Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year: 2012

So, here are my resolutions:

1) Continue not drinking for the whole year! This is a no-brainer. Think of the money I'll save!

2) Write at least 500 words, 5 days a week. I feel like this will be the first resolution to fall, but since I succeeded at nanowrimo this year, it's worth a shot.

3) Hit the gym 3-5 days a week except for scheduled recovery breaks (and be active at those times, too). By December 2012 (when the world ends, I guess) I hope to be a fitter version of me.

4) Eat out or order in only once a month. Again, fitter version of me. If I simply MUST be classified as obese on the standard BMI thingy, then let it be because I am a bodybuilder, not a heart-attack waiting to happen. Seriously. By my calculations, I've ordered food in about 50-60 times in 2011, and who knows how often I ate out. Not cool.

Not specifically a resolution, but I would like to continue being interested and engaged with the world, and to increase my involvement with social justice issues a little bit more. We live in interesting times, after all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh, Canada.

This is just not a good news week for me, at least insofar as my feelings about my country's governance is concerned. But then again, I probably should have expected it after the Conservatives won a majority in the last federal election. In brief:

  • The Long Gun registry: is being cut, despite every single reliable voice saying that it reduces crimes and helps law enforcement. What's worse is the government is also destroying all of the information gained during its run, ruining any other governmental body's chances of setting up their own registry. One of the things I hate the most about our current leadership is its dogged devotion to ideology in spite of actual data and facts.
  • Canada's dropped out of Kyoto. Which, I mean, we were failing at it anyway, but again: global warming is real, Canada is a major contributor, and we're all gonna be screwed if we don't smarten up. The justification is jobs and the economy, but really? Really? Ugh. Reality doesn't care about our personal values, and so long as we keep this up, things are gonna get pretty shitty.
  • Face-coverings are now banned during the oath-taking ceremony, ostensibly to prevent terrorists from sneaking into our country during the final, mostly-for-show moments of a lengthy and complex immigration process by putting on a burqa and swearing allegiance to the Queen, possibly disposing of a perfectly legal Muslim woman in the broom closet after he's stolen her clothes. I mean, the issues surrounding face coverings are complex, and definitely need to be addressed, but this change isn't about defeating sexism, it's about making it clear that "Canada is for (our kind of) Canadians only! Act like (a certain portion of) us or go back where you came from!"
I'm kind of feeling a teensy bit powerless right now, and am trying to find ways to scrounge up some optimism. I mean, Canada is a great country still, right? How many years until the next election? Ugh.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


So, in addition to Nanowrimo and getting my butt back into the gym, the other big thing in my life is that I've quit drinking.

I've always been a heavy drinker. I've been told that I have alcoholism in my family history, though both of my parents are responsible drinkers (my dad barely drinks at all, because he gets blinding headaches if he has more than one beer or glass of wine), and I grew up in Nova Scotia, which is a known bastion of the late-night party, and I've got a few other traits here and there that put me squarely in the right demographic to abuse alcohol and potentially other substances.

I quit drinking once before, in my twenties, for just shy of a year, before starting up again. For a while I moderated my drinking, and I don't think I've ever gotten as bad as I was in my early twenties, but realistically, I've been drinking unhealthy amounts of alcohol for years, and sooner or later it will be a factor in my physical health.

Addiction is a very strange thing. Nothing else demonstrates to me just how "biological" the mind actually is. I can write that I'm a heavy drinker, but there's a huge part of me that believes that I wasn't really that much of a drinker at all. Even though I'm off the charts for consumption of alcohol - every source, every table or graph, every questionnaire says that I drink much, much more than average - I still feel like it isn't really that much. If I have to think of it in terms of data and numbers, I tell myself that I'm an outlier. I mean, I'm 6' and 260lbs, so that means I can drink more with less effect, so who cares if I'm way, way beyond the weekly recommended limit after one night? That's just metabolism!

I've lied to my doctor about the amount I drink. I've lied to family, and to strangers. Not huge lies, and my drinking hasn't gotten to the point where other people feel the need to question me about my habits, but still, why the lies?

If I could somehow arrange to live my entire life being plastered or getting plastered and everything else took care of itself, I would seriously consider it. Drinking isn't for being social, or for savouring or for whatever else people use booze for, it's for getting drunk. One drink? What's the point? Right?

But the fact is that alcohol has already hurt my life. When I think about the money alone...I mean, how many thousands of dollars have I spent on booze? The answer: a lot. How many brain cells? My family is long-lived, and I could, theoretically, live until my 90s or 100s, but what if I have a stroke when I'm 50? That's a lot of time to spend, possibly needing care because of something that was preventable. How many relationships have I damaged because I said something stupid, or skipped an important appointment because I was hungover? The costs are too high.

Originally, the plan was to stop drinking for 3 months, but the longer I'm sober, the more I realize that this needs to be a more permanent thing. I have countless experiences to show that I can't trust myself to stop at one beer. I've been sober now for 2 months and 3 days, and some days are easy, some are difficult, but if I'm going to feel like I've achieved something in my life, I've got to do this.