Posted On February 8, 2024
On this week’s Keepin’ it Real, Cam Marston has thoughts about this upcoming weekend. Mardi Gras is on us down here in Mobile, and that leads to some tough decisions.
Dry January ended last week. Dry January followed soaking wet, sodden to the bone December. I’ve never done Dry January before and after sodden December, I needed to give it a try. Aside from one small drink to celebrate my daughter’s twenty-first birthday, I drank no alcohol for thirty-one days. I’m not sure I’ve done that since I was a teen.
The net result? I lost nine pounds. I slept very well every night for a solid month. I was eager to get out of bed each morning. All in all, Dry January was a hit. And I was surprised and thrilled with how easy it was to do. I’m now struggling to decide if I ever want to go back? I’m pretty sure the answer is No. And, my friends, that’s huge.
Some of my favorite people are the guys I gather with every Thursday evening after work. We’ve done it weekly for ten years at the same table. We talk and we chat. We rib each other like guys are prone to do. And we have a beer or two.
In early January, I avoided those Thursday gatherings, afraid that seeing a cold beer would tempt me too much and I’d cave. And I might have. However, by late January I had developed confidence in my Dry January and I was joining my group and ordering a NA beer.
What I learned in Dry January is that I’m not nearly as funny as I thought I was back in December. And maybe even for a decade before that. For years I’ve laughed at my jokes until tears poured from my eyes. And my friends were hilarious, too. Well, in Dry January, nobody was funny. Especially me.
A different friend hasn’t had a drink in over ten years. I now feel embarrassed about the times I’ve been with him with a few beers in me and I realized he wasn’t laughing at what everyone else thought was hysterical. In Dry January, it became clear why.
And I’m not sure what’s gonna happen. This new me is fond of this new me. But I liked the old me, too. And as of today, we’re entering the teeth of the Mardi Gras celebration here in Mobile. Mardi Gras about silliness and revelry and I enjoy both of them and a drink always helps with both of them. It’s a quandary.
I know that creating a grand drinking strategy for Mardi Gras is foolish. Temptation is everywhere and I know myself well enough to know that I manage temptation poorly.
However, my uncle told me that he stopped smoking by telling himself that when he wanted a cigarette, if he still wanted one in ten minutes, he’d smoke one and not feel bad about it. Gradually he stopped wanting them at all. I’m going to adopt his strategy and call it “the ten-minute delay plan for an uncertain semi-reformed drinker.” If I want a drink, I’ll wait ten minutes. After ten minutes, If I still want one, I’ll get one. And won’t feel bad about it.
And if you spot me laughing hard with my friends, you’ll know what happened.
I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.