It’s been right about 6 months since I wrote The Year Without Beer and I figure it’s time I check in.
Truth be told… Not much has changed. I still drink too much (we’ve cut our total alcohol bills by about 1/3 since January but they’re still far more numerous than they should be). What has changed is I know a bit more why I do it (at least I think I do anyway). I know that there is more to it than just drinking, in fact I’ve learned that I really don’t care much for the actual drinking at all, not sure I ever did which probably explains why I’m always so interested in trying to quit.
So why keep drinking?
The answer to this I’ve realized has two parts:
1.) It’s a social outlet.
When you work from home getting out with people is hard, doubly so in a new area where you don’t know all that many people yet. For us going to the local bar is basically our social hour as we haven’t yet figured out how to spend our time anywhere else. Of course we still enjoy spending time at home together but after two or three days at home I usually just need to get out of the house and interact with people which so far typically involves the bar.
2.) It’s too darn easy
When we lived in Austin we learned anything and everything can involve beer: movie theater, check, grocery store, check, restaurant, check… The list goes on. Quite simply we just started to accept that everything involves alcohol to one level or another and eventually came to embrace it. Of course it didn’t help that even in Carbondale we often found ourselves walking to Tres for a beer after work a few days a week. Yeah, the problem goes back a while but moving here we’ve somewhat been bitten by accomplishing our biggest goal, moving to a walking neighborhood. With a dozen or so bars all within a few hundred meters of the house it’s easier than ever to just go to the bar at the drop of a hat, heck, we don’t even need to worry about driving home after.
So what am I going to do about it?
Darn good question. For June Joy and I have both agreed to cut back quite a bit. As it was really only me trying to do so in the past this could help a lot.
Two other motivating forces this time are I’ve signed up for a fitness challenge and am looking to cut expenses as April and May have been some of the worst months for our bank account in years with vet bills, car bills, house bills and bills from just about everything else we own that can possibly break.
Of course, if these aren’t enough there is always the prospect of professional help too. I’ve talked before about attending an AA meeting at our church for one. Might be time to really make that happen.
Quitting drinking is definitely one of the harder challenges I’ve ever undertaken. While I haven’t made the progress I would like yet in my “Year Without Beer” I have started to make some inroads and, maybe more importantly, I’ve really started to look a lot harder at why we drink all as much as we do and might finally be in a position to do something about those core reasons and not just saying I won’t do it.