Archive for March 7th, 2007

Coffee Beans

I stopped drinking coffee for a few weeks for religious reasons.  I have given up other things before, and I have always found that, in this world of instant gratification and endless options, what ever indulgence you sacrifice at the alter of lent, you will inevitably replace with an alternative.  For instance, I’ve given up soft drinks before.  I drank sweet tea for two months.  I like sweet tea.  I just prefer coke and doctor pepper most of the time.   But it wasn’t a life changing sacrifice.  When it comes down to it – it is hard to make it about God and not just about self control and substitutes and guilt.  I don’t have an answer for this.  All I know is that it makes me happy to give something up, and it makes me unhappy when I don’t.  I guess I’ve just accepted the fact that giving up something for lent isn’t a cure all of everything else in my spiritual life, and that I just have to take it for what it is.  An experience and a learning process – an exercise.  Because maybe one day there will be something I truly need to give up, for my health or the health of those around me, or some unforeseen event to come.  And God will have already given me a personal experience from which to work.      

If you don’t drink – the rest of this is going to sound ridiculous and I apologize.  I’ve given up alcohol before, a few years back.  And let me just say that there is never a good time to give up alcohol in these parts, mostly because there aren’t a lot of acceptable alternatives.  People want to share a glass of wine, invite you over to drink a beer and wax philosophically while watching basketball.  And if Easter doesn’t happen before the Masters, it is tough to turn down a lemonade and vodka.  But even with the lack of alternatives to alcohol, you realize that there are few situations that are that difficult to adjust to not drinking.  The only situation that I couldn’t handle  was being at a bar past midnight.  Everyone started getting on my nerves.  REAL BAD.  But the best part is that you are completely sober and can get into your car and go home. 

Pretty soon you start to notice that the events you might be missing out of – like staying at the bar late – are events that will happen again and again and again.  Another observation I have on the whole situation is that when you I am in a social event like a bar full of friends or a cocktail party – somewhere that a lot is going on and a glass of wine would be customary – even when I’m not drinking I get peppy and talkative and feel a little tipsy just from the music and the people, once I get past the first half hour of figuring out what to do with my hands.   And it is so fun to wake up in the morning refreshed.  But you do miss out of waxing philosophically over basketball games and wine.

Plus you have to be VERY CAREFUL when you start drinking again after Easter.  Because, well, you just can’t drink like you used to.  Remember how in the movies the drug addicts end up ODing when they get their first hit after rehab?  Right.  That is you.  Start slow.   

But I can say with all honestly that I miss my coffee.  I’ve been drinking chai tea – with soy milk and brown sugar and it is definitely yummy.  But I wandered down the coffee aisle in the grocery store the other day and almost blacked out from the smell.  I wanted to lay on the grocery store floor and inhale deeply.  I also wanted to eat a handful of coffee beans whole.  I’m like the alcoholic who drinks rubbing alcohol.  I still want to eat a coffee bean whole, truthfully. 

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