Resistance & Futility, Temptations & Miracles

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Yes, as we make our way through the month of January, and the Ready to be Thirsty challenge we might be dealing with a little thing called… temptation.

As you deal with that primal urge for your favorite beverage, you’ll be able to notice your triggers.  Why do I want this now?  What is it that I really want out of this experience? What is alcohol going to give me right now that I cannot seem to get on my own?

  • a buzz?
  • an escape…or relief?
  • a jolt of pleasure?
  • a heightened (or lessened) experience?
  • a burst of confidence or courage?
  • the freeing of my mind,thoughts, wit, humour, or inhibitions?
  • alleviation of boredom?
  • fulfillment of my habit?

Whatever it is, that moment is the time to gain insight.  And perhaps we can ponder how might still achieve that desire in an alcohol-free, or even healthy way.  Exercise.  A book.  A phone call to a friend.

After all, many persons who do the challenge report that they fill that temptation with unhealthy replacements:  like chips or carb-filled snacks. Greasy food.  Sugar.  An indulgent binge-watch of Desperate Housewives.

Our need for that hit of pleasure in our minds is strong indeed.

Can we learn from this temptation?  Can be stay on the path and honour our commitment?  And if we can’t, can we pick up the torch and try to once again stay on the course?   You knew you’d be Thirsty!

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Top photo by erika dot net via Flickr.  Creative Commons. No changes

Lower photo by sharyn morrow via Flickr.  Creative Commons. No changes

Thus begins the Long Walk…

Quick collection of photos taken on my holiday to Morocco from October 9th to 24th, 2010.

Thus begins our long walk through the driest of January’s with Ready to be Thirsty.  I imagine some of us are feeling pretty dusty and dried out already, only five days in and four of them weekdays ;0

Now, I know we probably had a drink or two on New Year’s Eve.  Maybe even bubbly wine in a tall glass.  And we celebrated life, laughed and smiled, and lived as large as we could.  If only for a few fleeting moments, we were as alive as possible…

That’s what Dec 31st is – a recognition of existence!  Look at us, we are still here….we survived, we can see a bit of the future, and we roughly anticipate being alive for another cycle ’round the sun.

Whoop whoop, let er’ rip!

But this year, some of us realized that we were going to go real easy, or even give up alcohol entirely for the month of January as a psycho-social experiment or experience.  And maybe that’s different for us, as this new year begins to unfold.

All of 2017 might be different because we made a Dry Month or Dry January one of our resolutions.  We said to ourselves that we were going to examine and maybe change our relationship with alcohol, if only by virtue of taking an extended sober, clarifying look.  This is interesting, because it taps into our great human need for resolve – our need and want for control.  Or at least the illusion of it, to foster and nurture our sense of well-being.  Yes, we can make decisions that matter.

And whether we ‘succeed’ or not, whether we can influence ourselves strongly enough to meet our goals….we will have learned something just in the attempt.  A metaphor for our entire lives, no?

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Photo by Maarten van Maanen via Flickr. Creative Commons.  No changes. 

How to Dry it Out and Up

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There’s got to be some anxiety out there about this going dry in January thing.  In our case, it’s called the Ready to be Thirsty Challenge.  All over the world, interested parties are prompting drinkers to forgo the parties – at least for this January.  Or, at least keep those parties dry and you can watch your friends get all tipsy and daft without you…

Maybe your office’s seasonal cheer is a gonzo freak-show like Office Christmas Party, I don’t know.  But maybe any and all of us deserve a break from the madness, following all the Yuletide gaiety.  And if so, here’s a few suggestions on how to do it right (according to Marie Claire – always take sobering advice from a fashion magazine):

A. Do the challenge with a friend – why go it alone?  Strength in numbers!

B. Focus on your hobbies and other interestsyou’ll have time to learn silk weaving, or learn about cosmic string theory.  Read a book, go snow-shoeing, try something new.

C. Get busy – keep involved in your passions, unless your passion is vodka

D. Treat yourselfsave your booze bucks and get your nails done.  Or buy a real screwdriver instead of a Screwdriver.

E. Stay away from your triggerslike, say, the bar/restaurant, or meals that typically would inspire beer or wine

F. Let people know you’re doing it – if you’re friends know you’re off the suds, they are less likely to tempt you!

G. Eat healthy, live healthy – If you’ve stopped sipping for January, you might fill the gap with all the chocolate you got for Christmas.  Instead, make the challenge part of a larger scheme to lose some weight, get active.  It could change your whole approach to winter…

Read the whole article here

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The Upside of Situational Sobriety

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When you look at the picture above – do you see a glass of water or a vodka on the rocks?  Very telling, kiddo!

Never one to shy away from skepticism, I thought I would do a little digging on the potential benefits of going Dry for a month.

After all – there must be a point to this walk through the dry desert in January, this Ready to be Thirsty challenge.  I ain’t doin’ it for the good of my health, right ??  Oh, wait….

Check out this article from Good to Know. You’ll see that the potential benefits of going dry for 31 days are numerous and huge:

  • reduced sugar intake
  • weight loss
  • improved sleep
  • increased clarity (or reduced ‘brain fog’)
  • better hydration
  • heightened sex drive
  • enhanced mood

All in all, there are 15 listed benefits.  So if it’s even half true, you’ve got seven-plus reasons to give this a try.   Thirsty is as thirsty does, folks – I’ll be liver-deep in benefits and invoking my sober spirit after Christmas, drinking tea and watching my spleen get leaner by the minute.

Join me on the journey and reap what you didn’t soak.

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A Dry White Season Reason

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Once again, not against my better judgement but actually using my better judgement, I will attempt to GO DRY this January.

Yep – January this year.  Like the Brits, doing their Dry January

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Or an amalgam of Canadian charities doing their Dry January

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Or a British Columbia charity, BeYouPromise.Org, hosting their Dry January:

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Seems like everyone is doing this sober thing in January.  Makes sense.  In December you’ll be doing some serious indulging.  You’ll be gorging yourself on butter tarts and beer, turkey and tequila, whiskey, wine and wasabi.   You’ll be engorged with the Holiday Spirit(s)!

And then you’ll be spending time whooping it up on New Year’s Eve, either at a party or parties, or strangely alone on your couch.  Any which way, you’ll have tied it on, soaked it up, drank it down, ate the roast beast and otherwise heard the Whos who-whoing down in Whoville.

And maybe, just maybe… you’ll need a break from the boxes and soxes, the drinking and slinking.  If you do pause from boozing, it’s weight you’ll be losing.  If you break from misbehaving, it’s money you’re saving.  And if you stop getting wetter, your sleeping’ll be better…

Don’t make me steal the sobriety alone.  Go Thirsty this January.

 

Shake Shake Shake your Chibuku

Above, you see a group of rugby players attempting to try an African-produced beer-type drink called Chibuku Shake Shake.  This is technically ‘beer’, but not as we know it.  It’s a thick milky, brown-ish alcoholic beverage from Africa, made from sorghum.

As you can see in the video, it is served in a milk carton.  Interestingly, it’s alcohol content is not constant – as it is first packaged, it starts with a very low concentration, and gradually increases over time (after you buy it, if you don’t drink it right away, it gets stronger).  But, after about a week on the shelf, you wouldn’t want to drink it anymore, as it goes bad.  In fact, seeing this video, you may not want to drink it at all, as it appears pretty bad to begin with!

I learned about Chibuku from the following map:

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This is from the BBC – a world map of the favorite or most commonly consumed alcohol drinks across the world.

Orange countries love beer.  Yellow colored countries prefer spirits (aka ‘hard liquor’), and red countries dig their wine.  But those green countries – they love ‘other beverages’ – which led me to discovering Chibuku and a variety of other interesting and obscure variants out there.

Follow this link to article and the BBC Booze Calculator.  This will let you plug in your own weekly consumption habits and compare to international drinkers and countries the world over.  Not sure how much Chibuku you’re chugging down, but maybe you want to check out how much beer Canadians actually consume…

 

There’s No Road, That Ain’t a Hard Road

I was listening to a Sam Robert’s song this morning on CBC2, and I began to think about how I handled this past February in the Ready to be Thirsty challenge.   How I fell off that one time for the Superbowl, and how I cheated one time after that…on the 14th (with the wife, Valentine’s Day, watching Downton Abbey, of all things), and I felt terrible the next day…no lie.

I was remembering how hard it was to give up booze for the first couple weeks, and how I was tempted so intensely.  I think about how it’s not as difficult now, and how not drinking during the week has become the normal thing.

On the whole, I lost ten pounds and I often sleep better (well, for me).

Now the challenge is to manage consumption for the rest of the year.   There’s those pesky Low Risk Drinking Guidelines.   Yeah, that’s the goal I should be aiming for…in fact, I am pretty much already there.

But the temptations will come when the weather turns – opportunities to rejoice, to celebrate, to get carried away.  Campfires and camping and canoe trips and cajoling with friends in the backyard.  But even then, the challenge continues – to be a gregarious, mostly-sober host, and make a great time out of moderation.

Remember, especially when the company’s not the best, the conversation’s not the liveliest, the mood’s a little dark, or the plot of the movie’s a little dim…that there’s no road, that ain’t a hard road, that’s worth travelling on.