444 club sodas â€¦ with lime.
That was the final tally of 2016â€™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 â€“ or maybe more â€“ alcoholic concoctions. Why? Because I really enjoy â€“ er, rather, enjoyed â€“ 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 didnâ€™t have a problem with alcohol. But turns out I did â€“ at least as far as I was concerned. The wake-up call was when I caught myself drinking at home â€¦ alone â€¦ daily â€¦ 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 â€¦ was a waistline. I managed to pack on 60 pounds in 2015. Well, 59.5 pounds â€“ but I opted to round up. Thatâ€™s five pound a month, folks. I had ballooned to my heaviest weight ever â€¦ or as my physician pointed out, â€œ60 pounds?! Now that takes effort, fat ass. Figure out something — NOW!â€
Drinking had an unfortunate ripple effect. I would over-drink â€¦ 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 thatâ€™s exactly what I did. Not imbibingÂ was easier than I thought it would be â€“ that is, if it werenâ€™t for those meddling kids.
Nearly every one of my friends could not fathom why â€“ for the love of God and all thatâ€™s pure and holy â€“ 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 Iâ€™d try such a â€œstuntâ€ â€“ as one friend called it. I had this same conversation dozens of times â€¦ because people kept asking why I didnâ€™t just cut back on the booze.
WHY?! The â€œwhyâ€ part was an easy discussion for me. I couldnâ€™t drink in moderation anymore â€“ or even attempt to exercise self-restraint. HOW?! The â€œhowâ€ part remained to be seen because I knew I couldnâ€™t just switch to pop. That would be disaster in a glass. No, I had to have something non-caloric. Cue the club sodas â€¦ with lime.
444 of â€˜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 â€¦ preferably something with shrimp.
I still havenâ€™t decided if my Sangria sabbatical will continue in 2017 â€“ more than likely it will. Iâ€™d like to say Iâ€™m continuing to abstain for my health. (Yes, Iâ€™m down 30lbs â€¦ but itâ€™s still not where I need to be.) The reality is Iâ€™m probably going to stay on the wagon simply to exasperate my friends. Plus, think of the money Iâ€™ll save. Booze can be pricey â€“ especially if you want the good stuff. Hell — even the sub-parÂ stuff adds up after awhile.
Willpower is a funny thing. You either have it or you donâ€™t. Thereâ€™s really no grey area. So â€“ if nothing else â€“ Iâ€™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(schlÃ¤ger) star for me. Now if only I could only give up glazed donuts â€¦ Iâ€™d likely be able to get back to my birth weight. Maybe we’ll try that in 2018. Baby steps.