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    What's working to help you get and stay motivated?

    Horselover on Running/Exercise/MM

    message: I have written a few times here about how I started to run a few months ago at the age of 61. Two rules: Start easy and be happy with anything that moves my body.

    I listen to books on tape or music, depending on my mood, and I count my steps, keeping track of the 100's on my fingers. Sounds crazy but it works for me. Run 100, then I get to walk 50. Move up slowly, and BE HAPPY that I got my butt out there. I play all kinds of tricks on myself: "Just put your running pants and shoes on, you don't even have to walk out the door." "Oh well, shoes are on just step outside and walk to the end of the block." "Well, silly girl, you walked to the end of the block, surely you can run to the end of the next block." And so on. Funny thing is, I fall for these same tricks over and over. Now I am up to 4 miles.

    And here's the deal. I tried to run before and thought I would build slowly, but in reality, I was always pushing so hard and had my eye on a prize too far, so I would give up. Now, I just keep my eyes on the next 100 steps. Yes, in the back of my mind I am thrilled that I can run 4 miles, but I never focused on that. Now I know I can do 4 miles, I am realizing that I can do 5, but will work at it at my own pace. Sometimes I push myself and sometimes I don't. I'm the boss of me.

    And hills! My knees will no longer let me run downhill, so I have to do this goofy looking low slung fast walk, but I do run uphill. I take little mincing steps, but they are running. And I wear a hat and keep my head down. If I look up at the top of the hill, I know I might give up, so I just look at the ground and push 10 more steps, then 10 more. At first I could only make it 1/4 of the way up one hill. Now I make it to the top of both hills.

    So I kind of look at running the way I see AA vs. MM. I wanted to stop drinking so much, but AA just did not make seem that it would work for me. If I see a hill so big and know that I will have to stop to rest or walk part way, and that means failure, then I'm not going to attempt it. With MM, I can run as far as I can, then rest or walk a little. And I have learned to push myself beyond my comfort level, which has increased my strength. But on some days when I am just not up for it, I give myself permission to walk or rest a little, knowing that I can push tomorrow.

    As a side note I was telling my adult daughter how much I like to run along a certain path I have laid out for myself because it is all a little different: some along the beach, then by the bird refuge, around the cemetery, then the bike path, then another beach and in front of the hotel, etc. I told her I hate to run this one long thing along the beach because it is so boring and it makes me crazy to see how far I still have to go. She was astounded because she loves to run one straight line along the beach because she can see how far she has to go and how far she has come. Go figure! We all have our little mind games, so whatever works for you is the way to go.

    Sorry for the long rant. I am really, really happy with the progress I have made. As Mike said, don't measure yourself against the guy next to you, or the guy you were 30 years ago, or the guy you think you should be. Measure yourself against the guy you want to be today.

    Be well!

    Horse Lover


      Erik on drinking & brain chemistry

      I am 100% absolutely convinced that "drinking issues" are in fact "brain chemistry / self-medication issues". If you solve the underlying "brain chemistry / self-medication issue", the "drinking issue" vanishes on its own.

      I've had this discussion with counselors / therapists / AA people and some of those groups overlap and have gotten nowhere. And there's a good reason for that. Alcohol muddies and confuses your mind. You cannot do the hard work involved in solving brain chemistry issues if your brain is clouded by alcohol.

      So I had to stop drinking -- to clear my mind -- to be able to solve my underlying brain chemistry issues -- to solve my drinking issues.

      And 30 days isn't really enough. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of doing a "30". Or several 30's. But it took me more like 120 days to get far enough away from alcohol to get to the bottom of my brain chemistry imbalance. This is delicate work full of very small changes. It's very hard to see them when you are always whacking yourself upside the head with the 2x4 of alcohol.



        Erik on Karma, nominated by Bee

        Yup. Been there. It's really unfortunate.

        I used to "try to make things right" too. But some things can't be undone.
        And those harmed by a WTF don't give a rat's ass where you are coming from.
        They don't want to be around you.

        What I came to was karma.

        Karma is not fate, for humans act with free will creating their own destiny.
        According to the Vedas, if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if we sow
        evil, we will reap evil. Karma refers to the totality of our actions and
        their concomitant reactions in this and previous lives, all of which
        determines our future. The conquest of karma lies in intelligent action and
        dispassionate response.

        So, being an engineer, I interpret karma with a spreadsheet. (Mostly
        kidding). My interpretation is that if goodness begets goodness and evil
        begets evil, there is a balance being established. So I established a
        "karmic bank account" in my imaginary spreadsheet. All of my WTF's and
        other bad behavior went in to the "debit" column, and my good deeds are
        going into the "deposit" column. I'm happy to report that I'm close to
        being even ;-)

        The good deeds can be many and varied. I forgive people their trespasses
        against me more easily. I don't expose anyone to WTFs. I'm honest with
        people but also know that discretion is the better part of valor and you
        don't have to tell every (*&^%$#@!) that they are an (*&^%$#@!) . Sometimes
        you can just smile and walk on by.

        And if I can walk on by current (*&^%$#@!s) , I realize that those who
        consider me to be an (*&^%$#@!) may choose to walk on by me. It hurts, but
        I understand. I concentrate on maximizing the entries "deposit" column and
        minimizing the entries in the "debit" column. That's about all I can do.



          Bill on Pain Reflection

          I remembered that I had posted earlier this year about the pain I caused others while drinking. I don't think it necessarily "compares" to your situation - I certainly haven't had the intensity of feelings or been close to any dramatic effect such as you suggest. But I CAN identify with the pain I caused myself and others. It is an important milestone to recognize these issues and to talk about them. I am so glad you shared the pain with us in chat last night! And I think you will be well served to find a good therapist to share your feelings more deeply.

          I will also say that with the accomplishment of abstaining these past almost 90 days has come a deep sense of peace and fulfillment. I know my past is littered with lots of problems that I have caused or made worse by my habits. Yet my action is showing my loved ones that I can be a different person and that they can have faith in my future. The best is yet to come and I am finally out from under the burden holding me back from my full potential.

          I've pasted my "pain reflection" at the bottom of this note. If it helps in some small way, I will be happy for your benefit. I also recognize that there may not be the solid supporter in your life similar to mine and person I responded to. My apologies if that causes you trouble. Regardless, I am so excited to see what the future holds for you and the relationship and impact you will have with this community.

          The "pain reflection"

          I have been known to choose times when my loved ones were out of the house to get a "head start" on drinking. I told myself it would be easier and reduce conflict if I didn't involve my wife and family in my decisions. I wanted to have a drink and didn't need anyone telling me why I shouldn't or asking me how many I had already had. Then when my DW came home, I would tell her what she wanted to hear. This was my first or second and since I was holding it together pretty well, the conflict would pass as my "norm".

          I would keep drinking and to a certain point, my DW would keep tabs on me and then she would let me finish the course to passing out on the couch or in the chair or at the table or wherever it was that I was consuming that last drink that put me over the edge. What's most interesting to me is that I really thought of this as my "happy place" - in fact it was a place of retreat and a place that allowed me to escape whatever reality I faced at the time. In most cases it left my DW with the burden of explaining my behavior to my children or making excuses for my actions to family or friends.

          The night I decided to make some changes was the night my wife downloaded a book about dealing with a "functional alcoholic". She desperately wanted to deal with all the emotions and issues I created for her. She wanted to heal from the times I had damaged our relationship... the emotional bank account was broke as I had made one too many withdrawals.

          I so relate to your DH's response and unconditional support during the aftermath of you evening. My DW was always loving and has been steadfast in her support of our marriage. For the life of me, I can't understand why, but I am eternally grateful. Someone mentioned that you were loved because you are lovable. In my case, I think my DW had faith that someday, somehow my behavior would change and that she wanted to be there to support me when I decided to make that change. While she has been skeptical of my progress (rightly so), she has always offered the affirmation I need.

          Someone once told me that Love is an action and in our cases, I think our spouses' love is that action of support to help us change. I feel lucky to have that in my corner and know you do too. Now that I have successfully abstained for this long, I feel a deep desire to return that support and active love to my DW. My daily actions are motivated by this. The consequences for me are greater knowing I am rebuilding after the damage I caused. These feelings are what get me through my journey.

          I cannot presume to know your particular feelings or situation. My hope is that by sharing these reflections, perhaps they help us all to appreciate the impact those closest to us really have.

          Blessings abound,


            Mike on "Friend Alcohol"

            I had to walk out on her. Don't get me wrong. She had many good qualities, or so I thought. When I was with her, I felt stronger, smarter, better looking, more self-assured. She lit a passion in me. I missed her when I was at work, and I couldn't wait to get home to her. I would spend all weekend with her. She was great.

            But she also wore me out. And sometimes instead of feeling smarter, she just confused me. She was jealous of my other friends, and my relationship with my family suffered because of her. She often seemed to do her best to try to get me in trouble. She would make a fool of me, and I would just try to laugh it off. She literally made me sick. Despite all this, I obsessed about her. For years, I obsessed.

            Finally, I could no longer ignore how much she was hurting me. I couldn't take it, and I left. I still think about her all the time. It's only been four days since she was such a huge part of my life; of course, I think of her. But I know being without her is better.

            Maybe we can be friends someday, but I can't let her run my life anymore. I won't let her do it. Not today - Day 5.

            My program is mine and mine alone. I own it like my clothes. And like my clothes, they're not for everyone. My program may not fit you. The colors or fabrics I choose may not be your cup of tea. But I need to feel comfortable in what I'm wearing just as you do.

            In my brief experience with MM, I'm glad that nobody hands you a uniform and says "Here, put these on. Everyone in this group wears this." I was in a group like that years before. I did it half-heatedly for a time because it seemed to be the only way. Today I know it isn't, and this excites me.

            So pick out your own outfit. MM is a big store with plenty of outfits and lots of helpful "salespeople" who don't work on commission. They just want to be able to say like that Billy Crystal character from SNL of old "You look marvelous!"

            So whatever your program, if it works for you then it works. If it isn't working, keep on browsing. It's in here somewhere.

            Working on my new wardrobe,
            Mike D.


              Horselover on Musings about Getting Started

              Well, from my moniker and from a few previous posts, you guys probably know that I love horses. I ride English and have jumped some. I didn't start riding until my mid 50's so you know for sure I am and always will be just a rank amateur, but it has been one of the best and most empowering things I have ever done. So, having said all that, please forgive me in advance for using riding and jumping as a metaphor.

              I have read every post the past couple of months and have spent a lot of time thinking about my approach to a healthier approach to drinking, including abs'ing and mods'ing. I know there are (at least) two trains of thought about starting with a 30, which I did not do and have not yet done.

              (When I write "you" in this, please know that I mean "one" or "me. I am only sharing my idea, and this is not meant in any way to say that another way is not good or worthwhile. These are just thoughts that are helping me and I thought I would share them.)

              In the horse jumping world there is a term called "overfacing" which usually applies to horses, but can also be applied to a rider. It is when you present a too large jump to a horse too early in their schooling. If you push them hard, they may make the jump and actually make it a few times, but not with confidence. As time goes on the horse begins to stop at jumps, or run at them too quickly or trip get the idea. Even with new and different training, the overfaced horse may never fully recover from this early fear of failure to become the splendid jumper he might have been. Overfacing a horse is the quickest way to shred confidence. That is what doing a 30 would have been for me.

              But what is the difference between overfacing and challenging? It's a judgement call, and is different for every horse and every rider. According to good trainers, the key is preparation and keeping it simple. Here is what Melanie Smith Taylor (Olympian rider) says:

              “So many people worry about approaching a jump and finding a distance,” she said. “That makes you tight and tense, and it just paralyzes you. You’ve got to build up that confidence so you can trust yourself. You can’t force yourself to relax; you have to come to that confidence through basic exercises. You have to make the easy things difficult.” Such as cantering ground rails off the turn and adding and subtracting strides.
              “You can get all the technical skills you need over rails on the ground. George [Morris] could teach a lesson over one cross rail to Olympic riders. If you make simple exercises difficult, then the difficult exercise—the reality of the show ring—is easy.”

              So, make the simple exercise difficult. Abstain for one day. Fairly simple. But what if you make it difficult? Read Responsible Drinking? Mind Over Mood? Do the written exercises? Meditate? Think about your triggers? Write them down? Sit and feel what you feel instead of filling your time to make it pass? Do that over and over and over until you get it down pretty good. Then add a few more ground poles (abs days), throw in some extra strides (mods days), come off the rail to a quick turn (mods during a time when that is difficult).

              But we know we can't just do groundwork forever. We have to keep challenging ourselves. What is the line between overface and challenge? Here is what one trainer says:
              “As a trainer I have to challenge a horse for it to learn, grow and succeed, just like I do with students. All the questions we ask, all the situations we put horses and riders into, should be confidence building. If the question is too big, too intimidating and the horse/rider fails in a way that gets them hurt or scared, you've over-faced them. So as a trainer you have to make sure the question you ask is answerable based on the horse/rider's education and background. You have to take the risk to improve, but at the same time you have to be confident that you've prepared and taught that horse/rider enough that they can answer the question correctly. I firmly believe that if you've given a horse all the tools to figure out the question they won't be over faced. You might not get exactly the answer you were looking for or expecting, but you keep educating and working, and eventually you get the right answer. ...Each moment is a training opportunity, whether it is seized or squandered.”

              Wow! I can read those two paragraphs over and over and apply the words to my learning to moderate my drinking. With the help of MM I am learning to ask myself the right questions and I am trying to seize every moment, even (especially?) my slips.

              Over the past couple of months, I have slowly built up my confidence in a way that I never dreamed possible. I am pretty sure that if I had started with a 30 I would not have made it and that would have set my confidence level and training way back. If I had made it, I know myself and would probably have just (unintentionally) slopped back into my old ways. (Overfaced). I am new to MM (only a couple of months) and I started with baby steps, but I now usually abs 4 days per week (sometimes only 3) and am learning to moderate (my nemesis). But I do think that as I read, do the hard work, ask the right questions at the right time, my confidence will grow and I will learn to trust myself, and then I can make those bigger fences on a regular basis.

              Horse Lover


                colparker on Jekyll and Hyde, nominated by Bee

                This is just my personal opinion so take it for what it's worth or discard at will.
                Both Jekyll and Hyde make up the whole. Part of what makes things difficult for
                me and used to propel me towards drinking is being unable to accept that there
                is any part of me that is a bit shady. Jung called it the shadow and stated,

                Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole,
                less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries
                a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life,
                the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always
                has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with
                other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications.
                But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.

                Part of what really changed for me was to see the complete blackheart side of me. When I really came to terms with the fact that the things I did while drinking were ostensibly due to being intoxicated ultimately they came from me. When I realized this I was utterly repulsed. But by the realization that there was a shadow it gave me the ability to face it and change. It isn't pleasant to see that darkness. But if we don't look, see and acknowledge we can't change.

                What I find interesting is our desire to see it as dual. Anyway your post got me to thinking and that is what I pondered.



                  Gloria on Courage, nominated by Kurt

                  Here is my little spiel about courage today, because of hearing a bird singing that made me aware of the danger of doing something beautiful. I heard a bird singing today, it wasn't a song I hear very often, and it's my guess he is a migrating bird moving south. Right now I am noticing the birds are moving, and the purple martins have already left the area I live in.

                  I noticed the bird sang such a pretty song, and at the risk of his position being found by some predator. I was glad he risked it, because the song he sang brought a gift to the world around him and comfort to me. Anyway, it made me aware that our lives are like that, and moving from our comfort zones into new habits are risky and we may be found out by our fears. But I think risk sometimes is what is required to live a life more beautiful and one where we can share our gifts, whatever they may be, with others.

                  I just wanted to share that with all of you, I hope you are finding songs to sing today, whether it be of change, of joy, peace, or of just trying to take the next step to a healthier and more enriched life. The risk is worth it.



                    Horse Lover on "The Buffet Line"

                    I am often struck by the diversity of intriguing threads on this
                    list...offered, of course, by each and every one of you. We have heartfelt
                    longing, buckets of gratitude, wise advice, colorful dreams, clever tricks
                    & tips, and witty repartee.

                    There is also the occasional misunderstanding or chagrin or mea culpa. And
                    sometimes we put something out there and....there it goes and...where did
                    it go...? Anybody out there? Somebody? Anybody?

                    I have decided that what is offered on this list is like a huge, beautiful,
                    bountiful buffet with dishes from all parts of the world, all different
                    courses in the meal, all different ingredients. And the thing is, we all
                    like and want and need different dishes at different times.

                    Here is my analogy (you guys know how I love those, don't you? ;-)

                    My mom and my stepfather are from two completely different worlds. My mom
                    is a coal miner's daughter, grew up dirt poor in WV. My stepfather grew up
                    wealthy in Malibu and Montecito, CA (though the money is mostly gone now).
                    So when we go to a big fancy buffet, my mom looks for the foie gras or the
                    truffles. She sits down and looks at dad's plate and he's got jello salad.
                    Really? Jello? She always rolls her eyes and says, "With all the amazing
                    food here, you chose jello salad?" He always answers that he loves jello
                    salad. He grew up largely by himself because his siblings were much older
                    and he is just a naturally introverted guy. On Saturday mornings he would
                    play by himself with his Lincoln Logs and wait for Harriet, the maid, to
                    call him for lunch. And while he was playing he knew she was making him
                    jello salad because that's what she did every Saturday. And so he loves it
                    because it feeds a part of his soul. My mom loves foie gras and oysters
                    because she dreamed of living a better life than a coal camp.

                    We put our dishes out there as offerings to one another and to ourselves.
                    And you never know who's going to want what. Really. Even jello salad.

                    Horse Lover


                      Best Intentions on accidental by-the-book (BTB) abstinence, nominated by Just Plain Phil

                      I earlier posted about going BTB accidentally! I began abstaining, and day by day deciding what to do with myself. And before I knew it I have settled into an - even conservative - BTB pattern. In the past 27 days I have had moderate drinking instances on only 9 of those days, and never more than two days in a row, and the numbers are going down every week.

                      After the first 10-12 days of radical physical adjustment (felt like hell), I emerged Phoenix-like... I was once extremely athletic, lapsing in recent years into to simply, "decent shape for a layperson." When I got my strength back after the initial hypoglycemic, confused-body meltdown of the first days, I suddenly could not stop myself from physical activity - not just going to the gym, but PLAYING! Tennis, driving range, going to the boxing gym with my teenage nephew. When I am liberated from being a wino I turn into Wonder Woman apparently. Same
                      with my mental sharpness and work creativity.

                      why would you tie a horse's feet together to trip it constantly? Or pepper spray a gifted musician before a concert she has practiced years for? I feel like this is what I have done to myself with drinking for most of my adult life.

                      I do not know what caused the very intentional decision I made to stop - stop this self endangerment - 27 days ago. Nothing at all out of the ordinary happened other than I recognized how much I was pulling myself down on the whole.

                      I am both giddy, and unsettled - because Rome wasn't built in a day. I want to feel this good forever but my past performance would make me a bad bet. Yes this time feels different, and it is indeed unprecedented - the next step is morphing in ways to prevent me from taking backward steps. Is it possible that AGE AND MATURITY can make one better over time? At least incrementally?

                      Right now my plan is to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make my world safe for me. I have a wonderful doc, and Naltrexone in the medicine cabinet and I am not afraid to use it. I have been stalked and suppressed and sabotaged by a MONSTER for 25 years (I am now 45) and positive thinking
                      alone is not going to kill it. I am declaring war on excess drinking. The clarity and release from a physiological prison has awakened a protective instinct inside me and I am sick of letting myself be made to feel like a loser. Not when there are tools and weapons available to
                      make this habit, and this chemical, f*ck off.

                      That just poured out of me without warning! But it's all true.

                      A peaceful night to you all, you wonderful, intelligent, lifesaving friends.


                        A_Jay's motivations

                        Let's try this again...

                        * I want to show myself that I am strong enough to ride the urges and not give in to cravings.
                        * I want to put healthy substances into my body so that I can nurture and care for it.
                        * I want peace and relaxation to come from something other than alcohol. (Looking into starting yoga!)
                        * I want to be more alive and present for myself and others.
                        * I want to put my money toward things other than alcohol.
                        * I want my time back that I would spend toward drinking and use it toward more positive self-care.
                        * I want to learn about myself and my mental health -- why I am tempted to drink -- and get in deeper touch with my mental well being, moving toward healing rather than numbing out.

                        Ahhhh... that sounds way better!

                        Here I am, a couple of days into Day 10, doing better than I was yesterday and feeling great about it. I just got back from getting a pedicure, and now I am drinking iced tea (white tea with lavender made from loose leaf tea).


                          Bruce on "Looking Forward to Going Home" nominated by Astrid
                          One thing being abstinent is reminding me of is that I like going home at the end of the work day just because it is HOME. When I’m having a stressful day at work, I find myself looking ahead to finally walking in through the door of my house at the end of the day. Sure, there’ll be a fire to be made in my woodstove, there will be hungry cats and a hungry child to feed. But I’ll be HOME. Tasks will be done on my time. I can change out of my work clothes, and put on my comfy clothes. My slippers. I may then enjoy a San Pellegrino or ginger ale or seltzer and lime or a NA beer or even a cup of decaf as I make supper, depending on how I feel: no matter, it’s comforting to drink for the sensation of drinking alone. After dinner I’ll be able to fully unwind: maybe in front of the TV, maybe playing a game with my son, maybe listening to music, maybe with the latest book I’m reading. I can go to bed early and listen to a podcast, or get caught up on Facebook or the MM forum or watch funny YouTube videos on my tablet. I get to do all these things every day after work, and it’s something I look forward to. It’s something I’ve looked forward to for most of my life: going home after the work is over, whether that work was being a student or having a job. Snacks. TV. Good food. Hanging with family. Just hanging out in my bedroom. I’m thankful that rediscovering abstinence (for we were all abstinent before we weren’t) has let me rediscover this experience, an experience that had been hijacked by looking forward to having a drink. And then another, and another until there was only numbness at the expense of the richness and joy of simply being HOME.


                            Astrid on motivation:

                            So I jumped into doing a 30 because that is what I felt I needed right at the moment. It isn't my first, so I have gone through the steps at one point, but it has been years, so thought I'd go back and pick up the first four steps that precede the 30.

                            I'd already been keeping track of my drinks for years (step 1), am familiar with the limits of moderating (step 2), and recently retook the self-test (step 3). I fall into that category: 'we don't know if you will be successful or not at moderating'. Sigh.

                            So..I decided that I'd better make my list of problems drinking has caused me and benefits that I expect from moderating. It helps for me to post these publicly, so here it is. I'm sure there are many more things I could add to the lists, but these are the prominent ones:

                            Problems Drinking Has Caused
                            (some of these way in the past, but I think it is good to remember them as well)

                            Missing work.
                            Going to work and being unproductive.
                            Being in a fowl mood because of a hangover.
                            Not exercising because of a hangover.
                            Getting belligerent when drunk and fighting with (yelling at) my husband.
                            Not being able to drive because drinking too much.
                            Being embarrassed because my kid knows I drank too much.
                            Being constantly dehydrated.
                            Not sleeping well.
                            Not eating well.
                            Booze breath.
                            Falling while walking (once this was with my $1000 camera).
                            Being embarrassed because friends who don't drink very much saw me over drink.
                            Being embarrassed because I wanted another drink while at work-related meeting.
                            Wasting whole days due to hangover.
                            Being embarrassed by the volume of glass recycling I have...99% alcohol related.
                            Spending too much money while drunk.
                            Inviting strangers to the house because I wanted to continue the party.
                            Throwing up.
                            Puffy eyes and face.
                            Not remembering parts of a conversation.
                            Not remembering a movie I watched.
                            Smoking (I gave up smoking about 25 years ago, but at times while drunk, decided that was a great idea!)
                            Losing things (I once left my glasses in a cab...why I took them off is beyond me).
                            Putting general health at risk due to volume of alcohol: liver, cancer risk, etc.

                            Benefits of moderation

                            Can drink like a civilized human.
                            Costs less.
                            Will feel better in the morning.
                            Not missing work because of a hangover.
                            Being more productive when I do go to work.
                            Better family interactions.
                            More exercise.
                            More productivity at home.
                            Save money.
                            No more falling.
                            No more embarrassment surrounding drinking.
                            Can still enjoy the buzz of drinking without going too far.
                            Can enjoy the true health benefits of moderate drinking like cardio health.
                            Can reduce stress with moderate drinking without over drinking.
                            No throwing up (unless I have the flu).
                            Stay more hydrated, which is better for health and the way I look.
                            Won't have to pee all the time. Especially in the middle of the night.
                            Being truly engaged in what I am doing.
                            Doing things other than drinking.
                            Abstaining when I plan to and enjoying it.
                            No puffy eyes (at least not from drinking...allergies are still an issue).
                            Less risk to health, liver, cancer, etc.
                            Perhaps make new friends who drink normally.
                            Being able to step up to be the designated driver.
                            Setting an example for my son.