I’m going to quit drinking for 2017.
This is not a New Year’s resolution. I wanted to get that clear right off the bat. I’ve been considering a version of this project for the better part of a year, and am leaping into it with a mixture of excitement, fear, self-consciousness, and hope. (Also, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions, but my personal history with them is missing following through, so I wanted to disassociate myself from that connection.)
This project exists for one central reason: I want to stop drinking alcohol for a year, and write about it. Given the incredibly simplistic, yet polarizing, nature of this premise, I assume that you may have some questions.
I’ve assumed, possibly fallaciously, that the most common question will be some variation of the following: Why?
This is a fair question, and actually ties into how I can think that an entire year of writing on this subject without it growing staler than the dregs of shitty lager rediscovered the morning after a party would actually be of interest. (Side note: I don’t know what to do with all of my alcohol metaphors now.)
I don’t want to get too heavily into any of the topics that I wish to address during 2017, as this is just the introduction to a year-long journey, but I do want to pre-empt some misconceptions that may arise upon hearing of this project.
Why am I doing this?
It really boils down to the notion that I can, and I find it a challenge.
I should clarify what I mean by “can”. I have not been asked by a medical professional to stop, nor am I on any medication that prohibits my alcohol intake. I am not part of a community of people who disprove of imbibing. Although I, like a perceived majority of people who have enjoyed alcohol, have been known surpass a preferable drink limit on occasion, I am also not suffering from an addiction, and drinking is not routinely negatively affecting my life. If anything, it has actually improved my quality of life in a few ways.
As a clarification regarding “challenge” – I really like drinking. It will be a challenge to not do it.
This is not a project for demonizing nor endorsing any life style, be it teatotaling, alcohol enthusiast, or somewhere in between (I have been classified on opposite ends of the spectrum). I’m not here to tell you what to do with your life, but rather report what I am doing with mine through the lens of making one significant change.
I understand that giving up something one likes for an entire year seems like a strange way to go about living. We don’t know how long we will be here, and we should enjoy as much of it as we can, right? Well, it turns out that I like things other than drinking (even though, as I will likely tell you in the coming year, I do enjoy so many aspects of drinking), and will hopefully be using some of my newfound, would-have-been-drinking time to reacquaint myself with those other passions (like writing, for example).
To the Purists: I will likely have a drink during 2017. I’m taking the pressure of failure off the table by not making this entire project about being perfect. I will mess up, even if I am trying to do my best.
If you live with an addiction and are trying to follow someone who will absolutely, 100% not pick up a drink, that’s not me. Since I do not personally live with an addiction, and am able to use small doses of alcohol as an anxiety reduction tool, it would be internalized ableism to deny myself a beverage if I absolutely needed one (which is a topic to be covered later). I am, however, eager to see where my line is. Who knows? Maybe I will make it the whole year without a drink; that fact wouldn’t make this project more of a success. What will make this worthy of my time (and, hopefully, yours) is the depth to which I examine this topic.
Should you have drinking related topics that you would like to see me discuss during this project, please let me know. If you have any respectful comments, I would love to read them. If you like drinking and are a kind of mad at me for not drinking in 2017, maybe we can figure out why you feel that way.
Cheers! (Huh, cheers. That seems like a good topic.)