Giving up drinking for lent

Lent? What’s lent? I suppose I should deal with that question first. Easter’s over, and I did a thing for 40 days before Easter that I’d like to talk about. So what is Lent? According to the ‘pedia of Wiki:

Lent (LatinQuadragesima – English: Fortieth) is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayerpenancerepentance of sins, almsgiving,atonement and self-denial.”

There’s a lot more to it that you can read on the site; growing up with Roman Catholic upbringing meant that lent was a time when I denied myself something that I loved the most to prove my Love to God. As I grew older and decided that the church, and organized religion wasn’t for me, lent became more about maintaining moderation. As Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I really think there’s something to that.

No Alcohol by EinnaS on deviantART
image credit: No Alcohol by EinnaS on deviantART

When I was younger1, I would give up chocolate. That was hard. I might even say it was harder than giving up drinking. I mean, I can drink a lot but I don’t *need* to drink a lot. I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking everyday, and that’s the very reason I’ve decided to give it up for lent in the first place, but I don’t need to do it everyday.

By giving it up though, I achieve the same level of tolerance that lets me drink a small amount to experience the optimum relaxation that I seek when I reach for a glass in the first place. In the past2, it was more about denying myself the pleasure of eating my favourite thing in the whole world3. Now though, it’s more about remaining the kind of person who can function well without too many crutches4.

I’m being more lenient with myself this year, and I am finding it quite liberating5. Last year, I only allowed myself one free day. It was someone’s birthday and I didn’t want to be a wet blanket talking about moderation and what not, so I had a few and instead opted not to celebrate with a drink on Easter Sunday6. Last year, I equated alcohol to chocolate and this year I’ve realized it isn’t so much the substance but the circumstance, and the emotions tied to the need for a drink.

It was trying. Not just because I had made the decision to give up the drink; rather, it was a pretty trying point in my life. There were all sorts of problems – money, love, health, you name it. There were hints of problems in every category, at best. I’ll be honest, I stopped a few days early. Easter was on April 20th and I had my first drink on April 15th. Mind you, I didn’t drink every night until Easter after that point. April 15th was a very special occasion to me, and it deserved a little celebratory drink. I had a couple of other days of drinks in there, but as I had previously mentioned – they were to celebrate birthdays, and other such special occasions.

It’s certainly an exercise that I plan to continue in the future. I think that I rely on external relief far too often, and that is simply not healthy. If I need to deprive myself of something like this, once in a while, to remind myself that I have it in me to get through whatever it is that I’m going through then so be it. At least I have the cohonas to actually do it, right?

What did you give up for Lent?

Footnotes:
  1. you know, before I could drink all the booze I wanted[]
  2. when I was giving up chocolate[]
  3. at the time[]
  4. easier said than done, right?[]
  5. well, who woulda thunk![]
  6. the day that one would normally be able to resume whatever it was that was given up for lent[]

I gave up drinking [alcohol] for Lent

lent 2014

I stated so on a facebook status, but I didn’t specify the rules:

– No drinking just because I can’t fall asleep.
– No drinking because I’m feeling sad, stressed or unhappy.
– The only exception is a special occasion, such as a birthday1.

What did you give up for lent? If you have never given up anything for lent, would you consider giving up something for a month? I’ve known people to give up alcohol for January2, to give their livers a break. You should try it some time!

Footnotes:
  1. and even then, there is a 2 drink maximum[]
  2. after the holidays[]

Special thoughts for a special lady on this, her special day

[Pardon the cheese in the title; there just had to be some].

Mum & Dad at Christmas 2012

My dearest Mother,

I think about how mean I was to you as a teenager and I’m filled with guilt. You never once made me feel like less of a human being, nor less of a daughter for acting out. You’ll say that it was your duty as a mother but others would say that it makes you an extraordinary mother.

Okay fine, I suppose I could have been worse – it’s not like I ever got arrested or overdosed on drugs but I wasn’t exactly easy to deal with. Being highly emotional is hard to deal with when you don’t know what emotions are yet. You always knew how to deal with me though, whether it was simply leaving me alone or trying to talk to me in your own indirect way; it was always exactly what I needed. Whether you knew that or not, I’m not sure.

I’ve often wondered how different our lives would be if I confided in you more. I still remember that time I experienced my first broken heart here in Canada and your hug was the only one that comforted me; that made me feel safe. I don’t recall if I said much about the pain I was feeling, but I don’t think it matters.

I like that we’re becoming friends now. I hope we can do more of it. There’s so much more I want to say but fear that should be left for a more intimate setting. I hope you enjoy your special day, because we enjoy having you in our lives and we want you to feel just how much we do magnified by a thousand suns.

Happy Birthday, Mum.

I love you always,

Q1.

Footnotes:
  1. There will be no asking who Q is[]

Like it was yesterday

In Memory September 11 2001

I can’t believe it has been 12 years since the day that we all call 9/11 happened. I remember being woken up by my boyfriend at the time1, and being slightly upset with him. I was trying to sleep in because I had just flown in the night before from visiting Jackie in L.A. I had been there for three weeks and the flight was almost delayed to the next morning. That very morning when horrible things happened that have affected so many lives in ways we’re probably not even done realizing yet.

He told me to turn on the TV and despite my crankiness, I heard something in his voice that I had never heard to such an extent, so I did. And I swear I held my breath for what seemed like an eternity. I held my breath as if I was making a wish before I blow out a birthday cake. I was praying that it was all some sick joke or publicity stunt. It was ridiculous to wish for, but I just wanted something other than the truth to be that a plane had flown into a very important building in New York City.

All that happened though, was that things got worse. I don’t need to re-tell the story because we all know what happened. And we would continue to hear more stories from people2. We all lost something that day. We all lost a little faith, a little hope, innocence… even when we thought we didn’t have any more of those things to lose. Then we started hearing stories about the heroes; the ones who stood in the face of evil and told it to fuck off. And even though their efforts were in vain, it helped to know that they didn’t go down without a fight.

I have lived a lucky life to only know of such horrible loss from a distance. My heart goes out to those who weren’t so lucky. I will always remember.

Footnotes:
  1. a sweet guy who was way too mature for me at the time, If I knew back then what I know now I never would have let him go[]
  2. and we would eat them up because for some of us knowing the details helps us cope[]