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I used to drink a bottle of wine every night.
Of course, there were nights when I drank less, but there were also nights when I pounded five “Charlie pours” of Cabernet, five shots of Jamo, and five key bumps of cocaine.
I hated myself the next day. As soon as I was conscious around 11am, my first thought was resolute: I’m definitely not drinking tonight.
By 2pm I felt better, maybe even dragged myself outside for a jog on the Venice Beach boardwalk. By 3pm I considered myself a normally functioning citizen again. And by 4pm, I wavered.
Would it really be so bad to drink tonight? I won’t drink a lot. Only three glasses. That’s it.
And the cycle continued.
This was seven years ago. My cocaine and whiskey days are long gone and I rarely drink now, but I’ve replaced my vices with a big bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Jimmy Fallon Tonight Dough.
Recently, I woke up one morning and my first thought was, I’m definitely not eating ice cream tonight.
I’d eaten one too many scoops the night before. I didn’t mean to pile it so high, but once the ice cream was in my bowl it didn't stand a chance. Not even when the smooth, creamy texture melted into liquid. I still slurped up the very last drop.
But today was a new day. No ice cream for Charlie.
By 3pm thoughts drifted to my bowl of happiness at the end of the day. Remember how delicious it tastes? By 5pm I was on my hands and knees cleaning up food that Layla kept throwing off her tray, while George wailed and scratched my arms and then, with a mouth full of food, sneezed in my face. By 8pm I thought, Fuck this, and grabbed the pint out of the freezer drawer.
Obviously, a bowl of ice cream is better than three glasses of Tempranillo, but not much better when I consider how well I sleep.
With two small children and alignment with my life’s purpose to write and produce content, sleep has become a top priority while drinking alcohol has become much less appealing. An evening of drinking is always followed by a night of restless sleep. I lie on my right side, my left side, my back. Every position is just uncomfortable enough to make me feel like I’m never really sleeping. I’m too hot. I’m thirsty. I have to pee. And on and on until it’s 6am and I might as well make a pot of coffee. I used to believe alcohol helped me sleep, but really it just knocked me unconscious and effed my sleep quality.
When I crawl into bed after a night of drinking even two glasses of wine, I feel a tinge of depression knowing I’ve just messed with the chance of a good night’s sleep. But when I hop into bed sober, I feel a tinge of giddiness knowing even if I have trouble falling asleep, the sleep I do get will be quality sleep and I’ll feel better in the morning when I’m jolted awake at 6am with yells of “Papa! Mama!”
And yet, my Oura ring tells me each morning that I need to “pay attention” to my Recovery Index. “Pay attention” is code for “You suck at this.” Oura then reminds me that “Alcohol can keep your heart rate elevated throughout the night,” and I’m like, Bitch, I didn’t drink alcohol, and Oura is like, Dumbass, you ate ice cream at 9pm.
So don’t eat ice cream before bed. But if you’re eating ice cream as a replacement for alcohol, good job. And also, if anyone has tips for how to kick my ice cream habit, please don’t bother because I’m not ready to let it go.
Until next week,