True Confession: I LOVE BEER. I believe Ben Franklin was absolutely right when he said, “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
Back in the day, I had the metabolism of a frat boy. I could drink a man under the table and feel great the next day. One Monday evening when I was in my mid-twenties, my wing-woman Mary Jo called to tell me she was still hung-over from our Friday night escapades.
I asked her, “What’s a hangover?” Seriously did not know (although in retrospect, there was that one time when I was fifteen–screwdrivers at the Christensen’s house–I couldn’t look at orange juice for years.)
And then I hit my late twenties, and got better acquainted with Mr. Hangover. Ugh. No. More. Dollar. Import. Night. At. The. Bar. Until the next week, anyway.
And then kids came along. No more bar hopping. But there’s the job. And the stress. And the nightly drinks to deal. To sleep.
Until one day last year, I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. Plus, I was in the throes of a Writer’s Block…something had to give.
And that’s when I saw a book on Amazon that changed things for me. Writing Is My Drink by Theo Pauline Nestor. And although it is the story of how Nestor found her voice (despite an alcoholic mother) and a guide for others to do the same–I already have my voice–and a strong one at that.
Nonetheless, the book was just the shot in the arm I needed–and the title convinced me that the thing that had to give with regard to my writing and my block was my drinking.
With all due respect to Hemingway when he said,
“WRITE DRUNK, EDIT SOBER” that’s just not a good plan. Not for me, anyway. Alcohol was making my brain fuzzy, and I wanted it back–needed it back in order to pursue my greatest passion: writing. And so, with my new mantra, Writing is my drink I decided to go sober. Balls to the wall.
But how? Drinking beer was a way of life for me. Both me and my husband love nothing more than a tall beer…or six. Our marriage was partly based on beer, it seemed, and our mutual love for it. Some couples are foodies. Some are adrenaline junkies. Some are sports-fanatics. We love beer.
And so, I needed a plan. I needed help. I did two things:
After reading Chrissie Hynde’s autobiography Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, I was inspired by the epilogue where she states Allen Carr’s book Stop Drinking Now helped her quit drinking, so I checked out Amazon.
There, I found a newer book, one whose author credits Carr as a key inspiration to her. I decided to check it out. I loved the title. I wanted This Naked Mind for myself. It had been many years since my brain was naked. What would it be like?
And so, I bought the book, read it, and outlined it so the information would not only pass through my brain, but take up residence there.
I heartily recommend Annie Grace’s book. You want to stop drinking and you need a reason to do so or a strategy?
Read this. It will work for you.
The second thing I did was a big one. Even bigger than reading This Naked Mind.
I prayed to God to take away my taste for beer. That’s it. Amazing, right?
I didn’t even set a conscious date to give up drinking. Instead, last year on February 17, I went to see the Beach Boys at the Lyric Theater in Baltimore, and as a first, I bought a bottle of water at the theater’s bar.
I went home that night, went to bed, and decided not to drink the next day. And the next. And the day after that, too.
It’s been a full year for me with no beer–no alcohol of any sort. I’ve gone through a vacation, birthdays, parties, concerts, holidays, dinners out, and I’m good.
I don’t miss it–not most days. I know I can go back to drinking–it wasn’t a life or death thing and I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. I just don’t want to drink. I don’t even think I will like the taste of it because I asked God to take my taste for it away.
Now, I enjoy mornings. I don’t pace to the bathroom at night. My brain is naked. And I’m writing nonstop. Plus, I’ve lost almost twenty pounds and counting.
Life is good. Shout out to authors Theo Pauline Nestor and Annie Grace, as well as Chrissie Hynde whose story is more badass than mine, but who has long inspired me.
And of course, the biggest shout out goes to God. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. Or dry one’s thirst.
Beer may be proof God loves us and wants us to be happy, but sometimes its actual proof, alcoholic that is, may also be keeping us from being the people we are called to be.
Here’s to all the courageous badasses who are at the precipice of change,
Foxy Writer Chick–S.J. Anderson