Wednesday, November 1 2006
I've been needing a late-night snack before going to bed every night, something I never used to do a few weeks ago. At first I suspected that Gretchen's radical turn towards veganism had something to do with it. Neither of us is actually a vegan (we both enjoy cheese too much), but Gretchen, now armed with the Uncheese Cookbook, has decoupled most of our usual evening meals from all animal products. And while vegan food can be made as delicious and filling as any other, it doesn't exactly stick to your ribs. As my Dad puts it in the punchline to numerous jokes, "Harf houl ratel, hungly again!" But when you think about it, the fact that I'm eating again at 2:00am after having last eaten at 6:30pm is no big surprise. The question becomes: why wasn't I eating late night snacks before?
The answer, as it happens, is that I was drinking booze instead. Every night after a certain hour I could be counted on to be sipping from a shot glass of either gin or brandy, always cheap and always straight, although sometimes I mixed it up and drank expensive tequila instead. I'd slowly ramped up the amount I was drinking to the point where I'd decided I needed to break out of the cycle and restore a little ritual to my drinking. So since early October I've imposed an alcohol fast upon myself. (I'd call it an alcohol Ramadan, but there has been no joyous daily breaking of the fast.) This fast has forbidden me from drinking at home unless others are drinking with me, and so far I haven't bent or broken the rules. So there has been no late night alcohol sipping for me. I've gone from calorie-rich distilled spirits to herbal teas, and I've had to make up those calories by eating a fourth meal at the end of every day.
Inevitably I'll start coming up with reasons permitting me to drink again. Maybe I'll permit myself one day a week to drink or I'll make a rule that I can drink if, say, Gretchen is not spending the night at home. Once that exception carves out a home others will follow until I'm back to the same old bad pattern. But it will take a long time; the last time I went on an alcohol fast was in February of 2005, and as I recall, aspects of that fast persisted until I visited Virginia in August of that year.
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