The detox blues |

The detox blues

Alison Berkley

“So, are you going to come in tonight for a second class?” my yoga teacher, Caroline, asked. I’ve been hitting the yoga thing pretty hard lately so she’s always encouraging me, pushing me to get better.”Naw,” I replied. “I’m going to a party.”She looked at me like she didn’t believe it, which says a lot about the healthy context of our friendship. “No, Alison. Don’t even tell me that’s true.””Yup, that’s right,” I replied. “Detox to retox.”What Caroline might not realize is that I’m not joking. Saying it out loud only reiterated, to me at least, how ridiculous my lifestyle really is sometimes. I mean, here I am spending an hour and a half a day in a 100-degree studio, going through a series of postures designed to detoxify and strengthen my whole system. And more often than not, I promptly go out and undo whatever benefits I’ve received by pinballing around to the bars and carrying on like a hooligan.I think the time has finally come for me to go on the wagon.I’m always carrying on about what alcoholics all my friends are, but more often than not I’m right there with them at the bar talking about how so-and-so drinks too much. It’s embarrassing.You would think that by my age I maybe might have grown out of the whole party scene, but noooo. I keep wondering when I’m going to move past this whole spring break mentality because it hasn’t happened yet. If anything, it seems to have expanded to also include summer, winter and fall.The worst part is, every time I decide to get away from it for a while, I only return with a vengeance and it’s like I’m even wilder than I was before. Someone came up with the analogy the other day of a pot of boiling water with the lid on – the more pressure you put on the lid, the more pressure builds up inside the pot. Like this summer I retreated up to Steamboat and led an ultra-healthy, clean lifestyle only to come back to Aspen and promptly dive headfirst into a big-time binge. (That was two months ago, for whoever’s keeping track.)Like when I was in Hawaii, most of my friends were on the early to bed, early to rise program (i.e., jet-lagged and still living on Colorado time). I’d find myself two (OK three) drinks deep after beer thirty (an indiscriminate time that usually started after our evening surf session). I’d just be catching the perfect buzz and everyone would be like, “Goodnight! See you in the morning, bright and early.”I’m thinking, “No, wait! Don’t go! Stay up and be drunk with me!” But I don’t say anything because I realize how ridiculous it sounds. So the lights go out, and everyone goes to bed and I’m sitting out on the lanai trying to think of something to do. I write in my journal and send text messages to people I shouldn’t. (I figure this is one step above drunk dialing because at least I can sort of think about what I want to say before I say it, but still.) Then I’m like, “I know! I’ll go skinny-dipping in the ocean! That’ll be fun!” I run down to the water’s edge and look around to make sure no one is lurking around the beach before I peel off my sundress, pull my panties around my ankles and run into the Pacific. I expect to feel some kind of miraculous spiritual awakening or emotional epiphany that will reveal all the mysteries of the universe and cure my aching heart. I dive in, and it’s freezing. I can feel goose bumps on virtually every centimeter of my exposed skin. Just as I start to wonder how long I can possibly stand being in the water, my teeth start chattering, so I get out. I pick up my clothes and hold the towel in front of me and make a run for the house so I can get under the warm water of the outdoor shower as fast as possible. I’m sober enough to realize that I’m even more bored than I was before, so I get dressed and decide to go sit in the gazebo and write in my journal some more. (OK, so I decided to smoke a little pot, but only because I was hoping it would make me sleepy.) The yard is pretty dark. I approach the gazebo, where there is an upholstered bench lined with big pillows. I’m thinking I might even sleep out here. Just as I’m about to sit down and get cozy, this voice goes, “Hey, what’s up?”In the fuzzy darkness I see a scruff-looking guy with a beard who has probably been sleeping in this gazebo for months. (Apparently there are plenty of surf bums who have found a way to live on Kauai by taking advantage of outdoor living amenities like outdoor furniture and showers that make these coastal vacation rentals so damned expensive.) I nearly jump out of my skin with the realization that this guy has probably seen my skin, and a lot of it.Oh, but you were on vacation, you might say. It’s true that there’s nothing better than a beer with lime at the beach, but I’m sort of running out of excuses when it comes to, say, drinking a few bottles of wine on a Tuesday night and staying up until 2 a.m. so I can instant-message with an old boyfriend now living in Hong Kong. (Thank God I didn’t go through with actually buying that thousand-dollar plane ticket.)I just hope I can keep the lid off long enough to let the water cool, or at the very least keep my hot side within the confines of the yoga studio for now.The Princess really hopes this health kick thing isn’t just a phase. E-mail your loving support to

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