I enjoy drinking.  From scotch to a microbrew, a libation always brings the clamor of life down to a dull roar, and allows me to relax in the moment, doing nothing more than the act of having a drink – most of the time with great company, and once in a while taking time for myself by winding down after a crazy day at work with a glass of wine.  And in moderation, it may also be good for my health.

But isn’t that the operative word there: moderation.  Defined by the mayo clinic for women as one drink per day (men 2 drinks per day), and not to exceed 7 drinks per week, lest you risk:

  • Certain cancers, including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus
  • Pancreatitis
  • Sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease
  • Heart muscle damage (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) leading to heart failure
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Suicide
  • Accidental serious injury or death
  • Brain damage and other problems in an unborn child
  • Alcohol withdrawal syndrome

We all know these things.  I knew the warnings when I was in college doing kegstands.  But I still did them.  And although my kegstand champion days are over, I still struggle to achieve the great balance that is 1. enjoying a drink here and there with friends and 2. drinking far too much and risking my health while adding on pounds.

Let’s take this week as an example:

Out of 7 days, I drank on 4 of them.  From sharing a bottle of wine with my bestie while doing dramatic readings of tinder profiles, to experiencing the cocktail program at a hot spot restaurant downtown; those evenings and the ones in between added up to 12 drinks this week.

Here is what I learned from this examination:  If I make plans and I know that there will be drinking involved, I can strategically decide to drink two nights per week.  But here is the ultimate rub:

“Let’s go grab a drink.”  “Want to grab a beer?”

That casual, last minute, why not? experience.  I love spontaneity.   And this is my downfall on this journey so far.  I hear the lightness of the question, the authentic desire to walk over to any of the great vibe bars in my neighborhood and be a part of the community, while enjoying a beverage and talking about life. But since I already made plans, this adds a third drinking day.  And this oftentimes happens more than once.  So there’s four.

And sure, I can say no.  But I don’t want to.  And sure, I can order my go-to-when-I’m-detoxing soda-water-with-lime during the dinners or outings that were planned, but I don’t want to.

It comes down what it always does when making decisions on this journey, the ultimate question: how bad do I want this?  How badly do I want to get in shape again?  How badly do I want to feel all of those great things that come along with being my healthiest self?  It definitely feels better than a hangover.  And if that’s not enough, this infographic  visually comparing wine to a slice of cake and a glass of liqueur to two weiners helps.

Drinking 12 drinks this week is not giving 100%.  So here’s what I’m going to do:

I will have four drinks per week.  Planned or unplanned.  And I have to be on top of it.  So for example, if I grab a spontaneous scotch on a Tuesday night, then when I have plans Friday, I know where I’m at and exactly what to do.

And here’s the other thing:

Just like when I was doing a paleo challenge with my crossfit friends, for every drink, I have to do 50 squats.  (Not right then and there, that would be a terrible date…”Crap I just had a beer.  Hey, can you hang on a minute? Don’t worry I can just do them here next to the bar.  Thanks for understanding”).

Because I want to reach my health goal more than I want scotch.

This is going to be hard.  BUT I WILL FUCKING DO IT.