The Long, Dry Weekend

I’m quite the creature of habit, and I usually like to stick to a routine.  When it comes to beer, the rule is that I usually don’t drink any during the week, and imbibe on the weekends.  Now the former rule is one that is broken regularly (I’ll have a beer after a rough day at work), but the latter is pure ritual – I always drink some beer and/or whiskey on the weekend.  Until this weekend, that is, when I decided to go cold turkey.  

There are a few reasons I wanted to take a break.  One is the deep craving I get for beer as the weekend draws near.  Quite frankly, it’s a little scary.  I don’t think I have a problem with alcohol, but it’s hard to tell without stepping on the brakes once in a while.

The second reason is that I’ve started to take great craft beers for granted.  I always savor what I have, but a delicious beer is now more of an expectation and less of a little miracle than it used to be.  I figure taking a little break will make me appreciate my good fortune a little bit more.  And speaking of fortunes, I don’t mind saving a few bucks by leaving the goodies in the garage for a couple of days.

And to be honest, vanity plays a role as well; it might actually be the number one reason I took the break.  I don’t like to talk about it, but I’ve been working out like a lunatic for the past year or so (gotta love P90X), and drinking beer is keeping me from my fitness goals.  I’ve done a pretty good job of learning to eat healthy and drink lots of water, etc., and beer is the final frontier.  I need to find a new balance and cut a few beers out of the routine.  I’m not going to stop drinking beer (what’s the point of working hard if you can’t enjoy yourself?) but I need to find a new balance between beer and fitness.  Taking a little break let’s me hit the reset button here as well.

So there’s a pretty honest peek inside my head.  So how did it go?  Well, it was fine, actually.  There were a couple of times when I really wanted a beer, but what I really craved was the flavor.  The oaky goodness of a Weyerbacher Heresy, or the piney pop of a Dale’s Pale Ale would have been awesome.  But other than that, it was a pretty normal weekend where I did most of the stuff I always do, including buying a couple of interesting beers at Whole Foods.

So I’m happy to report I survived and that this little experiment worked out to my satisfaction.  I don’t have a problem with alcohol, absence has made the heart grow fonder and I saved a few bucks in the process.  I’d also like to say I’m totally buff as well, but I’ll have to skip many beers to get to that point.  Probably more than I care to, so we’ll see where that nets out.  Maybe I’ll try again this coming weekend (but I doubt it!).

Do you think going go cold turkey for a while has merit, or am I just being a little dramatic here?  Have you ever done the same?  Please let us know below.

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Categories: Beer, Whiskey


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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8 Comments on “The Long, Dry Weekend”

  1. Don
    February 22, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    OK Jim, a couple of things here. If this P90X thing is so great there is no way you should be depriving yourself of beer. It isn’t like you are overweight or out of shape, granted you aren’t Arnold Schwartzinager in his prime either, but he is in the top .01% of the world in terms of body type and image. If you stop to consider he was Mr. Universe then you might say he was 1 out of 7 billion people, so that is an unrealistic goal.

    Second, you are not an alcoholic. There is a huge difference between liking alcohol, and having a problem with it. I crave pizza, so does that make me a pizzaholic? No, it just means I like Pizza and every now and then I get a hankering for it. If you would get rid of the rule no drinking during the week, you would probably find that come Friday you wouldn’t be craving it so much.

    Now granted I am not God’s gift to physical health, but this P90X thing seems to be a little over the top. Seems like everyone at ESPN is doing it with mixed results. It is simply another fad in diet and exercise. Jim, do your regular workout routine, eat sensibly and don’t overindulge in drink of any type (pop included) and you will be just fine. If you want to get ripped abs talk to your plastic surgeon boss.

  2. February 22, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    I agree about the pizzaholic thing – i think you have a problem! Just kidding – it’s a valid point and a good comparison.

    On the P90X front, I’ll say that it’s not a fad – it’s just a hardcore, no fluff good old-fashioned work out regimen that works. I have no idea how someone can have mixed results if they do their best and stick with it. It’s an ass kicker. I wouldn’t call it over the top, either, but it’s right up to the top, at least for me. Anything more would kill me!

    All in all, moderation works and that’s what I’ve been doing all along. But hitting the pause button once in a while makes sense, at least to me.

  3. February 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    I think it’s good to stop once and a while to appreciate what you have. As far as the beer and caloric intake go, build the beer into the meal for caloric intake (that’s what Andrea and I do). Those programs can get intense, I used to do cross-fit, which would just destroy me sometimes. Maybe beer is a check on the fact that being healthy and having a six pack (I mean abs) aren’t the same thing. I’ve done cold turkey for a two week cleanse, so I know how that bit goes as well.

    • February 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

      I started working out because I have the back of a 75 year old man and it was starting to interfere with every day life. I’ve found the more I push myself, the better it feels and if I stop too long it goes right back to sucksville. That’s the main benefit of working out. I don’t need a six pack, but it’d be nice as well!

      My experience has taught me that “everything in balance” is the way to go. I’m just recalibrating the scale and seeing how my body feels without beer for a bit.

      I like the idea of calculating the calories of beer into a meal. My problem is I have a beer or two and the next thing you know I’m elbow deep in a bag of chips. It’s the collateral calories that’ll kill ya!

      • Don
        February 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

        Jim, I know you love the chips, because I do too. What you might try is moving to popcorn. It is actually much better calorically if you don’t overload it with butter, and sometimes I will have a salad for dinner when I know I will be having popcorn and a beer later. Also you might just want to take up smoking. I hear the dietary benefits are pretty good… 😉

  4. February 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    They do kill you. Funny! I have back problems, too.

  5. Jeff Schwartz
    February 22, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    Sorry I have been so quiet as of late – been working like crazy and am way behind on email Jim – its funny – I have had the same conversation in my head regarding wanting (and liking) to drink vs needing to drink. And trust me – with two toddler girls running around the house it is a very fine line 🙂 I’ve reached the conclusion that I simply like it. It has its place in my life and would miss it around because i like it and not because I need it.
    Think my AA sponsor will buy that 🙂 ?

    • February 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

      That’s a pretty healthy way of looking at it. I always like to do a reality check once in a while, but then again, reality is grossly overrated.

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