Along with this month long celebration of poems, I put myself on a no sugar challenge as well. This challenge included no sugar, alcohol included, for one month.
I did really well not drinking; however, indulging in chocolate and other sugary treats I failed at.
Oh well. Or should I say “Oh sugar.”
I am not going to beat myself up about it. That would be pointless. It would also make me just want to find comfort in more sugary treats. I will try again tomorrow (today, I have already indulged in mini-churros I made last night). And if I fail again tomorrow, maybe I will try again the next day — or not.
The real victory is that I did not pick up a drink the entire month.
The people closest to me think I am a bit of an alarmist about denying myself a drink because when I do drink, it is never in excess and never to get drunk any more. It is usually just a glass of wine to complement a meal or a liqueur to sip instead of dessert. They don’t understand, though, that my will was never this strong. There was a time, when I was younger, that I was drinking a lot. I was stealing my parent’s liquor when I was 13 years old. In college, I put myself in a lot of precarious situations because I was too drunk. Addiction runs in my family and I have seen it and been affected by it and yet I still drink. That is scary to me.
That is like watching people jump off bridges and seeing them drown and then going ahead and jumping anyway. Even if you can swim, the odds are not in your favor.
So, yes I was just having one drink with a meal on an occasion and then I started having one drink every night. Then I was counting down to 5 pm to have a drink. THEN I was having a small sip in the afternoon, hoping I didn’t have to go back out for anything. I was done waiting until the end of the day. I was not getting wasted, I was just getting comfortably numb.
Even my husband thought I was being a bit hard on myself with this month long restriction. It’s hard to explain to someone when they see you perfectly fine the next morning after having a drink that there could be a problem. It's even hard to explain to yourself when you wake and remember everything you did the night before that there is a problem.
But, I felt it. I felt it chasing me. I felt it catching up. And thankfully I caught it before I couldn’t.
During this month I indulged in a healthier addiction—poetry.
Poetry never makes you sloppy. It doesn’t slur its words. It is precise and thoughtful. It’s not belligerent. It’s comforting and gentle. Poetry can safely drive you anywhere you want to go. It has no problem staying up with you at night or waking bright and early the next morning. It never passes out. It also always leaves your head buzzing in the best possible way. And it's better for your heart than red wine. So I prefer to be “always drunk.” I will remain drunk “on poetry.”
So rather than pour yourself a drink on this Saturday night to forget your worries, read, instead, Baudelaire’s poem, “Be Drunk” here: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/be-drunk
“It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk!
The speaker urges us to be drunk with our lives. To not be a victim of time wasted. To do something with our lives that makes us feel drunk, feel happy. Life is too short. We must appreciate that life. We must remember every day to be drunk.
“That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way”