Every year I give up some pleasure or another in order to observe the season of Lent. (Lent is a liturgical season which lasts 40 days during which many Christians chose to give up something pleasurable or destructive as a spiritual discipline) Often it has been something like deep fried food. Last year I added beer which is certainly my drink of choice, but did not extend the fast to include all alcohol. This year I am going the distance. Starting today (Ash Wednesday) its no booze till Easter. For the record I should note that I will get to drink on Sundays because they are not part of Lent.
Now some of you, who go through whole weeks in which you might have one or two drinks total, may be thinking what’s the big deal? Others, who consume considerably more, might think I am crazy. Certain beer retailers in the area may be starting to worry about their cash flow. Still others, who know their Bible, might be wondering if I am acting like those religious leaders that Jesus condemned in Matthew 6:1 when he said, “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them.”
So here’s my logic, both for the undertaking itself and for making it public. I have chosen to give up alcohol for several reasons. First, is that over the years I have found myself drinking more on a regular basis. While I do not believe that I have a problem with drinking (insert your claims of denial here), I do realize that I sometimes use it to help cope with stress and anxiety and so I am interested to find out just how much I may have come to rely on it to cope with the pressures of life.
Second, I look forward to finding other productive ways to relax and to use my time. Finally, the fact that I have avoided taking this step in past years makes it clear to me that I need to bite the bullet and close up the beer fridge in my basement. As a bonus, I am also hoping that this fast will lead to some weight loss since apparently and lamentably, beer has calories.
As to why I am sharing this experience with you, well, since I want to learn and grow from this fast, I want to make sure I am really reflective and conscious of the experience of going booze free. The best way I can think of to accomplish this goal is to make sure I write about it regularly. I may not share everything I write, but I plan to share what this is like with you several times during the next six weeks. In addition, it may be that what I have to share may be of help to someone else, especially those who also might be wondering about the role that alcohol plays in their own life.
In the meantime, I invite your thoughts and comments, your encouragement and your prayers or positive thoughts. Here’s to the next 45 days.