Why I Gave Up Booze For An Entire Year

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.

1479037_10151852795027756_1341002369_nLord 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 30 lbs, 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(schlager) 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.

7 thoughts on “Why I Gave Up Booze For An Entire Year

  1. Good work, Michael! I also learned, a few years ago, that I don’t have an off switch. Sobriety is the only way for me. Cheers to a happier, healthier us. I fantasize about a Sunday morning mimosa! Not going to happen. Even though sobriety isn’t always easy, it has saved me in many ways. I am proud of you

  2. Awesome read, you can do this Michael! with prayers, patience, and persistance!! You got this!!

    Cheers…(clicking my club soda glass w/yours) ❤

  3. Congratulations Michael. Your will power is impressive. When I contacted diabetes I went from 185 lbs to 120 lbs then back to 140……………….so my will power was also working good..MAKE’S YOU FEEL GOOD WHEN YOU KNOW YOU CAN DO IT. Mind over matter. Weezy received her mix at 5:00 am ………..I am so proud of her she is doing well with the medication She will be that pill the rest of her life She is 2/3 thru the 30 pills ……She does not show any signs of the side effects. Good for her. Did I tell you Reid heard from Me Mary. Jim and Joyce’s Daughter. Joyce passed away in July. She was probably under a lot of stress. Enjoy your trip Tell Mithra Hi. Hope this goes thru I did not fill in my website. Don’t know what it is. Take care. Bless you and Mithra. Love ya. Dad

  4. Very well composed. I find it interesting that our journeys are different, but the outcome is the same. Alcohol nearly killed me, but I found the will power to stay above the line and survive. Sobriety reminds me that I can’t drink socially, I don’t have an off switch. Good luck to you!!

  5. Truly remarkable Michael. I’m super proud of you! I’m inspired to be a healthier me in 2017 too. I don’t usually make resolutions, but I think it’s time. I miss seeing you. Have a super 2017 & stay safe!

  6. My admiration spills over to jealousy. Why so many people try to make you drink is because they can’t imagine not. I am surrounded by drinking in my work environment and often use it as an excuse. But as you point out it’s a decision and it’s pure hard core will power. I’m hoping to get some of your will power in 2017 and will use you and a fellow friend who made the same decision as my mentors to living a better life. Thank you for sharing my friend.

  7. Way to go, dude. I admire the strength that it takes to make such a commitment to one’s own health. It’s just another thing I admire about you.

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