Driving In the Snow: Controlling Your Habits
I’ve been closet-sober for 90 days. If there is one thing to be ashamed of in today’s society, it’s sobriety. If you’re not drinking drinks and showing the world that you can party, you’re a loser. After the first of the year, I usually slow down my drinking or stop altogether. It’s fresh off the holiday season, where binging on food and alcohol has become as normal as running to the mall on Thanksgiving day to get a deal on a Chinese import. Never mind a “cheat day,” most of us have a cheat season. Naturally, the pendulum needs to swing back the other way – so I like to take charge and initiate the reverse motion. For me, a proactive action eases the task at hand and lessens my own resistance to change. It’s easier to drive through a snowstorm than to sit shotgun – the driver at least has the sense of control while the guy sitting next to him is straight shitting his pants.
January 1st is a good reset button for me. The new year tricks your brain into believing you have a clean slate, even though they’re just numbers on a grid hanging on your kitchen wall. I’ve found that picking a date to start something or to drop a bad habit is the most effective method to affect change. Whether it’s the new year, your birthday, your dog’s birthday, June 26th, October 9th, or whatever, pick a date and stick to it. I kicked tobacco using this method. A date, and a decision to exercise willpower is all you need.
For me alcohol has never been a good companion. Actually, he’s kind of a dick. Either way, I’ve cut down heavily from the amount I used to drink. I was never an alcoholic, just a binge drinking enthusiast. But as you get older you get healthier. There’s a wider reference from which to pick up good habits and you have a better understanding of your body. For me, not drinking after the holidays allows my body to detoxify and gives my liver a break from having to deal with a steady stream of poison.
Come spring or summer, I can then enjoy a cold one after a surf or sitting on the beach with friends. And as the holidays approach, I can celebrate the spirits merrily as I know a period of cleansing awaits me after the ball drops. The key is to ease gently back into the drinking. After a prolonged period of not drinking alcohol, my tolerance drastically drops. Needless to say when I start drinking again I don’t get a 40 ounce of Olde English Ice and pound it outside of a liquor store. I usually phase in with red wine and beer at first, then gradually add the hard stuff over time. Because of this seasonal habit, I now enjoy alcohol like an adult (most of the time). This year I think I’ll be abstaining from alcohol until my brother’s wedding this Memorial Day weekend. Dates. That would make it one-hundred-forty-seven days without alcohol. Not that I’m pretending I’m not counting. This gives me a good break from booze and a half way decent chance at remotely pulling off a summer body.
You are in control of your actions. I’ve found that being able to turn vices on and off is extremely empowering and allows one to feel more in alignment with self control and balance. It’s not about cutting stuff out… live a little. This is it guys, you’re eating the main course. So season it, throw some hot sauce on and enjoy. I’ve become acutely aware of the importance of balance. “Everything in moderation” was kinda right. I’m familiar with addiction and understand it’s power. I know some personalities can’t dabble. But if you can, and want to add to your overall health at the same time, set some limitations and healthy rewards. So when the snowstorm comes, sit in the driver’s seat… and wheel this thing.
Hair and Teeth Pro-Tip: Download a goal app on your phone like Goal Tracker or HabitBull. It’s extremely helpful in keeping yourself in line with your goals and habit limitations.