On Dec. 31, I made a resolution. The challenge I've given myself isn't for the whole year, but for the month of January. Beginning on Jan. 1, after our new year's celebrations came to a close, I stopped consuming alcohol.
My intention is to stay booze-free for 30 days.
Now, although this might suggest I have a problem with alcohol, I would argue that's not the case. I have just come to realize that drinking is considered an extracurricular activity in Jasper. You see, I live in a tourist town full of young people, who move here for four months or a year with the intention of partying and skiing their days away, and it seems that partying mentality has managed to infiltrate my life. I find myself drinking more than a few drinks at least once on the weekend and at least once during the week.
After doing a mental tally of how much money I've spent in bars the last few years, I decided it was time to make a change. Of course, though, it's not just the money either. It's the time that I seem to be wasting. In some cases, I'm wasting that evening and, in most cases, I'm wasting the entire next day of my life—goodness knows, as I get older, my hangovers linger longer and longer.
So, here I am, a week into this sober month and so far the most difficult day was my first adventure to the bar with my pals. At the outset of this challenge, I decided I would live life as normally as possible. This goal isn't meant to be a sentence of house arrest. Rather, it's an attempt to live my regular life with a sober mind and full wallet. Last weekend, while sitting in our usual bar, I drank soda water while watching my friends down pitcher after pitcher. I was surprised how hard that was, just sitting there, watching.
There is so much peer pressure involved with drinking and such an assumption that everyone will partake. In fact, I had to stop my waitress from walking away, just so I could order my own beverage, rather than an extra pint glass to go along with the first pitcher. Since that night, the challenge has become easier and easier and it has also been a bit of an eye opener. I realize now, as I choose to drink water or soda water over beer, just how often I would reach for a pint at a bar or a bottle out of the fridge. I'm conscious of it in a way I have never been before. I think that lesson alone has been worth this little challenge of mine.
Ultimately, I know I'll reenter the world of beer drinking in a month's time, but I hope that this month of sobriety will remain in the back of my mind, reminding me that I don't have to drink to have a good time, nor do I have to drink because everyone around me seems to have a full glass.
So there you have it, my one and only new year's resolution. Have you set any for yourself?