There’s got to be other things to do with the time than just being a workaholic. I should be exercising more, and I was, at first. But January is an ugly time to quit drinking. It’s freezing outside and even with the best high-tech running gear, the temperature does not inspire one to hit the streets. It inspires one to hit the bottle.
So, OK: Dry January. I am saving money, for sure. And reading more. And taking better care of my teeth. I haven’t flossed this much since I was 15. I guess it’s all part of taking better care of myself, but I do miss having that release. Running does provide relief, and I’ve had nice runs, overlooking the water, with the city sparkling, and feeling like I’m the most powerful man in the world. Today I’m going to try and run twice. (I went to bed last night around the same time as the kids and got up at 4:20, which used to mean something different to me than time to wake up).
In general, it’s a great experiment. You want to have control over your decisions, and make sure your lifestyle isn’t just mindless habit, and that your kids don’t say, “Look, daddy. It’s your store,” when you drive passed the LCBO. That’s not good, whether or not you edit a running magazine. They should think my store is a library or the homeless shelter where I volunteer. I’ve skipped a friend’s book launch and a hockey game and substituted both things with the YMCA. Really only two nights were super hard: one, when the kids were driving me crazy after schlepping them all over town (and again, January—what a month! Any parent knows that the gloves, hat, scarf, snow pant, boot, scarf uniform makes dressing each morning as if for Halloween; plus, have we reached the point where it’s too cold to ice skate? What are we supposed to be doing with the kids now on Sundays, read?)
The second time I can’t really remember, so let’s just count all the niggling little occurrences as one combined great big one.
I’m proud of myself, hence this little story. I rarely post after five tall boys, a Subway hero, and two Jameson’s. It’s funny, though, how many other people are also doing this. You reach the end of the holidays, when cocktail hour keeps getting earlier and you’ve enriched the bottle collectors and basically holiday-partied from the middle of November to New Year’s Day. You reach the end of that like: enough. And so you hit the first week of Dry January with vigour. But now, the waning days, and it’s getting restricting, as if the natural order of things is crying out to be restored. In that sense, it’s like the urge to walk at the end of a marathon. Do we do what impulse tells us to do or do we will ourselves to the finish line? I trudge forward, telling myself that all this repression must not lead to a February, á la Mötley Crüe.
I control this, it doesn’t control me. I’ll drink Perrier and chocolate milk, floss, and count down the days until I break free from this contract, which is basically make believe, but has become my north star for 2019. For now, if I have to have a golden pint of amber, I’ll just save it, until the 31st, for my dreams.