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Nothing On Tap

It’s gonna be a dry year…

I’ve decided to get into the spirit of 2022 by getting out of “spirits.”

In other words, I’m going to stop drinking alcohol for at least the entire year. I didn’t drink that much already so it’s not even a huge difference, yet I remain steadfast in my decision to quit. In the process of choosing words and their associated momentum to allow into my life, I realize I also need to question and evaluate what I’ve allowed into it already. Even when I recently bought and drank some beer—my all-time favourite one—at the end of last year to try and relax and enjoy my vacation, there was something missing. The brew tasted good, as it always does, but it didn’t feel good. Analogous to so many things in life recently, drinking it simply felt like going through the motions.

The obvious thought would be to blame it on COVID-times. Sure, I get that. Chalk it up to another piece of my patience Or is that sanity, I get the two mixed up these days? tossed into the proverbial pandemic blender. Top that off with a few discarded masks, two tablespoons of hand sanitizer, a small pipette full of mRNA-concocted vaccine goodness, and of course a generous helping of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Set that fucker to purée until all that’s left is a fine homogeneous paste, then slather that into the cracks of normalcy and hope that it hardens and cures enough to seal the damage.

Perhaps mercifully—despite this authored entertainment—that thought would be wrong.

The truth of the matter is, I just didn’t enjoy it. Ignoring entirely the ability of current events to become a catalyst that speeds up self-evaluation of my life, I owe more thanks to Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman. Reading this book has been a revelation that’s opened my eyes to making the most of what, sadly, little time we have on this planet and in this journey. Just as constantly battling time in the futile effort to get more and more done is a lost cause, so too does my goal to chill out and relax by drinking no longer work. Not because something changed along the way however; I’ve come to the realization that it was never about the alcohol, it was about me:

Relaxation and enjoyment comes not from a state of doing, but a state of being.

My inability to be calm and in the present moment, and thus allow myself to actually enjoy my vacation, was all on me. Like wrestling with time, ignoring my own state of mind by not targeting the thoughts and behaviours that cause me to feel unhappy and discontent—instead hoping drinking a beer is the answer—is doomed to failure. If all we ever pursue is what we want, how can we possibly have what we need?

Truth is I’ll always want those chocolate chip cookies, chocolate bars, and potato chips, and no doubt they’d put a smile on my face and my belly. Like time, however, it’s fleeting, soon to replaced by the pang of guilt and remorse the instant I look at myself in the mirror. The realization quickly dawns on me every single time that nothing will ever change unless I do. So in that vain it’s time to go dry. It may be the first wise and healthy choice I’ve made for quite some time, but it won’t be the last.

That beer may have been what I wanted, but I just don’t need it any more.

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