Pondering Imponderable Challenges


In last evening’s sleepless semi-coma, I began to think about alcohol as a means to temporarily transform.   After all, that’s what drinking is – an adjustment of our headspace.

George Carlin once said that if we lived in a world with no drugs, people would spin around on their front lawns until they fell down.  Such is our relentless desire for altered consciousness.  At times, we want to change how we think, what we think, if we think.  Who we are.

Many people use alcohol to compensate for stress – a lubricant for relaxation.  Personally, that’s not my thing.  Alcohol generally either ramps my emotions, or…numbs me.  Depends how much energy I have, going in.  If I have good energy, then watch out…I perceive myself to be bloody hilarious.  If I have low energy and then I drink, watch me become somber, contemplative and perhaps a bit melancholy.  A boor or a poet. That’s who I become.

Whatever a person’s reaction to alcohol, it’s about some kind of escape from the current space.  A key to a door, leading to somewhere else.  Yet, for the month of February, I’ve been taking the Ready to be Thirsty challenge.  Dry for 29 days.   So instead of transforming, I’ve just been…myself. Heading into the last weekend of the challenge, I am still just me.  Tired, cranky, restless.  Content, energetic, collected.  Joyful, thoughtful, ponderous.  The whole beautiful mess of human feeling.

In some ways, then, a dry month is like holding up a mirror to the true self.  With 72 hours to go, I can say it’s been interesting getting to know that person a little better.



Author: Doug Ironside RN

Doug is a Registered Nurse (PHN) with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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