I have a love/hate with alcohol.
On the love side, I enjoy beer. I enjoy having the power to impair myself. I enjoy the way it makes me feel comfortable in social settings. I enjoy the culture of drinking, and the types of people who like to drink socially. I enjoy wine. I enjoy a cocktail. Alcohol and I get along pretty okay. Mostly
On the hate side, it has a dampening effect. It slows down my mental capacity the day after (and days after) drinking. It makes me sluggish. I sleep later. I miss mornings with my kids because I'm in bed. I don't write as much. Work is harder. I feel, and certainly am less creative. I panic more. The post-drinking anxiety is sometimes almost too much to bear. I wake up and frantically check who I've texted or tweeted or commented, slightly panicked. I don't exercise because why bother. I eat shitty food because who cares. I nap more. I'm annoyed more. I'm irritable and lazy. This list could go on for a while, I'm realizing.
So, it's a constant struggle. I have a hard time finding balance. If I'm in that drinking mode, being healthy seems impossible. If I'm in the health mode, drinking feels like I'm poisoning myself. I can't seem to find a middle ground. The swings back and forth between modes get deeper and farther apart as years go by.
I think we all know what makes us happy. We know what it will take to be healthy, fit, chemically balanced, etc. And yet, so many of us ignore that nagging voice inside saying:
You know what to do.
Earn a happy life.
It's not a pill or a drink or a book or a relationship or a therapist, right? It's listening to that voice telling you to stop doing the things you know aren't working, even if it's just an experiment for a week.
So it's been a week. I'm trying to swing back towards health mode after a long swing in the other direction. It's not always as fun to be healthy, but it does make me happier. Right? Is fun happiness, or is fun instant gratification at the expense of happiness? Where is the middle ground? Shit, I don't know.
I'm writing here, so maybe the experiment is working.