Alcohol Update

It's been a while since I've posted about alcohol and my effort to reduce how much I'm consuming. I am still drinking more than I think I should. I'm trying out a couple techniques. The first is to not moralize my drinking. I should not feel bad for drinking, essentially. I don't drink a lot. Maybe 12-18 a week. Most of that occurring on the weekends. About once a week I'll drink during the week.

My first step to not moralizing my choices was to try and make drinking alcohol normal. That means when I feel like drinking, I should have some. Try not making alcohol the forbidden fruit. I'm still drinking the same amount. I am still moralizing my purchases of beer. So this technique is to be determined. That's the other thing I've realized and I'm trying to remember. This will take time. It took me several years to truly quit smoking. I scaled back very slowly over a long time period to finally quitting. I feel that approach was effective because I've had cigarettes with people since and the urge or desire to pick the habit up again hasn't reared it's ugly head.

The other technique I'm trying is to reward myself when I don't pick up a pack. I have a list of things I want that aren't essentially to my lively head. They're nice to have items. Every time I have the urge to purchase alcohol, but decide not to, I tally that. I give myself $10 for every situation like that. I've done that four times so far and purchased myself Overwatch loot boxes during the most recent special event. I have other things on the list ranging from $20 to $70. I feel like this gives me a choice between spending the night drinking or saving for something else that will bring enjoyment to my life. I've only been doing it for a few weeks now but it is helping.

I'll update when I feel I've made some progress. I'm trying to approach this as a troubleshooting exercise. See what works and what doesn't. Adjust as necessary. I think the hardest part at this point is seeing my successes and remembering that this will take time. When I purchase alcohol I'm buying things with less ABV. I'm kicking myself less when I wake up the night after drinking 6+ beers. That's a win in my view.

Sitting here with a beer

I'm staring at it longingly. I'm wondering if I should crack the top.

I've already had two and just cracked the top for another one and decided to write a post. I just completed a 12 week weight loss challenge at work. I won because I lost 15 pounds. I did it by adjusting my diet. Mostly more protein. I wouldn't to do less beer. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. I'm still at 12-18 beers a week.

Since my last post I poured out more beer on two different occasions. I don't think that part is working as well as I hoped. My wife is starting to get a bit annoyed with me about wasting money like that. This is life though. We learn by failing. For me it's the urge to drink and I'm wondering if I need to feed that urge, but do it in moderation. I think I'm going to try to limit myself in the evenings. Instead of doing a whole six pack. Stick to two or three. Enjoy the beer a little more. Mindful drinking, as I like to call it. Right now I'm drinking a Sam Adams Helles. It's pretty good and perfect for warmer weather.

Also since my last post, I spoke with a friend who read my post. It resonated with him because he felt that same urge I feel. It was a good conversation and I was glad that I could talk about it with someone. Alcohol is a big part of our society. It's glorified on TV and used as an excuse to cut loose. Again, I don't want to stop alcohol all together. I just want to feel more under control.

Pouring out and substituting alcohol

Captain's Log...

I really don't know how to start these types of posts. They're not meant to be depressing. I also don't want them to be too happy. There are others who are struggling with much worse than me.

I didn't drink Friday, but I drank Saturday. I did it because why not. I woke up this morning regretting the decision. Not because I was hungover (only slightly) but because I went to bed late and I got up later. I really like the mornings I wake up from not having drank the night before. Even a couple beers has a different feeling.

I can't seem to capture that feeling when I want to drink. Instead I feel that I want to cut loose. Have a little fun on Saturday night. Adding alcohol to last night's activities didn't add anything. I watched a couple shows with the wife. Then watched an episode of Iron Fist (loving it by the way). Then I played some Overwatch. I knew I should stop at midnight. Instead I poured another beer and then another. It was only as I started to nod off during The Grand Tour that I decided to go to bed.

I poured the remaining beers down the sink this morning. I've used this tactic before when trying to quit smoking. After floating a few packs of cigarettes I finally stopped getting them. I'm hoping I'm close to doing the same thing with beer. This is the second time I've burned several containers of beer.

I'm also trying to reward myself a little. If I can get through a week without drinking, I will by myself a graphic novel or comic book collection. I love reading and I love the Marvel universe. The only movies I go see now are usually Marvel movies. I used to read comic books, but at some point I stopped buying them. I'm hoping that at some point I'll prefer comic books to alcohol.

Struggling with alcohol

I am not saying I have a problem. But maybe I have a problem.

I am trying to quit alcohol. I've been trying this for years. I do it every time I drink a little too much. I drink a little too much on rare occasions. Now I want to quit for several reasons. Weight loss, saving money, and health benefits just to name a few. The biggest reason is that I don't like relying on it as stress relief. I don't like the feeling of wanting a beer after a long stressful day.

Last year, as I made a move from South Carolina to Tennessee, I broke down. It was from the stress of moving. Finding a place to live. Selling a house. Boxing and moving everything in the house. This on top of the pressure to do well at a new job while being hundreds of mile away from work. Wife and kids. I literally broke down from the pressure. I laid in bed and cried.

I had drank the night before and stayed up a little too late. I had stopped working out. I gained weight that I had lost the previous year. All of that due to stress and not dealing with it well. I now see that working out is an important part of stress management for me. I've lost the weight I put on last summer. I'm participating in a weight challenge at work and I'm kicking ass. I'd be kicking even more ass if I could stop drinking.

At this point I realize I've yet to address how much I'm drinking. Usually around 12-18 beers a week. Most times it's 12. Usually, it's Friday and Saturday. Occasionally, it's on the weeknights. It's not a lot, but I hate that feeling of need. I don't like it as a stress relief because that can be dangerous. I've already been to that dangerous place once.

We're in the process of building a home. There are big changes going on at work. That along with the usual family stuff at home is causing me concern. I've thought about ways that I can deal with this better. I feel like I need to quit drinking. Try to become a more social drinker. One that can have a couple and not feel the urge to go on. I've tried several different tactics and strategies. Some are working better than others. That's when I got the idea that maybe I should try blogging.

I like typing blog posts. It's therapeutic (especially with a mechanical keyboard). There's something calming about writing something. I feel accomplished. My hope is that by writing this post I will hold myself more accountable. My hope is that by writing any future posts I will get the frustration of quitting out of my head and into a blog post. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't. Lets find out.