On the wagon: A pillar of sobriety

Benjamin Welch
The Aspen Times

Three guys sat at the bar watching college football on a recent Saturday, giving a report on the successes of their Oct-sober.

“I’m still going strong,” one said, sipping on ginger ale. “And I lost 8 pounds.”

“I made it 12 days before this,” another bragged, shuddering over a shot of Rumplemintz.

“What time is it?” I asked. “I got through the morning.”

Eventually there comes a day when you don’t lose your inhibitions anymore, your liver is crying out and consuming feels more like a chore than a good time. It’s one of the worst weeks of the year — it’s time to take a hiatus.

I personally came to that realization at a bachelor party a few weeks ago, when one lightweight attendee announced to everyone that, “Ben has been drinking all weekend, and he’s the only one not causing a scene.” Granted, we only had Coors Light, and my body burns more alcohol content trying to process Coors Light than it absorbs, so take that compliment with a grain of margarita salt.

Living in a resort town can put a lot of pressure on consumption of libations. When you’re trying to plan for a break period, you need to avoid the high holidays: powder day, robbed of a powder day, friend’s birthday, going-away party, poker night, dart night, date night, night out, night in, day in, my weekend, traditional weekend, sports event, event horizon, fundraiser, funds lower, pub food, pub crawl, bad dream, bad day, good day, pay day, one week till payday, wedding, divorce, funeral, baby baptism, baby shower, shower beer, beer fest, dinner break, break up, break out, breakthrough, “Breaking Bad,” etc.

A period in October is a good time to cool it on the cocktails. Once Halloween hits and the Christmas commercials featuring a surprised spouse finding a new, bow-wrapped car in the driveway start, it’s basically the holiday season. Do people actually buy each other vehicles as gifts? I would think in a healthy marriage there would be discussion over such a large purchase, but hey, this isn’t “She Said, He Said.”

For my sobriety sesh I prepare as if I’m going to be ill. I stock up on soups, cranberry juice, movies and blankets, checking my temperature and BAC obsessively. My dreams are more vivid. YouTube clips are less funny. The local economy dips because I’m not supporting liquor stores and the gas station with 2 a.m. DiGiorno pizza runs.

But coming out on the other side still always feels refreshing. With recuperated body prepared to tackle the social obligations of the winter season (and thereafter), here’s to the next 358!


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