Friday, March 1, 2013

That Little 19 Year Old Pop Star Doesn't Know Anything (Reflections on Sober February)

J Biebs has an entire autobiographical piece entitled "Never Say Never". I know because I once watched it in its entirety due to lack of other things to do on a three hour plane ride from Colombia to Miami.

After completing Goal #2 of my 2013 goals, "Sober February", I am going to be inclined to disagree with him. This will NEVER be a monthly goal again. But not just because IT'S REALLY FREAKING HARD (which it was).

When you're 25 years old and it's February in Minnesota do you know how many social activities there are that involve drinking? A WHOLE HECK OF A LOT OF THEM. In the past month I have said "no" to drinking:

  • Out to dinner with my parents 
  • Out to happy hour with coworkers
  • Out to happy hour with my parents
  • At brewery tours with my brother
  • At social events with friends
  • On Valentine's Day! (the horror)
  • At a beautiful winter cabin in northern Minnesota that literally begs you to drink a dark winter ale in it's presence
  • At more than one wine bar
  • On two different nights when friends were in town visiting me
  • Every single night that my roommates want to sit around, chat & drink red wine (so basically ALL THE NIGHTS)
...and probably a few other instances which I have most likely mentally blocked out. Basically, I said "no, thank you" a lot this month. And what did I do instead?

Drank so much bloody tea that my body doesn't know what to do with itself. And coffee. So. Much. Coffee. To the point of getting a caffeine headache (I have never been addicted to coffee up until this point in my life) on the weekend.  Turns out I have some sort of mental association with socializing with friends or family and holding a cup of something in my hand. Who knew, right?

I guess that is the point of the 2013 goals, really. Not to give something up for a month because it's going to change your whole life, but to try things on and see how they fit. Not drinking anything doesn't really fit in my lifestyle right now, which wasn't that surprising to learn, but I did learn some new things along the way...
  • I spend a lot of money out on drinks when I go out to eat. While I am pretty much done with the college scene of going out to bars for many drinks in a night, I rarely say no to a beer or glass of wine with dinner. Mostly this is fine, because I work hard for my money and I don't go out to eat that often. However, sometimes I could just save $5-10, stick with water and it would be just fine as well. 
  • The older I get the more drinking is becoming something we do while chatting and catching up with each other's lives as opposed to the point of an evening, like it was in college. I like this a lot and I love that I have great friends who want to get together over a glass of something delicious. The hardest part of Sober February was probably making the effort to still meet up with friends who were out at places where drinking would be an option.
  • Our social choices impact others - even though they don't have to. On at least three occasions during Sober February I was out at a restaurant with another person who opted not to drink. Whether these decisions were out of support for me, not wanting to be the only one to order something or some other reason, I am not exactly sure, but these situations happened and I thought it was interesting.
Overall I am going to call this month a great success since I completed it without cheating once!!! And really, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be, but just took a lot of self-discipline that I didn't really know I had. In all honesty, it's incredibly debatable as to if I would have succeeded without having a partner in crime in one of my roommates, Ilse. Without the moral support of someone also making the same decisions as me, I am not sure I would have made it. We barely made it through last Saturday night as it was and even that required making a 10 PM batch of cookie dough which we consumed half of without baking.  Moderation - who needs it?

Sober February was a fun experiment and perhaps No Beer Month or No Wine Month or No Drinking at Restaurants/Bars will be a 2014 goal, but I am not sure No Alcohol Month will ever make it back on the list.. With those thoughts in mind, the last school bell just rang, it's Friday afternoon and I have a very important roommate happy hour date to attend.