April 12, 2016
I have often thought to myself that I should quit drinking, but I’ve never been able to get together the motivation to do it. I wouldn’t say I’m an alcoholic by a long shot, but I certainly use alcohol as a crutch. I get into cycles of “beer to relax, coffee to motivate,” which wreak havoc on my body, immune system, nervous system, organs, etc.
My wife and I have been talking seriously about having a second child. Mentally, philosophically, and spiritually, I think this is a great idea. I think it’s most likely the best thing for our little one, and both my wife and I love the idea of a larger family.
But I’m so tired. All the time. Weak and weary. I easily succumb to depression, and I think this has a lot to do with just how worn out I feel all the time. When I think about having a second child in this light, I actually wonder if it will be possible. I worry that I might not be up to the task, might not be able to care for two little ones when the one we have already feels like too much sometimes.
So an experiment. I am going to begin to focus on being healthy. I haven’t been able to give up alcohol because it is a necessary part of an unhealthy system. So instead I’m going to change the whole system.
What this looks like in practice is that I am giving up five things that I know sap my energy: coffee, alcohol, sugar, wheat and dairy. I will still allow myself tea, which is less brutal to the system (and which has other health benefits). Honey and maple syrup are allowed in moderation, but no refined sugar or sugary snacks. And an absolute ban on alcohol and coffee.
I have been following this diet for a week now, and I can already feel positive effects. My energy levels are up, and my anxiety levels are way down. There have also been some negative effects. I have felt hungry constantly, even when I allow myself large portions of nutritious food. I think my body may be freaking out a little bit. There is definitely some withdrawal, especially from the coffee and sugar. The first day was fine, but the second day I didn’t drink enough tea and ended up with a pounding headache.
The motivation for this shift is two-fold. First, as mentioned, I think it is actually a necessary step in order to be ready to have a second child. That is a huge motivator for me.
The second has to do with recovery. I have been reading a book called Recovery 2.0 by Tommy Rosen. In this fantastic book, Rosen writes about what he calls “the frequency of addiction,” a kind of vibrational frequency that keeps us hooked into addictive patterns. When we allow ourselves to continue living with addictive/compulsive behavior, even apparently unrelated to our core addiction, it keeps us locked into an addictive mindset. We continue to think and act like addicts. A big part of that has to do with eating habits.
For years I have used caffeine, sugar, and alcohol as crutches to get through the day. A cup of coffee to get me through the morning, shoveling chocolates or cookies or into my face between therapy sessions, a drink at night to relax. Wheat and dairy have been my comfort foods, when I get depressed I eat a lot of bread and cheese and pasta, things that feel good but which ultimately just gum up my system and drain my energy.
So no more. While I am treating this as an experiment, and while I have given myself permission to fail, this move feels very energizing and congruent. Just quitting drinking didn’t feel right, it felt like I was depriving myself of something. Same with my (many) attempts to give up sugar. But somehow the whole package does feel right. It feels like a new lease on life, like a new view of health and nutrition. If I continue to feel as good as I have for the past couple of days, I can’t see any reason why I would stop living this way. It just feels good.