When I first started this a few months ago there were some immediate effects in my life and my physical self. I lost fifteen pounds… at first. My writing increased. My garden became more productive. My house is cleaner and I purged it of many items I don’t use and never would. My diet expanded to the point I started writing for my Kalamabrew blog again.
Some of the downsides of the experiment was an increase in beer consumption. Less activity as time went on. I stopped exercising as I did when it first started. I gained a few pounds back. Overall my health declined.
I know that I was going to the bar more because of the loneliness I was feeling. For four bucks I could sip a beer and see some friends that I had made over the last year. I noticed the changes right away. My stomach became more distended in the morning. I was having a harder time recovering in the morning and that was after a night of one or two beers. To make a long story short the beer needs to go, not the friends I made, but the beer. I have started to see my new friends outside of the bar. Meeting for lunches and trying out new food at local restaurants. The choices I made at these places have been a positive effect on me in the last few weeks. I started asking myself if I was going to write a review on ‘this,’ the beer or menu item that I was getting. If the answer was ‘no’ than I didn’t get it.
The turning point on my way of thinking was the day after my birthday. I had plans for that day already wanting to turn things around. I’m out of shape, sluggish, and getting lazy. The night of my birthday I had a book signing. During the signing I paced myself with the free beer I received that day but after 9pm when the signing was over I spend things up. I had a good time making new friends and learning new things.
My night ended around midnight and then next morning was one of the worst hangovers I have experienced since I tried vodka in college. Keep in mind I have not touched vodka since college. That was what I was thinking yesterday as I was trying to pull myself from my bed and get myself moving. After several multivitamins and Motrin I was finally moving. It would take all day for me to recover from one night.
Needless to say this did not help my productivity. A book I recently read, Trip to Echo Springs, talks about the relationship between writers and alcohol abuse. Am I at that point? I can’t ignore that it’s effecting my life.
With my new job that I’m starting tomorrow I will be working during the hours that my favorite bar is open, or any bar downtown for that matter. There is a balance that I have been seeking in my life for a while now and I know that taking alcohol out of the equation will help. I know that once I get used to the new schedule I will start seeing some changes again. I tend to write better in the morning and workout more often in the afternoon. For physical work I’m more productive in the evening. I have hopes that the schedule of the new job will reverse a lot of what has been happening. This summer will be interesting and a nice experiment for what is better for me as I continue to improve my life.
The support I have been getting from friends and family has been amazing. I have the support, I have the tools, now I just need to put myself into motion. Kalamabrew will still go on without the beer.
Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.