True confession: I like to have a drink
I drink alcohol like I eat cookies, with enthusiasm and as much moderation as I can muster. Sometimes this means one, more often two. During a big game or presidential shitshow / ‘debate,’ three. After that I drink water and try not be stupid. Because it’s just going to suck the next day.
It took me a ridiculously long time to learn this. And believe me, it’s not a lesson I’ve yet learned by heart. I was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan — yes, I’m a native Yooper — contiguous to Wisconsin, where drinking is enshrined as an everyday habit, for the good times, the bad times and all times in between.
Drinking is the socially acceptable coping mechanism for whatever life throws at you and the answer to every question:
Bored? Have a drink.
Want to relax? Have a drink.
Celebrating? Have a bunch of drinks.
Drinking is a constant, as reliable as death and taxes, and with the promise of at least 20 minutes or so of sublime, who-gives-shit release. There’s comfort in ritualistic drinking, but after a number of years, it dawns on you: There’s a downside to this. Beyond the damn hangover.
Your alcohol intake is something you want to control, as my dad used to say, for the sake of (pick one) your health, finances or relationship. And, I would add, just to know you’ve got a grip on your go-to means of escape.
Is Sober October 2020 the worst idea ever?
Party-pooperish of me, but yeah. And while this seems like less than the ideal time to forgo drinking — who am I kidding, it’s the very worst time in oh, the last 200 years — I am joining the Sober October movement this year.
Honestly, I don’t know how much of a movement it is. Joe Rogan has made a big deal about it in the past, but I’m not one of those bros. But have you noticed, sobriety seems to be trending? There’s a small cottage industry of online coaches / gurus helping people who want to drink less. Kudos to them, it’s a good idea for anyone to give their liver a break, right? Because when the guy making drinks says, “Pick your poison,” he’s being literal.
So, despite the formidable roster of anxiety-inducing developments we face right now — rampaging pandemic, cratering economy, cataclysmic climate change, teetering democracy — I’m going to take a month off from my good friend IPAs. Pilsners and margaritas and everything else too. I’ve done this before, in some January in the past, and it wasn’t as difficult as I expected.
Actually, right now, as we’re being terrorized by so many other dangers, might be the best time to abstain from hazards of alcohol. More than ever, in this next month we need to practice self-care. To be calm, focused and pro-active. Brain-fogged and hungover is no way to seize the day, much less rescue democracy.
And I won’t be without a helper.
So long, alcohol. Hello cannabis.
To be clear, for me, ‘sober’ means not drinking. I don’t do drugs. (Like Willie Nelson, I classify cannabis not as a drug, but a medicinal herb, which it is.) So over these 31 days I will be experimenting with different methods and dosages of cannabis — including edibles, tinctures and dry vaping (I don’t like to put smoke in my lungs).
I expect to learn a few things; to feel less lethargic on Saturday mornings; and possibly to lose a few stubborn pounds.
Want to join me? We can do this! Look me up on Twitter — we can commiserate, discuss the best cultivars for anxiety relief… and maybe share cocktail recipes for next month.
Because come the evening of Nov. 3, one way or another, I’m going to need a few, um, cookies. Cheers!