Hello Saturday sunrise, nice to see you

I’ve definitely been giving myself some permission to eat “comfort” foods since I quit drinking. I crave sugar a bit more, sure, but last night I had deep-fried, mac-n-cheese balls(!) dipped in marinara sauce with a salad for dinner. Lunch today was chicken-fried tofu and a HUGE spoon (OK, ladle) of mac-n-cheese from Whole Foods (the bomb) and three big chocolate peanut butter malt balls.

Hell yes.

I have no intention of gaining weight (it will be salad for dinner), but the 1-2 bottles of wine a night that I haven’t been drinking gives me a teeny bit of leeway. For now.

Last night with my fried decadence I also drank a non-alcoholic beer. I know this is somewhat controversial — does it make us feel like we’re “deprived” to drink “near beer”? Does it cultivate the taste for the alcohol, keep it alive? Is it a cheat because part of our brain is still going through the motions of drinking a beer, even if it’s alcohol-free?

I’m not even much of a beer drinker, but I tell you what: It worked. I was having a big craving for wine and went to the dog-friendly pub with my pup, Bub, because he loves it there and I wanted to get out. I wasn’t worried I was going to order a wine for myself (which used to be my habit there), but the taste of beer sounded really good, even knowing I wouldn’t get a buzz. I asked if they carried non-alcoholic beer, and they did.

It was perfect. I drank one with my meal and was done.

I suppose I can hear the argument that this is risky, but I guess I’ll play that by ear. If I feel a stronger urge to drink real alcohol because of it, I guess I won’t do it again. But so far, it hasn’t happened. I’m a vegetarian and I eat Tofurkey all the time. Why? Because after a lifetime of eating meat (until about 8 years ago), when I’m really craving a yummy turkey sandwich (which still happens, despite my powerful aversion to eating animals), “deli style” tofurkey, on wheat, with lettuce, tomato and mayo totally hits the spot. It just does. And no harm done.

IMG_6307I’m a rower. I just learned last spring and I’m completely in love with it. I row in an 8-person boat two nights a week (or more), and Saturday mornings. Since I moved to the advanced crew team, the start time on Saturdays is more than an hour earlier than it was when I was just starting out: a perfectly humane 8:15.

Still, when I was drinking, getting up at 6:45 on a Saturday morning to go row — often in the dark, wet mornings of winter — was tough. And I admit, I’ve missed a few. I just couldn’t get there.

This morning was a glorious, beautiful morning. Yeah, it was 39 degrees, but the sky was clear, the sun was actually warm on my face, and the water was smooth as a plate of glass. The bridges across the lake were spectacular in silhouette against the pink sky and rising sun. I had to take off a layer because we were rowing harder and farther than we have in a while. There were moments when I was in awe of how beautiful the city was, climbing up the hillside, float planes taking off and arriving overhead. There were times as we were really cranking, full out and breathless, that I got goosebumps, so grateful to be there on the water. So grateful to be there feeling good and clear and strong because I didn’t drink last night.

And now, the entire day awaits. So much to do, including a long walk with my sweetest, most loyal love, Bub.

I won’t lie: It’s Saturday and I find my brain wandering occasionally to the idea of having a drink still. Even now.

But I’m holding out for the promised bliss to come (BRING ON THE BLISS!), and if moments like I had this morning on the lake come along a bit more often, it sure will make it easier.

Day 7. Rachel.