in Checking In, Health

Alcohol Independence Day

I had my first drink in six weeks yesterday, in honor of achieving a goal I had set before Memorial Day to give up drinking until the Fourth of July. My dry spell wasn’t brought on by anything in particular. My VA doctor had before suggested that I cut back on alcohol, though I averaged less than a single drink a day so my drinking wasn’t excessive. Mostly the challenge was just to see how easily I could do it and if it benefited my health in any way.

My results? It was far easier than I anticipated and, well, I do think my health is somewhat improved but the results aren’t all that dramatic (probably because I didn’t drink much to begin with).

During this time, my temptations included a family vacation to Maine, a neighborhood party, a work lunch and work party where my boss picked up the tabs, and the opportunity to drink a cold one with my dad before he had surgery. I easily maintained my will during each one. During the parties I easily engaged in conversation in the way that perhaps being buzzed may have previously facilitated but I didn’t need the alcohol to get me talking. I suppose the sky kid in me has finally learned how to value opening up.

Healthwise, I think I am sleeping a bit better though it’s – again – not by a huge margin. I haven’t lost much weight, if any. I don’t get my vitals checked by my doctors for the forseeable future so I don’t know if any of my numbers have changed.

Going forward, I may choose to continue to abstain. I certainly don’t feel compelled to drink, like when I’m bored or feeling like I need to relax. There are other ways to do that. Mostly, though, I value my ability to think clearly and to perform at a high level. I want to improve on this.

It’s was a simple goal but it has proven effective at reminding myself of my own willpower. Willpower is a useful thing.

Update: This is my second experiment with being on the wagon. Much easier this time, I think.