A month ago I wrote a blog post about my rocky relationship with whiskey, which stemmed from habitual drinking and an inability to relax. The post went up last week, as you read this.
In those three weeks, I have managed to tame my habit, although it hasn’t been easy. I decided to set a schedule for myself, as giving myself the option to have a drink any time I wanted seem to be a fool’s errand. This habit just has too much of a hold on me.
I decided that I would drink on Tuesday nights and on Friday nights, with an option for Saturday nights. That’s 2.5 nights a week, down from, well, 7. I’ve tried to get myself to go to bed at a reasonable hour even if I’ve been drinking which, as anyone who likes to drink knows, is easier said than done.
I feel better than I have in a long time, although I’ve had so many bouts of illness lately that I might just feel this great in context. But between getting more and better sleep and eating better (my current diet is so good it amazes me) I feel healthy.
But no matter how good I feel, no matter how much it might mean to me that I feel good, it’s still a mental fight most nights. I’m still tempted and I still rationalize. For example, I did not drink last night, Saturday night, but I am drinking right now, Sunday night. I’m not really concerned that I broke my self-imposed structure, but it is a little disconcerting how easily I can rationalize my decision. Not only can I claim that it’s okay because I didn’t drink last night, this is also the first day of Daylight Savings, which means it feels an hour earlier than it is, which means that falling asleep on my own would be that much harder. A drink should help with that, right?
My ability to rationalize nearly any event or decision in my life is both a blessing and a curse. I would say that it helps me sleep at night if I were actually able to do that. It’s mostly just gotten me into trouble.
But so far I’ve managed to beat this habit. I’ve held firm on my schedule, even with the aforementioned switch up. It’s Monday as write this and I didn’t drink last night or the night before and I won’t drink tonight.
I’m proud of myself.
I don’t know that it’s gotten easier. There are supposed to be markers when you quit smoking where it gets easier: 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months. This has not been my experience with taming this habit, but maybe that’s because I’m not going cold turkey. Still, every night I have the same internal battle, but so far I’ve been winning.
My main problem right now is convincing myself that I can be creative without drinking, which sounds ridiculous, I know, but my brain is what it is. My writing has fallen by the wayside over the last, oh, four years which, strangely enough, happens to be how old my son is. I am never going to have a lot of time to write, so I need to be using what little I have to the fullest — so no pressure there.
The bottom line is that I’m getting this thing under control, even if it’s a fight. That in and of itself is enough to give me confidence that I can get other aspects of my life under control if I just focus.
Or even being a better husband.
Or maybe not checking on my sleeping son 4 times a night.
…that last one is going to be the hardest.