Jul 12, 2015

My Extra Long Attention Span

My friends tell me if I've made it this far, I'm not an alcoholic. Some days are harder than others, however. 

Some days, like Fourth of July have the voices in my head telling me that there's really no point in this exercise. I'm obviously fine, I know how to set limits, and therefore what in the world is the point of denying myself something that helps me to have fun, relax, and celebrate special occasions?

But some days, like on a particularly difficult work day followed by a busy evening of errands and chores, when my brain keeps going through the familiar loop of "stress... beer? stress... beer? stress... old fashioned?" On those days, I'm more sure of why I'm taking a month off from alchohol. 

As I approach my 16th day alcohol-free, I'm starting to understand the point of this exersie: re-discovering other ways to unwind. In the last few years, I've used drinking more and more to reduce stress, and lately it's gotten to be my go-to method, replacing exercise, reading, meditation, and alone time. In addition, though I've taken up playing very entertaining board games, even those are supplemented by the addition of copious amounts of alcohol. (and honestly, getting drunk just might be the reason I lose 90% of the games I play, and that shit has to stop). 

Last night was a Saturday night, and we were fortunate enough to have two seperate groups of friends come to hang out with us. First, the early crowd (starring Baby Elenore), then the late crowd (starring Brandon, who's about to move cross-country). We hung out at our kitchen bar, laughed, talked, chased the baby, played games... it was fun. It was not easy to refrain from drinking an adult beverage. My "fun... beer. fun... rhubarb whiskey drink" tape kept playing over and over in my head. And the "what's the point of this again?" track got old, too. 

But the friends are supportive, which helps. The baby still thinks I'm funny, one friend acts as my trainor, saying "you fuckin' have to do this; you've come this far..." Another friend makes me a delicious virgin (I roll my eyes) rhubarb drink, and everyone pretends not to notice that I'm dogging the leftover birthday cake and chips/dip (yeah, my diet isn't doing the best). 

My game play is impeccable. I stick to my strategy, expertly play banker, and  remind everyone when it's their turn. I still lose the game, but come in a strong second. I personify Mitch Hedburg's joke about accidentally taking a friend's ADHD medicine, thus having an "extra long attention span." I annoy myself with my own attentiveness, and am disgusted as I earn praise for making a play I would've never thought of if I had my brain been dulled. But I had fun, laughed just as much as everyone else, and like I said I almost won. 

So, it's Day 16, and it's true: I have come too far to give up now. I've been through family gatherings, Saturday nights, kid birthday planning, and I have more difficult events ahead. But I will do it. I'll use this time to remember other ways to relax, and I'll leverage this extra long attention span to finally win some games.


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