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Drynuary, Week IV

I am attempting to go thirty days without a drink. Here is my diary on the subject.

Four weeks of non-drinking.

I don’t really have anything to say other than it feels like Sliding Doors has become my life, where a new path has been forged from one little change. I’m not sure I can’t stop walking and looking down this non-drinking path. You end up feeling so much more awake and unfiltered. It’s nice! But perhaps that’s just the accumulation of much better sleep. Who knows.

As you can see, after thirty days of not drinking you are left with is a self-righteous sense of goodness. Does it really matter to anyone else that you haven’t had a drink? Of course not. If anything, you turned into a person who everyone else had to reach around to make leisurely activities work because you are the odd person out. This is not to disparage non-drinkers but not drinking makes you realize that it is in some ways one of the many weirdo dietary restrictions that can be lobbed into the mess of urban food fetishizing.

To that, four weeks dry that has been a wonderful means of taking inventory of my body and mind. When drinking to excess and generally living a bacchanalian lifestyle, certain things start to happen to you that are wrong but you believe them to be right because you’ve normalized them. It’s a personalized health gaslighting.

For example: for a few months I was having an issue where I would think of something I wanted to do or look up or say only to lose it immediately. Thoughts became sand in my hands. It was alarming considering I am not someone with a bad memory: I remember everything. There was a constant having something and immediately not-having that something. It was a sad disappearing act that I like to blame on drinking too much. While that has not completely disappeared over these four weeks, it has dulled down. I feel like Charly in Flowers For Algernon gaining full thinking from the tangle of disability.

Another example: stomach issues. For some time I was having an issue where my stomach was all sorts of loopy for hours and even days. It was like being seasick without any other element of being at sea. This is a bit more complicated of an issue as I’m not sure it’s entirely related to alcohol. It has mostly subsided but some of the other issues along with having a stomach ache persist.

Without alcohol, I’ve been able to eliminate causes of problems: memory, directly affected by alcohol—stomach? Something else is the antagonist. This is Nutrition 101 but you often don’t take the time to slow down to actually listen to your body and think about what you are doing to it nor do you actually want to change your every day because you’re used to your pattern. Drynuary forced me into rethinking this.

Again: this is all to say not-drinking only matters to you, the person not-drinking. Perhaps there are experiences to impart but it’s still an act based in the self.

On the eve of my final day, I wonder if a rebound will occur: am I going to run full speed into a bottle of wine in a Speedo, diving into it like a lush pool of grape drink or will there just be a toe dip in and out? I started the month under the assumption that my desire to consume would overcome me only to be surprised by my self-control. I like to think that will continue indefinitely.

Beyond this, I really have learned the worth of marijuana as an alternative to The Drink: why would I want to imbibe in a multiple glasses of something that is going to make me feel like shit for up to a day when I can take a few sips of a cozy high a few hours before going to bed and be done with it? Not only does marijuana help me sleep, there are no lasting effects when I wake up: it’s a very momentary thing. But too much of The Drink? I’m half functioning in my day, torn up inside and out, my third eye blinking uncontrollably. If you have been overdoing it with The Drink, shift attention to marijuana. It works.

As I look into the future, somewhat more “woke” having done this experiment, I feel more adult. I’ve learned that I don’t need to depend on this shit to exist. In this economy, it’s time for some action and you have to be entirely present to do so. That is the underline in this sobriety lesson.

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