Will I Drink Again?

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By far, the question I get most often these days is: “Do you think you will drink again?” This is an interesting progression in people’s reaction to my resolution not to drink alcohol this year. In the beginning, it was: “Do you miss it?” (I answered that question in an early blog post which you can read here.)

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(Above: Me having my last drink, a nice glass of champagne last New Year’s Eve. Was this my last alcoholic beverage, ever?)

Initially, I assumed that I would start drinking again when New Year’s rolled around again. In my mind, I was very clear that I was giving up drinking for one full year and I would start again on January 1, 2015. In fact, I even considered contacting a few different champagne companies to see if any of them would consider sponsoring my New Year’s Eve party.

Now that I have already achieved both my weight loss goal and my marathon PR in just short five months, the question of “will I drink again?” is one that I have started to give a lot more thought. Nearly halfway through my “dry year,” I’m honestly still not sure. There are some pretty good reasons on both sides of the ledger.

3 Reasons to Drink Again:

1. I’ve earned it. I’ve lost more than 30 pounds from my highest point and now weigh my ideal weight for my body frame. Read about how I gained and lost 30 pounds here. Not drinking enabled my weight loss and my weight loss helped my marathon training and propelled me to my fastest marathon time. After all this hard work, haven’t I earned the right to drink wine again (in moderation, at least)?

2. I miss it. Like when I wrote about it earlier this year, there are still times when I miss drinking alcohol. I miss it the most when my husband, Bruce, and I got out for a nice dinner. Great food gets enhanced when it’s accompanied by a great glass of wine. One of the lowest points in this process thus far was when Bruce went to a wine and food-paired dinner without me. I also really crave a beer after a long run or road race. Simply put, there are times when an NA just doesn’t cut it.

3. I’m not an alcoholic. There were times in the past when I was disappointed in myself for drinking too much. And a few occasions when I crossed a line in my consumption. Having alcoholism in my family has always made me hypersensitive to how much I was drinking, and also caused me to worry that I might become an alcoholic. Back in January, I did some research and now feel confident that I am not an alcoholic, nor was I an alcohol abuser. (That post is here.)  

3 Reasons Not to Drink Again:

1. Why go back? This is probably the strongest argument not to drink again, and is one that was raised by my friend, Rose, in response to a very early blog post. A teetotaler herself, Rose asked: “Are you thinking of quitting for good? I mean, after you succeed in losing the weight, and you will, and running so hard that you get your PR, why go back to it?” Considering what not drinking has already enabled me to achieve, why would I go back?

2. I like who I am now. This is really just a continuation of the first reason above. In addition to achieving the goals I set for myself, not drinking has also enabled me to sleep better, given me clearer thinking, and made me a happier person. I just gave up one thing, it was relatively easy to do, and I have gained so much in the bargain. It was a fair trade, wasn’t it?  

3. Moderation is not my strong suit. I seem to have only two speeds: 100 miles per hour and full stop. Luckily, it’s also true that that when I commit to something, I go all in and don’t mess around. (This doesn’t mean that I am always successful.) Suffice it to say that moderation isn’t easy for me. This was why I gave up drinking in the first place, because just cutting back had seemed impossible.

All of the above said, although I am still mulling it over, I’m leaning toward giving moderation a try in 2015.  I think it would be really nice to celebrate all of my 2014 achievements with a glass of kick-ass champagne on New Year’s Eve. And, there’s still plenty of time for me to look for sponsors. Of course, there’s also more than six months for my thinking to evolve even further.

What are your thoughts and predictions about whether or not I should or will drink again when 2015 rolls around?

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9 thoughts on “Will I Drink Again?

  1. Bill Dubiel

    In your “3 Reasons Not to Drink Again”, read # 2, and then read it again. I can’t think of a better reason not to drink again. Also, I’m pretty sure that one glass of champagne (or, wine, or beer, etc.) and # 3 will kick in, with the second glass, and the third glass, ad infinitum. You’ve created a new lifestyle and really seem to be enjoying it. Why change if you’re happy?

    • The question for me is whether not drinking was a means to an end and not an end in itself. And, am I happy because I have lost weight, feel great, run faster, etc. And, will I still feel that way if I add moderate alcohol consumption into my diet/life? Or, is that like trying to have my cake and eat it, too? These are the new questions.

  2. Martha Johnston

    I think you have unwittingly set out your 2015 NYR, why not go 100% at achieving moderation. I love the irony in that goal. If not, then lean toward a dry life – based on your writing it sounds like keeping all that gained rather than “earning” back what you lost, i.e. gave up will yield the better lifelong deal.

  3. Terrence McCarthy

    Have you spoken with any recovering alcoholics about your year without alcohol? Might be interesting to hear what they say.

    • Yes. Several. I have learned a lot about life without drinking. I also learned that for most alcoholics to finally quit, they found themselves in situations where they were a danger to themselves or others or were alienating their loved ones, etc. These conversations are interesting. However, they don’t relate directly to my situation.

  4. From my friend Brian through Facebook:

    I, too, quit for similar reasons at least 5 years ago. I wasn’t an alcoholic, either, but those urges or conflicted thoughts you mention take a LONG time to go away. I didn’t believe they would ever stop. I didn’t touch a drop again until long after they did stop–at least 3 years, from what I can remember. Peer pressure does not help, either. It is amazing how downright nasty otherwise nice, intelligent people can be when drinking around someone who doesn’t want to. I am completely ambivalent about alcohol now. In the last few years, I’ve had maybe 5 drinks–a glass at a nice restaurant in Italy, a digestivo with friends after dinner–that kind of thing. After each one, I though, “I could have done without that.” I no longer enjoy or connect with it. I also no longer feel awkward or obliged at social gatherings where alcohol is present; once the “to drink or not to drink” nagging leaves the mind, these situations are much more enjoyable. I am a much happier person without.

  5. As Sharon’s husband, I’m in a unique position–like it or not–with regard to her “journey” this calendar year. I have to admit that, although I try and support her in every way, it’s been difficult at times, because I have not, myself, given up drinking moderately, as I would characterize my own indulgence. Although Sharon’s abstinence is most often a non-issue, there are those occasions–A Friday night after a long work week, a food-paired wine tasting, etc–when I miss sharing the pleasure of those events with her. I’ve never been a closet drinker–to me, it’s always about the socializing. As I’ve said before, one of the more interesting–and unexpected–outcomes of Sharon’s not drinking is the fact that I now drink significantly less than I did before.

  6. Mark Enbysk

    I give up alcohol for Lent every year, not for religious, but rather for health reasons. At Lent’s end this year I made a pledge to not drink hard alcohol…so far so good. The martinis were sliding down a bit too frequently and comfortably. I believe my liver thanks me, but also would love for me to not process beer and wine thorough it also. Perhaps that is the next logical step as I approach my 60s. Cheers!

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