Hope everyone is doing well. I am currently writing this in a house full of my ladies finally after spending a long week alone last week.
It happens around August every year for the past few years my wife and children take a week house/dog sitting for a friend of my wife's while their family takes a vacation and since I need to work (just finished our own vacation), my girls are off for the Summer and the house is a good hour away from our own I get to stay at our house alone while they stay there.
It's always an interesting time because the majority of my life, actually all of my life I've never lived alone....ever. I shared a bedroom with my brother since the day he was born, then lived the dorm life In college, then once I moved out on my own it's always been with roommates or girlfriends, then I was married and we had children pretty much right away. Out of the 44 years on this planet I think I had my own bedroom for maybe 2 years tops and I had never had an apartment on my own.
Therefore there are periods where I crave and seek alone time and when I do finally get that opportunity I tend to take full advantage of it. People will find out and say "oh man you have the place to yourself? Let's go do this or that or this" and honestly? Because I never get a moment to myself although I miss a lot of my friends dearly I often find myself thinking "nah I'm gonna stay home".
So it's funny when August comes around and that "free week" approaches I'm already scheming and thinking about what I'm going to do. Sure I am still working during that week so I'm limited to options but there's always some things I look forward to doing and before this year it was a no brainer:
i get to watch whatever shows, movies I want to watch! (Which is odd considering honestly I take over the remote when the kids go to bed)
The whole week is going to consist of take out and I'm gonna get all of my favorite snacks and fill the house with them! (Yet also odd since it's not like anyone is telling me I can't eat a tub of Ben & Jerry's in my boxers whenever I want anyway)
But the big one is always...I get to drink whenever and whatever I want!
See for the past several years, pretty much since we've had children and they were old enough to notice we do not keep alcohol in our home anymore. We did for awhile but as we all know, especially with me if its in the house, it doesn't stay for long. I've never been the type to buy a case of beer, drink one or two a day and make it last. With my addictive personality once it starts, it's not gonna stop. If it's in the fridge I'm gonna keep drinking it until it's done or I'm gonna pass out trying. There's nothing scarier for me and I'm sure others around me when I hear the words "open bar".
But now this year for me it's a whole new ballgame. I'll admit since beginning this new lifestyle there's been a day of "slip ups" here and there but just like with the food addiction the drinking has pretty much been taken out of the equation in my life.
Before this year I was drinking heavily pretty much once a week if not more. Most of the time It would happen during band practices or any of my other creative endeavors back then. I used it as an excuse or front to go out and get hammered. I used to whine "oh I just need a day to kick back with my friends, strap on a bass and have fun creating music with a few cold ones" However it got to a point near the end where I didn't care about the music I was making I just wanted to get in that room and drink, drink, drink. I would sometimes look at the set list and think "man when is this over? I just want to go to the bar again." When you are ordering beers from the stage between or sometimes during songs too you know you have a problem.
But now this year once I took the alcohol out of the equation I've never been more creative and happier. I play better, I sound better, I look better and most importantly I feel better. I go to band practice now and the worst thing I'm drinking is Monster Energy drinks and I don't have to worry about "did I drink too much to drive?" I don't have to come home wiping myself down with wet ones or chewing on 50 Altoids so I don't come stumbling in reeking of beer in front of my poor wife. Now for me it's all about my music and my health. To come home from band practice sweaty and sober feels amazing.
So far this year I'll admit there have been a night or two where I've had a "free night" and I never ever get the cravings for bad food and always keep within my calories, but the alcohol has been the weakness. In all of my years of "professional drinking" I have perfected it almost to a science now where the days of blackouts and puking never ever occur. The method is very simple:
1) Always stick to beer. liquor for me is the devil I drink it like said beer and leads to trouble. Wine also gives me massive headaches. Beer for some reason I can drink till the cows come home and I do not have a problem.
2) When planning for a night of drinking you have to decide on either quality or quantity. I've discovered the formula is:
a) Quantity: One 12 pack of cheap beer. Usually a Miller Light/High Life, Schaefer, Tecate or PBR (before the hipsters stole it) does the trick. Can't do Bud it gives me the "pukey" feeling especially the next day. This can last longer, be finished over a few hours easily and believe it or not drinking the whole thing doesn't get me "too" wrecked. Schaefer especially I've been known to finish a 12 of that and could even operate a forklift if I had to 😜
b) Quality: a 6 pack of good beer and one "Closer". I've never been into a craft, micro brewed, fancy beer most are too bitter and smell too strong so my idea of "good" beer would be Stella Artois that is my usual go to. "The Closer" is normally a Fosters "oil can" or sometimes even a king can or two of cheap beer (see above). Darrell and I coined the term back in the band gig days where you would have some drinks at practice/gig and have a "Closer" when you got home. The 6 of nice beer gets you jussssst to the point of fuzzy content and that closer takes you right over the edge. Closers can usually be cheap beer since you and already pretty much too drunk at that point to care and is usually followed by passing out.
3) They say to do all this before bed but most times I'm too hammered to remember but usually around the 5-6am time you wake up to take that massive 5 minute pee. Do that, go slam some coconut water, take 4 Motrin, sometimes even a Zantac 150mg for that "afternoon stomach burn" and go back to bed for a few more hours. When you wake up you will be as right as rain and your mouth won't feel like a sewer. Sometimes a Gatorade by the bed for toss and turn quick gulps can help with that morning purge or a swish of mouthwash will prevent your mouth from tasting like an ashtray.
Now I have been doing this method pretty much for ages and like in Anchorman with the Sex Panther cologne 60% of the time it works every time. Sure sometimes I would deviate from this formula (see open bar) but for the most part if I use this method I'm good. No getting in cars driving around anymore, I would only put this into motion under the following conditions: no wife, no children (make sure there is a "designated parent" present. Can't be making emergency trips to a hospital half in the bag) and of course be at home or at a place for the night and stay there.
Maybe it's all the years of playing bars and clubs but I don't want to be in one unless I have an instrument in my hand. Plus the thought of driving to a place, consuming then getting in a car frightens me. It was a constant struggle for me trying not to drink cause of the driving. It got to a point where I was always having friends drive, even to practice because I couldn't be trusted and I didn't want to limit myself to one or two because once that first one hits my lips my body immediately goes "game on fucker"
So here I am mister HEAL now drinking kale smoothies, eating salads, doing my yoga and over 60lbs down since January and feeling literally the best I've ever felt in years about to embark on 7 full nights of being "a bachelor". I would like to say I spent that time doing all of this stuff and enjoying the quiet working on new music, catching up on Netflix and all that.
Nope.....I would say I had a few closer nights.
The addict in me rationalized once again and said "dude, you never get this much time alone live a little while you can!" So I did.
DDP saw me on Monday morning but besides that, he sat laying dormant in the basement. I kept on the good foods but some nights were spent coming home with a bag full of cold ones sitting on the couch and consuming. I'll admit the first one is always the toughest but once you get that liquid in your body the warmness takes over and you start thinking "God I love beer" and you spend the next few days in between nights of closers sucking down vitamin water in your office going "why?"
I did learn something though for the first time in my life having this week alone.
It's not who I am anymore and I'm going to stop.
Of course I logged in everything like I always do and what I saw that solidified my decision was not only is this poison gonna kill me eventually it's a horrible waste of calories! For a man who only consumes @ 1,500 calories a day now "quality" is 1,037 calories and a night of "quantity" is over 1,200 calories. To think I would do that to myself weekly and throw on 3 square meals of crap and other snacking on top of that? No wonder I was over 300lbs!
Did I have fun? Of course I did at the time I was doing it but at my age and how I've been taking care of myself the hangovers the next day are horrendous and it's just not worth it.
I can sit down on a piece of paper and write down every single bad decision or thing I've ever done in my life and I can always equate it to "I was drinking at the tlme". Some people can do it, be fine with moderation and have a good time doing it but I've always known I have never been good at anything in moderation.
So I'm not going to sit here and say "I'm cured" It might happen again but honestly I doubt it. I've come so far this year and just like the bad food I need to eliminate this as well so I can release this album, go play shows and show myself and the rest of the people who have been so supportive that you can go from being sick and miserable to healthier and happier through the power of music and the willing to HEAL
So I'm back in the basement, eating my salads and focused more than ever. I'm even going to try those e-cigs starting Sept 1st to see if that helps me slowly quit smoking too. Having my girls back with me this weekend, enjoying them, loving them and what I have achieved this year totally feels better than a life filled with alcohol.