444 club sodas … with lime.
That was the final tally of 2016’s sobriety. I counted each fizzy, non-alcoholic beverage I drank this year like my life depended on it. Perhaps it did. Had I been boozing it up this year, I likely would have consumed as many – or maybe more – alcoholic concoctions. Why? Because I really enjoy – er, rather, enjoyed – drinking.
Lord knows I tried to reign in my boozy tendencies in 2015. I took several months off from drinking to reboot my system and remind myself I didn’t have a problem with alcohol. But turns out I did – at least as far as I was concerned. The wake-up call was when I caught myself drinking at home … alone … daily … and usually straight out of the wine bottle. Wine was most definitely my drink of choice. No overindulging on Long Island Iced Teas, mind you. I still had pride. What I did not have … was a waistline. I managed to pack on 60 pounds in 2015. Well, 59.5 pounds – but I opted to round up. That’s five pound a month, folks. I had ballooned to my heaviest weight ever … or as my physician pointed out, “60 pounds?! Now that takes effort, fat ass. Figure out something — NOW!”
Drinking had an unfortunate ripple effect. I would over-drink … and subsequently overeat. It was rarely the other way around. With a swift, one-two punch (sans rum), I figured I could curb two problems and that’s exactly what I did. Not imbibing was easier than I thought it would be – that is, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.
Nearly every one of my friends could not fathom why – for the love of God and all that’s pure and holy – I would voluntarily choose to give up booze. They were adamant I drink with them. Apparently my fun AND their fun depended on it. I managed to deflect and defer every time, but I got tired of explaining myself on why I’d try such a “stunt” – as one friend called it. I had this same conversation dozens of times … because people kept asking why I didn’t just cut back on the booze.
WHY?! The “why” part was an easy discussion for me. I couldn’t drink in moderation anymore – or even attempt to exercise self-restraint. HOW?! The “how” part remained to be seen because I knew I couldn’t just switch to pop. That would be disaster in a glass. No, I had to have something non-caloric. Cue the club sodas … with lime.
444 of ‘em to be exact.
It took nearly four months before I stopped craving liquor. But I still miss wine to this day. I fantasize about swirling around the perfect buttery Chardonnay that would compliment a perfect meal … preferably something with shrimp.
I still haven’t decided if my Sangria sabbatical will continue in 2017 – more than likely it will. I’d like to say I’m continuing to abstain for my health. (Yes, I’m down 30lbs … but it’s still not where I need to be.) The reality is I’m probably going to stay on the wagon simply to exasperate my friends. Plus, think of the money I’ll save. Booze can be pricey – especially if you want the good stuff. Hell — even the sub-par stuff adds up after awhile.
Willpower is a funny thing. You either have it or you don’t. There’s really no grey area. So – if nothing else – I’m glad I stuck to my guns and my commitment to not drink. If nothing else, I set a lofty goal for myself and achieved it. Gold(schläger) star for me. Now if only I could only give up glazed donuts … I’d likely be able to get back to my birth weight. Maybe we’ll try that in 2018. Baby steps.