I am going to seriously minimize my contact with a bad friend this year. His name is “Alcohol”, but he also goes by Cabernet, Zinfandel, or Syrah. When I first met this friend, I thought it was a good match. He always made me feel happy, and magically helped me get through stressful social situations. He even made my long hard day feel better when we sat down on the couch together in the evening. Then, I started to realize, although this friend seems like a good one, he really isn’t. He brings along way too much baggage.
The first thing I noticed was that this friend is too demanding. He wanted to hang out every single night. It used to seem nice spending relaxing time together, but now I am starting to notice him worming his way into way too many parts of my life. I don’t like friends who try to own me, and that’s what it feels like. Every night he calls. Every social situation he wants to show up. Every dinner he expects to be invited. He even tried to convince me I wouldn’t be able to have a pleasant relaxing evening without him! Then he told me I wouldn’t be able to have a fun evening without him! This is too high maintenance!
Then I noticed him waking me up at night! What kind of a friend does that? First, we sit on the couch in the evening and relax, then bam! He wakes me up at 2 am, and wants me to stay awake every night. I don’t have time for this. I have a job to do, a farm to run, and people in my life who I love. I can’t be walking around like a sleep-deprived grump. It gets in the way of my life. Not only that, I just don’t feel good if I’m not sleeping well, and I think lack of sleep is unhealthy.
I have a huge commitment to my health. I write notes to you about your health, and provide fresh veggies to keep my community healthy! I eat healthy foods (even if it cost more). I work out every day. I am very careful about the personal care products I put on my body. I am very careful about the cleaning products we use in our home. It is because I want to be healthy. With this much of a commitment to good health, why would I compromise it with this bad friend, who is high maintenance and keeps me awake at night? Oh, and he also screws up my workouts!
So, I took the bull by the horns and kicked him out of my life. It took about a week to get used to not having him around, but once I got used to it, I noticed how much better I felt. I was sleeping through the night. I was up and at the gym early in the morning and feeling strong. Even my achy knees felt better. The strangest thing was that my brain felt clearer, and I didn’t even know it was foggy!
Some of what prompted me to kick out this friend was a 30 day no alcohol challenge that Ben Greenfield did with his friend Jason Sissel. Jason had blood work done and then embarked on a 30 day alcohol fast. He didn’t change his diet or anything else in his life during the 30 days. Then he redid his blood work. The results were sobering.
AST liver enzymes dropped from 24 to 18.
71% drop in triglycerides. (386 down to 113)
50% increase in TSH (thyroid) hormone
80% increase in vitamin D
Significant improvement in most lipid biomarkers
Hemoglobin A1C dropped from 5.7 to 5.4
Lost 8.8 pounds
Alcohol really isn’t a very good friend. It comes on sweetly, then insidiously worms its way into too many parts of your life, including your health.
Good bye, bad friend! I have no room in my healthy life for you.