Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day two: achieving balance through extremism.

After a little time on the planet, I have discovered something. Moderation is not my forte. I am not good at just having a little bit, or cutting down, or just doing something a few days a week. I'm more of a whole hog kind of person. It's not always bad. For example, I recently completed a 31-day yoga challenge where you do yoga every day for 31 days, and that was awesome. I didn't drink, I was exercising all the time, eating well and feeling radical. In fact I can probably blame my little yoga stint for where I find myself now. It taught me a simple but potent lesson that I can't quite believe I didn't get until now. To achieve something (say, standing on one leg for a minute) you have to focus solely on the task at hand. No letting your mind wander off to do other stuff, no distractions, just the task, front of mind until it's done. For me, alcohol is a distraction. A big stinking, shit-stirring one. And this is where my little moderation problem comes in. You see for me, drinking moderately is a tough call. As soon as the stuff hits my tongue, and I get a whiff of the abandon and misbehaviour on offer, my evil twin takes over (her name's Charlena) and we're off. And then I'm sabotaging myself, doing all the things I kind of hate. Dangerous, damaging things a lot of the time too. And then I wake up feeling like shit and ashamed of the monster I just paraded in front of everyone. And I've de-railed any good thing I've had going on and I feel like a failure who will never achieve anything. It's a pattern I've been repeating for about the last seven years. And man it's boring. But because I don't do half measures, I can't change the record just by turning down the volume. To really shift things I have to go to the extreme in the opposite direction. It's like a see-saw. My year off the piss is me sitting hard on one end with my healthy, productive side flying way up high. With any luck, a year should be long enough for my drink demons to get bored and slide off the other end altogether, leaving me free to balance things out a little better. Who knows? It's day freakin two. But I'm excited by the possibilities, and by the freedom that bucking a social norm might give me. It's an experiment. So maybe a hypothesis is in order? Okay. My hypothesis: by not drinking for 365 days, I will remove many of the obstructions that get in the way of me achieving my dreams. By removing the distraction of alcohol and the fallout that goes with it, my mind and waking hours will be free to be used productively. This new clarity of mind and ability to focus will see me achieve amazing things.
Genius or craziness? Don't know yet. I'll be working it out one day at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Heh, I can agree with this - back when I did my HSC in '02 (ARGH, getting old) I decided I had to cut down on my gaming time or else I'd never achieve the marks I wanted. So, in a fit of not particularly rational thinking, I wrote up a contract stating that until I'd finished my last exam and tidied away my school crap I wouldn't play computer games in any way, shape or form. It was a tough choice given the 6 month old gamecube sitting downstairs taunting me.

    Anyway, I got top marks (Dux of the school, wooo!) and finally got my gaming privileges back. It was worth it, if only because I could say I'd stuck to my promise and committed to achieving something at the expense of one of my favourite pastimes. I do still find myself looking back and wondering what the hell I was thinking though, so best of luck with your intrepid teetotalling plan!