Today, we will be on a holiday schedule and only have a 9 am class. Don’t worry about signing up for class, just come on in and be ready to work hard!
As we bring this three-day weekend to an end, here’s something to think about by JD Moyer…
Make mine a virgin.
Recently, as a “kick-in-the-butt” motivator, I promised myself that I would abstain from alcoholic beverages until I finished the first draft of a novel I’ve been working on. I had set a target date for completing the project (June 30th), with the idea that if I didn’t finish by that date, I’d stop drinking booze until I was done. I didn’t think of it as “punishment” so much; rather a modest motivational booster to propel me towards my goal. I enjoy drinking — especially wine — and I knew that going without would help me stay focused.
Well, June 30th came and went with no completed first draft in sight. No problem — it would only take a few more days to finish — soon I would be popping a cork and savoring my first glass.
I did finally finish the first draft of my sci-fi novel … on August 10th. Forty days with no booze. Here’s what it felt like:
None, luckily. Unlike giving up coffee, I felt no physical craving for alcohol, despite having a drink or two nearly every day for at least the past fifteen years. For the first few days, I found it surprising to not have a drink in my hand around 6pm, but this was a psychological effect.
Summary: no DT’s
Giving up drink for a while helped me understand why alcoholism is often linked to highly driven, ambitious, over-achieving personality types. The reason: a drink helps you unwind fast. With a glass of wine, you can go from 60 to 0 in half an hour or less. Without a drink, I found it took me a couple hours to come down from my more intense workdays.
The no-booze period happened to coincide with some particularly stressful work situations; a large software project I had developed went into production and ran into some issues. I managed to get everything sorted out, but that involved some hair-pulling, and working more than a few nights. A glass of wine or a beer would have been really nice to help me unwind. Instead, I stayed over-alert for hours after I was done working, and sometimes (unwisely) went back to work when I should have just called it a day.
After a few weeks of this, I realized I needed a better way to deal with stress. I began to meditate more, sometimes several times a day for short periods. I also tried to take the “big picture” approach to my work (nobody was going to die from any of the software malfunctions, and I would fix them all eventually). These things helped a little, but ultimately the only thing that restored me to equilibrium was working a shorter work day, and allowing more time to unwind.
Summary: booze enables workaholism, because of the fast unwind time
Fat Loss and Water Retention
I got skinnier during this experiment, dropping several pounds below my ideal weight. I also retained less water; after a week or so I noticed my jawline tightened up. My wife said I looked like I had been living in the mountains with bears, subsisting on fish and berries. I guess I looked a little gaunt.
This, despite eating more complex and simple carbs, including a fair amount of ice cream. I had only been averaging a couple drinks a day, so I’m not sure this metabolic change was strictly caloric. I suspect my liver was slightly overburdened by daily drinking, even though I wasn’t drinking huge amounts. I think abstaining from booze allowed my liver to burn fat more efficiently, and signaled my kidneys that dehydration wasn’t as much of a risk (therefore less water retention).
Summary: got skinnier
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