“You should read this,” my mother said as she thrust a copy of this month’s Chatelaine at me. “It talks about why you should take a break from booze for a month.”
She said this in the tone that is so nonchalantly over enthusiastic I knew she was actually just telling me what to do. So I read it. And it made me want a drink, immediately.
Left, right and center I have people in my life telling me they are taking a break from drinking — girlfriends and guy friends tired of going so hard. They’re not quitting drinking— that would be too much commitment — they’re just going a month before returning to their normal Margarita Monday ways.
I’m not saying I haven’t jumped on the no hooch choo-choo before — and I’m not saying I don’t need to, either — but the no drinking month movement is gaining momentum in my age category and it’s starting to make me concerned.
Granted, I may be a little more Chelsea Handler than Taylor Swift when it comes to the number of times I partake in six too many glasses of wine, but that’s neither here nor there. When it comes to laying off the alcohol, why are we treating it like another kind of binge?
The list of reasons people should take a siesta from the fiesta are inarguable. I’m not going to sit here and condone over-indulgence of any kind. If I were to lay off the liquor I would undoubtedly experience the better skin, better sleep, better liver function that Chatelaine says I would. Not to mention I’d have to send way fewer “sorry ‘bout that” text messages on Sunday mornings. It doesn’t seem to me, however, the main reason we’re giving up alcohol is for any of these reasons.
My iPhone contacts know I have no shame in sending out apologies and I’m pretty decent at applying foundation.
I have a theory the reason we’re all giving up alcohol temporarily is because we’re supposed to, and we want to make sure for that reason we can.
Unfortunately, my experience tells me that doing something because I’m supposed to isn’t going to make it stick. In some cases, it will do the exact opposite. For anyone who has ever gone one month free of anything, this is made apparent on the first day, when all you can think about is your next glass of wine/wheel of brie/loaf of bread.
One month I tried to do all of the above. I gave up booze, sugar, gluten and dairy and I immediately regretted ever being born. Then, when the month was over, I immediately regretted ever being born for every opposite reason.
Of course, there are some circumstances in which we need to quit things — when excess is controlling our lives and proving dangerous to our health and those around us — but the problem with my generation isn’t necessarily quitting, it’s going easy to begin with.
In the age of the desire to constantly one-up both each other, and ourselves, we have also managed to find a way to one-up our negative habits. The go big or go home mentality has kicked moderation to the curb, and we’re now convincing ourselves deprivation is the only alternative.
We want more, and we want it now. We want less, and we want it now.
The alternative to the month free of “whatever your poison is” might not be as dramatic as going cold turkey — hell, it might not even be worth tweeting about — but a little moderation never hurt anyone.
In fact, it’s probably the most helpful of all.
What do I know, though — I’m on day two of a no hooch choo-choo.
— Andria is a twenty-something blogger living in Kamloops with her 100 pairs of heels and 200 paperback Penguin Classics.