Lesson learned: Water is important. Water is important regardless of the alcohol content (or lack thereof) in whatever beer or beer-like substitute one is consuming. Two Buckler’s and three O’Doul’s later, I woke up with a wicked headache this morning. Truly, the lamest “hangover” ever.

Yesterday was the first true test of my mettle. With the Mikkelsen Family in town for a weekend visit, it was a forgone conclusion that at some point we’d end up in the presence of alcohol. In a particularly cruel turn of events though, dinner last night was at the Laurelwood, which happens to be my favorite local brewpub. I wavered. I wavered in a big, bad way. Thankfully though, just as I was about to embrace my baser instincts and weak will, one of our party pointed out that no matter how much I might enjoy that beer, I would enjoy knowing that I kept my resolve even more. She was right. I think. Goddamn, I do love their Red though…

So yeah, I had two NA beers with dinner and then tossed all pride out the window and purchased a sixer of O’Doul’s Amber at Target in preparation for some girl time with a couple o’ Lady Bearcats. It was that or spend three hours shooting daggers at them and their red wine. I did get challenged in a rather unexpected way when Mike, our checker at Target, told me that the “less than 0.5% alcohol” in the O’Doul’s meant that I was breaking my rule by drinking it. I respectfully disagree with him, though I think I’ve probably gotten the need for NA beer out of my system for the rest of the month. At the very least, now I know I can tolerate it, for future self-imposed periods of sobriety. I also think everyone got a kick out of watching me actually order/purchase and consume faux-beer. Happy to oblige.

In an effort to appeal to her counseling/mental health sensibilities, I told Caitlin last night that I would use this post to really explore and “unpack” my need to “drink” last night. That was mostly for comedic effect, but I think it pretty much boiled down to feeling tested last night and using the substitute as a stepping stone toward the end goal of full on willpower. I really want to know that I can decide something, make a plan and see it through. I haven’t encountered a lot of naysayers in my life – I am lucky to have been almost exclusively surrounded by kickass, supportive friends and family. There have been one or two notable exceptions though, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hear a voice or two in my head last night when I was struggling – pointing out faults both real and imagined and telling me that of course I wouldn’t be able to stick with it because that’s just the kind of person I am. So, with those obstacles in the road, it was nice to have an option to fall back on (crutch though it was) rather than just say to hell with it and drink.

No, no one is forcing me to do this. I could stop right now. None of you would love me any less and it probably wouldn’t surprise anyone, but I really want to see this through. Truthfully, it’s not that hard and my consistent good mood, energy and general feeling of well-being this last week and a half is proof positive that it’s worth it.


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