Archive for February, 2009

No Alcohol – Day 22

February 28, 2009

Amsterdam. Evening #1

Glasses of alcohol drunk: 0. Joints smoked: 0.Prostitutes shagged: 0.

Another late night, as it is 4:30 am when I am writing this. Just came back from a first grand, and random, evening in the European city of vice.

Actually, staying away from the vices was very easy as I spent the night with the locals. Most Dutch never visit the coffee shops or the red light district. They do drink, however, but are very respectful of people who don’t, and not once tonight have I heard: “what? you’re drinking a Coke? come on!”

We hung out in a bar, in a packed-to-the-brim club, and backstage of an English speaking comedy show. I had my first croquette from a vending machine. I reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen since college.

On the way home, we saw a guy who was hallucinating and thinking he was fighting a street guerilla with a machine gun.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

No Alcohol – Day 21

February 27, 2009

My third week of not drinking a drop of alcohol is complete. Hurray.

One of my fans 😉 forwarded me a link to an article written by somebody who goes out socializing without drinking for the first time. Here it is:

http://proof.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/is-the-party-over/

I wish I had the time to invest in describing my experience in a way that is as detailed as her. I do relate to some of her emotions and thoughts, although she doubted her ability to have fun without booze much more than I did.

***

Cath, I loved your comment. I’ve got to say, I like your thinking! Strangely enough, and despite my strong inclination for nicotine addiction, I have smoked joints without falling back into smoking cigarettes again. But for this week end, I think I’m not going to smoke pot (or eat it in a brownie). The goal here is to be clear-headed for 30 days.

I love receiving comments from random strangers. Keep’em coming!

***

The energy that I feel after 3 weeks, is not just physical. It is also mental. I am stronger than I thought I could be. I have more ressources in me than I ever imagined. I’m loving the drought 🙂 In the beginning, I felt in a position of weakness, and posted a quote from a book called “Vipère au poing” (roughly meaning: Snake in the Fist); I thought that I was undertaking an aggressive mental struggle. Instead, the process of feeling good has been much smoother and calmer.

No Alcohol – Day 20

February 26, 2009

Two third! It’s a great feeling to be going through a successful experience.

Thanks to Mac for his comment two days ago. When I read it, I thought that he might have been inspired, so I’m glad.

He was asking if I felt more energetic, and without a doubt, yes.

***

Also, I’ve been seized by a sudden need to re-read Victor Hugo and Oscar Wilde. Not sure if there is any cause/consequence link here.

No Alcohol – Day 19

February 25, 2009

19 days already ! 🙂

I knew there would be a point at which I would miss a glass of alcohol to accompany food, and tonight was just the night !

Scene: three friends at a crêperie, enjoying delicious Brittany-style crêpes for Mardi-Gras. (yes, in France, we eat crêpes for mardi-gras)

Action: the crêpes are served. Apple cider is served to my friends.

Zoom into character’s mind (me): “God a cup of cider would be delicious with this ham/cheese/mushroom galette!”

Fade to black.

***

I am going to Amsterdam this week end. I do not plan to drink, but I am asking myself this philosophical question: would smoking marijuana be a violation of this trial? I know the trial says “no alcohol”. But it is more than that: it is “no use of brain-altering substances, no escape into fantasy world, just plain perception of reality 24/7.” I would feel like it would be a violation. Or it would be cheating.

Problem is: cheating is naughty. And naughty is fun.

No Alcohol – Day 18

February 23, 2009

Hi.

How are you?

No Alcohol – Day 17

February 22, 2009

I’m wondering, again, if this trial was a good idea.

No Alcohol – Days 15 & 16

February 21, 2009

So far so good. Looks like this trial is shaping up as well as the 100% success trial. Been unfailingly keeping my resolution.

I wrote the day 14 post before going to bed at 10 pm. Turned out I slept from 10:15 to 10:45, then was wide awake, took the resolution to watch a Woody Allen movie at midnight, and fell asleep around 1:30 am. I must say that I haven’t been sleeping well; at least, the alcohol made me drowsy and I always fell asleep quickly.

Anyway-

So much for being clear-headed: last night I forgot my card in an ATM machine, with an open session still going on. Somebody could have taken loads of cash. No withdrawal currently shows, but I have to wait until Monday to be sure ! I’m really not happy about that.

Last night, a friend who reads my blog told me he agrees with a lot of things I’m saying but he thinks that I am mixing up the topic of alcohol with a whole lot of other issues that have nothing to do with booze. To a certain extent, I agree with him and often place myself in the reader’s mind who must think: “why on Earth is he talking about this? Why doesn’t he stick to the subject of alcohol?”

Sometimes I feel that those trials are an excuse to keep a diary about what I am going through, and post it online by some kind of exhibitionist impulse. And the 4 trials have had to do with topics in which strong personal feelings get entangled: food, success, money, alcohol. While I agree with my friend that the logical connection is weak between the actual trial and what I am writing in these lines, I don’t see myself writing about these topics without broadening the scope of my blogging.

Talking about food, money, success and now alcohol, has forced me to open some introspective doors on my life, and therefore, it shifts the discussion to other topics. Looking into overeating made me look into why I am doing it. What are the emotions that it implies? Success- what do I consider success? Why is it important to me? How do I self-sabotage myself to bar my own access to it, and how can I leap over obstacles to reach it? Money- what is my attitude towards it? How does the way I spend my money actually expresses the way I am?

And finally, alcohol. N commented yesterday that it is my best trial so far. I agree with her, although I’m not really sure what she meant exactly. I think I am very different from alcoholics. Alcoholics have a physical disease which creates such a strong addiction in their body to this substance, that they need to absorb it more and more, everyday, usually leading them to fail their lives on several levels: job, relationship, family… I don’t suffer from such an addiction. (I do have a body that is extremely sensitive to nicotine, and after I smoked my first cigarette at age 16, I was on a pack a day after only one week. For 10 years, I smoked -at least- 20 cigarettes a day, and only when I was 26 I was able to beat this addiction. But I know that if I have one cigarette, I will go back into this bad habit) I will probably drink alcohol again at some point.

But I do think that in my case, alcohol has acted as a veil that has prevented me from seeing and dealing with emotional issues that make me struggle in my daily life. I should also add that I am seeing a psychologist weekly (who now wants to see me bi-weekly… damn); and that in conjonction to the trial, I bought myself a ticket for an emotional roller-coaster ride; so yeah, a lot of issues addressed here probably have nothing to do with alcohol, and I don’t have a scientific approach to measuring the exact impact of not drinking. This blog probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It should actually have another name, something like: “attempting to fight your demons, 30 days by 30 days” 🙂 But removing the booze has been a little sismic shock in my daily life; it is the one that is having the most impact and therefore I agree with N that this is my most powerful trial so far.

Because my life seems like a conjunction of conflicting forces at the moment, and because I am no longer drinking (which prevents me from faking amusement if I am having a miserable time, and which forces me to look into reality straight in the eyes) I feel like the earth beyong my feet has opened, and that I am in a time where I am deconstructing myself- this keeps me tired during the day, this keeps me awake at night. But like I said in the first post, I still have the conviction that I can survive anything.

Je suis celui qui marche, une vipère au poing!

No Alcohol – Day 14

February 19, 2009

Two weeks ago was the evening that I got wasted and got so disgusted by my behaviour that I decided to go on this non-alcohol trial.

Tonight would have been one of these nights when I would have told myself: “good lord, I  need a drink. Actually, I need to get plastered.” I was invited to a party at some friends’, but I felt so vulnerable that I decided not to go. I would have been miserable the whole evening. And in those situations, I would have told myself that drinking would have taken me out of my misery. So therefore, I decided not to socialize, which is a hard decision for me, because I always want to be around people, and don’t do too well hanging out with myself. Well, tonight, I decided that I was going to be alone.

My head was feeling very agitated, and I decided to walk home. It was very refreshing, more than a couple of shots of gin and tonic !! 😉

It is only 10 pm French time, but I have decided to go to bed early. Maybe I am in that mood because I need some sleep- so see you tomorrow.

No Alcohol – Day 13

February 19, 2009

Today, I have had my second discussion of the week on spirituality, and superstition, and I wonder if this is the effect of being entirely sober!!

The whole day has been filled with a strong migraine, but my mood has been up. I have been saying to various people that I was really asking myself the question whether I would drink again. I guess there are occasions for which I could see I would miss it: red wine with a good steak or a good cheese, or white wine with good fish. I’ve never been a fan of strong liquors (I mean for the taste, because I used them many times to get plastered!!) so I won’t miss having a culinary experience with those.

On a side note, I went to see the movie “The Wrestler” and thought it was one of the best movies I had seen lately.

No Alcohol – Day 12

February 18, 2009

Today, I am feeling much better than yesterday. It was not hard, considering how low my spirits were when I posted last night.

I was tagged on Facebook for the pictures of last Saturday’s party, which I mentioned on this blog. I said that it was a Pimps and Hoes party on Valentine’s day, and I wrote I was worried that not drinking alcohol might have decreased my libido. By looking at the pictures today, I understood why I wasn’t inspired to have sex with anyone!

Anyway, one thing I have got to say, is that I have been feeling really alert this past week. I interact much quicker in conversations, and my wits and spirits have never been so active. So when I’m not feeling down in the dumps like last night, I am actually feeling quite energetic. I am not sure if this is my imagination, but I think I am sharper than 3 weeks ago, more efficient at work and more present in conversations.

Staying away from alcohol for a bit makes me realize how vulnerable I have been for a long time, and that choosing to drink while being in that state was probably not the best choice (I started drinking on holiday in Spain when I was 16). I have met real alcoholics who have a real chemical addiction that they have no choice but to go completely sober if they want to live a normal life. I am fortunate not to be among these people. However, drinking when in a fragile state certainly didn’t help me deal with this fragility, which makes me think that maybe the next time I have a drink should be when I feel confident- and I mean truly confident- and good about my life.