Update from the Christmas Elf (& arguments for not boozing it up, as a writer)

Guess it’s time for a process review and Awareness (my own word to replace “sobriety”) update.

So my sobriety app “I am Sober” showed me yesterday that I’d been “sober from alcohol” for 17 days. Nice! But actually, I could not believe it was only that long. It felt a lot longer, he he he.

In terms of usefulness of the app, I do think that as far as these types of apps go, it’s a good one. In general I don’t use apps much, though. I actually started using this one (alongside a couple of others, to try them out) to quit both smoking and book-buying back in April, but hadn’t looked at it in quite a long while. Then I decided around day 4 of this new session of “Awareness” to use it again, to easily track my progress with abstention from booze. I do find it practical and motivational to track the exact amount of time and also the money saved. I’m not doing it for money reasons, but it’s a fun bonus for anyone who likes to see numbers add up.

I used to drink about 3-4 bottles of wine per week, and my favourite wine was about €4.50 per bottle. Wine here in France ranges from about €2/bottle upwards, and even the inexpensive wine is good, by my standards at least; but then I’ve never been a wine snob based on price tag alone, and I (snobbily) look down my nose at those who are (though I wouldn’t have turned down a nice flute of Dom). So based on previous wine-purchasing habits, I’m saving about €13.50-€16 per week, or an average of about €800 per year.

Sure, we could take some €€ back off, for the experimental non-booze booze replacements I’ve been trying — e.g. 0%-alcohol white “beer,” and 0%-alcohol raspberry-flavoured “beer” (both excellent, though I’m not a beer fan in general), diet cola (same), and fruit juice mixed with lemon and soda water; but I drink far less of any of those than I drank wine. The reason is because I don’t lose my ability to make rational decisions after having one or two of these non-alcoholic drinks. Also, any “addictive” substance(s) they contain (e.g. sugar) is less addictive than alcohol.

I probably actually spent quite a bit more than that on wine, since I used to buy a lot of wine to take to other people’s houses, as gifts, if/when we ever went out visiting.

I’ve finally made up my mind to really do this thing, for at least one year, by way of proper experiment, and that took awhile (making the personal, internal decision, that is), but now that I did make up my mind, I finally I told my significant elf. I expected he’d be disappointed, as he was the last time I gave up booze; for how shitty is it to lose your best drinking buddy? But sacrifices must be made in the name of progress. I explained to him that wine had once again become a kind of obsession for me, and yet its effects caused setbacks in my emotional/mental well-being, that simply outweighed the pros of fitting in with society by making an arse out of myself (no matter in how small a way), every other evening.

How can a rational being argue with that? They can’t. Unless they’re inebriated. Ho ho ho.

Here are the potential benefits I perceive of not boozing it up if you’re a writer, i.e. the gains that may be reaped from the sacrifice of giving up wine (or beer, or whiskey, or whatever your drug of choice), in order to pursue your dreams:

  1. Less drinking means more writing, less deleting. Anyone who’s gone through this KNOWS what I’m talking about. Even if you’re not a writer. A lot of time is spent cleaning up “messes” made while drinking, whether they are in reality, online or even just in your head.
  2. Less drinking means more sober networking in the evening. And less ruminating of the type, “holy creamed crap why did I say that online” in the morning.
  3. Less drinking means you might actually show up, look better and be in better (non-spirit-soaked) spirits, for your book tour one day.  ;)) Well, that’s if you can get your late-night writing and “writer’s social media” addiction under control. Holy bags under my eyes, lol. But you could spend your late nights doing facial yoga instead, for example. (Not even kidding. This shit works. Well I least I hope it will.)
  4. Less drinking means you might manage to stay alive, and even thrive, at the ever-climbing apex of your increasingly successful writing career. I love Hemingway‘s writing, but I don’t want to end up suicidal. Yes he had been diagnosed with hemochromatosis and received possibly terrible psychiatric care, but his heavy drinking would have aggravated that. Bless Hem’s brilliant energy and may his spirit find nirvana. Along with the spirits of his father, his brother, his sister and his granddaughter, who also committed suicide. That’s another thing: illnesses and additions (and suicide) run in the family. It has to stop somewhere?
  5. More writing, less deleting. I repeat this since it probably can’t be said enough. Also in relation to number four. Entire productive lives have been self-deleted, mostly due to the negative side affects from consuming toxic substances.

Something happens if/when you begin to tackle the 12 steps, that just kind of releases you from anxiety and shame and self-sabotage. Inner power develops, and a kind of simultaneous humility and resiliency allows you to begin to accomplish things you’d only dreamt of doing before.

I recommend anyone try them. Even if it’s not for booze, drugs or cigarettes. Even if, like me, you’re not religious and you’re wary of anything that seems remotely cultish. Try the 12 steps for book-buying addiction, for perfectionism, for social media addiction, for video-gaming, or any other negative, ultimately toxic input. Try it for anything. One little thing at a time. Ultimately it can only improve your (true) (self-) loving (prolonged) life.

Well, that’s how I’m trying, anyhow. Iterative progress. Let’s see where it takes us.


The (Post-)Christmas Elf.



  • Image: Kicking the habit; jingle bell shoes on the horizon (Image from Iceland’s amazing Alafoss — I am unaffiliated)
  • Written 2019-01-14, published 2019-01-25, backdated to the 14th. Unpublished 2019-02-25


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