Sunday, 8 June 2014

One Week of Sobriety: or How I Learned to Stop Being a Fatass

Anyone who knows me well knows I love my booze. It took a couple years for me to really grow to appreciate alcohol, but once I did I fucking loved it. My tolerance was high right out the gate too. I really gained my drinking legs when I was living in Scotland.  For those of you who have never experienced Scotland you truly cannot grasp the significance of that statement. Drinking is Scotland's national pastime.  Not only that but I lived in Glasgow specifically: the murder capital of Europe and a party town like none other.  I know of nowhere else (well, perhaps Cardiff) where vomiting in the streets and drinking tonic wine on a bus in broad daylight is a frequent sight. Friends and co-workers were impressed by my ability to drink them under the table.  I say all this only to give you a sense of how much I drink and how long I have been doing so.  I am 27-years-old.  I was 20 when I moved to Scotland and I lived there for over a year.

I have recently decided to cut booze out of my diet for a wide variety of reasons.  Perhaps the reason that has proven most motivating is the fact I recently weighed in at nearly thirty pounds more than when I was 19-years-old.  Some people say this is to be expected on account of one's metabolism slowing down as he or she ages. Some say I merely need to exercise more.  Some say I should love my body no matter what. I say, "bullshit!" Loving yourself and letting yourself go are not the same thing. You see, I eat better now and exercise more than I ever have in my life.  The only thing that has gotten worse as I've gotten older are my drinking habits.  I estimate conservatively that I consume roughly 5,000 calories a week in alcohol alone.  In addition to booze I consume a shameful amount of late night cheeseburgers and pizza while intoxicated.  The morning after most parties I like to nurse my hangover with biscuits and gravy.  As it turns out these dietary habits are hard on the body after nearly a decade.  It doesn't matter if you do 30 minutes of cardio and eat three balanced meals a day if you top it off with a dozen IPA's, a double cheeseburger, and fries. Not only do I become a dumpster when drunk but also an ash tray. On a particularly drunken night I will smoke an entire pack of cigarettes in a single evening. For those of you doing the math, my drinking is not a cheap fuckin' hobby.

The desires to lose weight, get in shape, quit smoking, and save money comprise my primary impetus for cutting out alcohol.  Initially I projected an 8-10 pound weight loss and a $300-400 savings over the course of a month.  It has been one week since I have quit drinking, quit smoking, quit eating fast food, and exercised more regularly.  At the present moment I am ten pounds lighter than I was one week ago and I have weighed in at thirteen pounds less than my heaviest weight in the past week.  I have been documenting this experience by journaling and taking daily pictures of my face and body. I have made several observations throughout the past week.  Some of them are rather common and some I have not heard from others.

On day one of not drinking there was little to report. All I can really say is that after a hard weekend of partying I was bloated, felt shitty, and realized I weighed more than I ever have in my entire life. Brunch with the folks and a meeting for a local film festival provided ample opportunity to indulge in free booze, cigarettes, and junk food but I refrained.. It was easy to pass up all the free shit being offered to me because I had a firm goal in mind. I also had an actual picture to accompany that goal. Upon waking up Sunday morning I took a shirtless picture of myself. Shortly thereafter I remember a series of risqué photos I had sent to a love interest back in my Scotland days. Being that we live in an age in which everything is catalogued, backed up, and saved to the cloud I was relatively certain a quick inbox search would locate those photos.  I was correct.  Upon seeing my 21-year-old self I was immediately filled with shame as well as a a renewed vigor to take control of my life and health.

The first several nights of sobriety were wracked with nightmares and tossing and turning.  I would wake up multiple times throughout the night with a vague sense of dread.  In the mornings, several hours before I needed to get up, I woke up panicked.  While this wasn't comfortable or pleasant I actually felt more well rested than I had in a very long time.  I would start each morning off by weighing myself, taking a picture, and having breakfast.  For the first few days my weight stayed pretty steady and actually went up slightly at one point.  I have read online that quitting drinking and smoking both can lead to temporary water retention.  I assume this can account for the temporary weight gain.  My day-to-day throughout the week was relatively normal.  While I have experienced unpleasant withdrawal symptoms in previous attempts to cut back (nausea, excessive sweating, persistent sense of dread, trembling, etc.) I did not notice anything particularly out of the ordinary.  The only thing I did notice is that I was thirsty as hell.  Normally I drink a lot of water naturally, so much so that the one and only drug test I've ever taken was almost failed because they thought I was trying to dilute the sample.  I wasn't trying to dilute the sample, I just drink a fuck ton of water.  That having been said, during my first week of sobriety I was drinking probably 3 times as much water as usual.  I am not entirely certain what accounts for the thirst as I have not found anything online about it.  At the present moment my thirst is back to normal.

Another observation I've made that I haven't found much online about is my increased libido.  While it is well known that alcohol affects ones inhibitions as well as his or her's ability to perform and reach orgasm, there is surprisingly little that I have found on how lack of alcohol affects libido on a daily basis.  I would say that normally I am a fairly horny person.  I am more sensual than most, however, I do not crave sex like a lot of people I know. While I certainly enjoy cumming, not doing so doesn't drive me mad like it does some.  During my week of sobriety, however, I have found myself in a fairly constant state of arousal. I'm not walking around with a constant rager or anything but altogether my body is more sensitive than usual and it has me a bit hot and bothered. So, ya know, if you're interested, ladies, gentlemen, I'm an equal opportunity sexployer.

Other observations I've made are much more common than the aforementioned thirst (both for water and ass).  Quitting smoking, for me personally, is easy as hell when the monkey on my back isn't wasted.  Similarly, saying no to highly processed, high carb, food wannabes is a piece of cake when I'm sober enough to remember that fast food is fucking gross and I am in fact one of the best cooks I know.  While sleeping has been a bit weird, I have had more energy and felt more awake in the past week than I have in the past year (or 7).  My skin is fuckin' soft, smooth as hell, and has a nice even color with virtually no blemishes.  In just one week my face is slimming down and my belly/love handles are starting to seem (or at least feel) less bloated.  Speaking of my belly, I have already experienced weight loss.  In fact I have experienced greater weight loss sooner than I could have possibly expected.  Before I mention the following weights, keep in mind I am quite short and have a very slender build.  My sixteen-year-old driver's license said that I weighed 115 pounds. At one point (the lowest point) in the past week I weighed in at 149 pounds.  I never would have thought that was even possible without me switching to steady diet of MacDough's.  Fortunately, however, the sun was behind the clouds because I weighed in at one point at 134.4 pounds. I shit you not. I weighed myself on multiple scales because I couldn't believe it. Now, that is not my current weight but for the past 4 days I have consistently stayed under 140.  As I am typing this I weigh 137.6 pounds.  I have exercised marginally more than usual on account of my increased energy but for the most part all I have done is cut out booze for a week and in so doing eliminated any and all late night cheeseburgers and phone calls to Dominhoes.

I have not gone longer than two weeks without a single drink since I was 19.  One week of sobriety is not monumental, however, it is important.  It is particularly important now because I have also managed to stay away from cigarettes and junk food during this period of time. Those of you who have ever attempted to quit something probably know how easy it is to fall back on nicotine and sugar to supplement the loss of the thing your body is fucking screaming out for.  Fortunately this bout of sobriety has been easier than any other.  I don't know if it's a resolve thing or if I have just managed to slowly taper off my booze consumption over the years.  All I do know is I feel fucking great.  I would also have a much a fatter wallet to accompany my great mood if I didn't decide to spoil myself for all my hard work. Initially I was going to buy a Wii U and Mario Kart 8 at the end of my first month of sobriety as a reward but then I got impatient.  I am choosing to believe having a Wii U and Mario Kart 8 will make staying in easier.  Thus far it seems to be working out.  I will keep you posted on how things are going.  I think a weekly blog isn't too much and could perhaps be enlightening.  I might do more if I feel I have something in particular to say. If you would like to see my pics I am posting them on Instagram.  I'm DarthMonkeyTart.  Feel free to comment below with anything you might have to say. I will ask that you try not be a prick. I know the anonymity of the internet makes some of you guys' balls swell and your egos flex but seriously, no one is impressed by your ability to be an insufferable douche. If you have made it this far, I sincerely thank you for reading as I blather on.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Veggie Taco Salad and Codcast

Two friends, Austin and Todd, get together for dinner and a podcast. On the menu tonight is a vegetarian taco salad, cod, and comics. Spoilers lie ahead for Iron Man 3, recent Bat family comics, recent Swamp Thing comics, and recent Animal Man comics.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Degenerate Art Ensemble

This is an incredible performance art collective known as Degenerate Art Ensemble.  They are based in Seattle, Washington.