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. 

The Spirits of the Season!

4168355718_b5c8cfccf4_oHo ho hold my beer.   Holiday season is here.

Time to eat turkey and fall into a couch coma.

Time to tolerate our extended family by sousing ourselves with gin and Wink soda.

Time to set up the Elf-on-the-Shelf surveillance to ensure a few weeks of good behavior.

Consume many products.  Venerate the notion of Santa, and the goodness he represents. Generously give a few bucks to the folks jingling the bells at the LCBO.

Feel the spirit.   No, no, really.  Pause and feel it.

Buy a tag from someone in front of the grocery store.  Wrap gifts.  Go to large distribution outlets and buy more things.  Breathe.  Listen to carols.  Hang stuff on the tree.  Hang lights on the trees outside.  Make stuff out of chocolate.  Eat chocolate.  Breathe again.

This is Christmas, X-mas, Yuletide. Feliz Navidad and Happy Holidays.

It is a crazy, whirlwind season.  Nowadays, it’s near impossible book anything non-Christmas into December, because everyone is so busy, well, doing Christmas.  Office parties, family parties, dance squads… curling clubs, hockey teams, gymnastics organizations…church societies, parades and downtown business associations.  They are all doing Christmas. It’s fun, it’s nuts and it’s beautiful.

But part of much of that, and part of the holidays on the whole…is drinkin’.  Lotsa drinkin’.

And eatin’.  Like it’s our last meal before the last dawn, generally.

You know that feeling, when you feel like a beached and inebriated whale, washed up on Aunt Margaret’s couch?

Is it any wonder, then, that many people choose to ‘go dry’ in January as a way to slowly allow for the reintroduction of water and vegetables…?

This Christmas season – try to go easy.  And if you don’t – get Ready to be Thirsty!

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Photo by Katrina Cole, via Flickr.  Creative Commons license, no changes.

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.

 

Yo Ho ! There be warnings ahead

 

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There are rumblings from the far side o’ the future that we may end up with warning labels on our alcoholic beverages.   Which might be interesting, considering there is advocacy for nutrition labels as well.  You know – highlighting all those ’empty calories’ – energy without nutrition.

I am no expert on the law, but considering what I do know about legislation, I’ll guess the reason you have a listing of ingredients and calories on a Pizza Pop  but not on a beer…is because, legally speaking, beer is not Food !  Food has the potential to provide your body with important sustenance, vitamins, protein.  Whereas beer is….well, you know what beer is.

Labels to better enrich our understanding of what we are getting up to and in to when we drink has been studied, such as in the video above from Global News.  If certain advocacy groups succeed (such as health agencies who want you to live long and prosper) – you’ll be see labels like the ones below, as highlighted by CTV.

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The question is whether these kinds of labels are effective in changing drinking behaviors.  I think it’s fair to say that they raise awareness about the issue, as they are so graphic as to be unavoidable and unmistakable.

But they would be just one piece of a change in our social philosophy regarding alcohol – where it begins with more persons working to have more non-drinking days, as part of the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines.

 

Summer Cometh with Booze in Hand

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Here comes summer, and we’re about to see our favorite activities come to life.  Camping. Swimming.  Festivals and music.  The Beach.  Canoeing. Hiking. Boating. Water-skiing.  Backyard parties and get together’s – Family Reunions.  Okay, maybe that’s not your favorite, but whatever you like to get up to in the summer…I am sure that you’ll notice that so many of these activities have one thing in common – booze.

Summer never met a drink it didn’t like!

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When the weather is fine, you got drinkin’, you got drinkin’ on your mind!

Sure, we understand the impulse to let loose, to relax, to enjoy sunny weather and vacations.   But when we encourage restraint (and we’re just about to), we do so for the good of your health.  And of course, there’s a reductionist theory out there that as long as we don’t drink and drive, nothing is amiss.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth – such oversimplification.  Drinking and driving, while idiotic and dangerous, is only one measure of a complex and multi-layered alcohol mosaic, that includes cancer, injuries and falls, impulsiveness leading to sex, STI’s and unwanted pregnancy, aggression, dependence.

At least one of those things you’ve seen.  And if none of the above apply, how about over-eating, needless calories, rash thoughts turned into regretful words, embarrassment, or relationships put under strain…?  Alcohol has many impacts beyond laughter and reduced inhibitions.  And you kinda know it, but your go there anyway – because it’s a habit, or you love it, or it’s what expected, or all three.

So when your vacation or your weekend or your afternoon at the cottage begins…we encourage you to enjoy in moderation, mostly because you know you should, most of the time. To adhere, if you can, to the low-risk drinking guidelines.  Yes – by all means – enjoy your vacation.  You deserve it.

Relax.  Read.  Ponder. Indulge.  Bask in the glow of the sunset and forget every thought.   But also, please, for you…when you crack open that Chianti…come back around and think.  You deserve that too.

Truth in Advertising ??

A compelling documentary on alcohol is attached to this Blog.  It’s long-ish, but maybe you’ll find it as fascinating as I did.

After all – the ‘truth’ in regards to alcohol is a complex one. We’ve got it sold by huge corporate entities, or used as liquid leverage to stimulate tourism.  We love to drink it at parties and gatherings, we use to amplify emotion, and to celebrate and to commiserate.

We are addicted to it…as individuals, and as a society who seems to want it ever more varied and available.

It correlates with crime and violence.

It creates disease.

It facilitates a party.

It shores up confidence (or is it impulsiveness?)

Alcohol has very complex and interwoven truths that filter down through every layer of our society and social lives.  It generates interesting and wild stories.  Some such stories have tragic endings.

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