Have you ever come home from a stressful day and said to yourself, “God, I need a beer!” I have said this to myself many times. But as my alcohol fast has progressed, I have come to realize a few things. First, is how frequently I feel this way.
Second, since I am choosing not to go down to my beer fridge to grab a cold one in response to this impulse, I am coming to realize just how often I would grab a beer (or two) as a way to help me cope with stress. While not inherently destructive, trying to find peace at the bottom of a glass is certainly not the most productive way to deal with stress either.
Without that beer at the ready I am having to face my stressors head on which I must confess is not much fun. But while having a couple of drinks would soothe away my worries for the evening, I would still have to deal with them the next day. I guess what I have really come to realize is that on occasion I was looking to booze to help meet emotional and spiritual needs. While beer is indeed a miraculous gift, any solace it brings is only temporary. So instead of coming home at the end of a hard day and saying “God, I need a beer!” perhaps what I should be saying is, “God, I need to spent some time getting quiet so I can put this stuff into some order” or even “God, I need a little God right now!”
Then, once I have taken some time to sort things through or to pray, then would be a good time to go down to the fridge and grab a tasty beer. Because once I have dealt with the anxiety or angst I might just find that I don’t need that beer anymore at all. Then I might find that I really only want one or two and not the four or five it might have otherwise taken to give me the relief I was actually seeking. Then I might be able to just enjoy that beer for the wonderful gift that it is instead of looking to it to give me peace.
Thanks for taking the time to share this journey with me. I will continue to keep you posted.
A note of disclaimer: This coming Saturday, March 2, is the annual Philly Craft Beer Fest at the Navy Yard. I will be there, in clerics and I will be drinking. But just so you know I will not be drinking on Sunday (my usual day off from my fast) in exchange for this indulgence. Just wanted you to know in case someone sees me there and wonders if I am trying to pull a fast one. Maybe I’ll see you there.