Yesterday I had my first beer in five weeks.
In March, I was struggling with some lingering mental baggage. Since my uncle’s death last year, I’ve had an increasingly weird relationship with alcohol: primarily, that part of me felt like I shouldn’t be okay with it, but I still was. I haven’t overindulged in over a year, and the couple of times someone tried to pressure me into doing so I reacted… poorly. A few conversations caused me to realize what was bothering me — in a family of alcoholics, how could I honestly say I wasn’t one?
So I took five weeks off. I didn’t tell anyone, because I didn’t want people to react differently around me — this is about learning something about myself. I made it long enough to cover a convention and a LARP (usually times when I drink), as well as a couple of work milestones (which are often celebrated with alcohol).
The result? Aside from a couple of idle moments when I thought “A beer might be nice,” I barely noticed the time. In fact, originally I was only going to do it for four weeks, but I extended it to five half-way through because I wanted to see if I could. Yesterday, I had one beer while I was playing video games.
It may seem ludicrous, but this was something I needed to know. I had to prove to myself that when I say alcohol is a part of my life and I consume it in moderation, that I really meant that and wasn’t trying to fool myself. There are also health benefits (I actually got the idea from some coworkers who often take a month off from alcohol to cleanse their systems), and that tied into my decision, but really this was more for my mental health.