The Piano Has Been Drinking*

So too has the blogger.

And, boy, has my body decided it’s had enough.

I became social again last year, which effectively doubled the amount I’d been drinking. It became far too regular, and had it not been for the drinking, I’d probably have lost more weight instead of just having maintained my numbers for a year now.

The drinking escalated last fall. More this spring. A good three or four nights a week would be 2-3 drinks, maybe more often than that if it was a busy period.

Just how often became a significant realization this week.

Now and then, too, I’ve had phases of a week or so when I have neck or back pain from too hard of working out, and have to take one or two painkillers a day for a few days in a row — the heavier Naproxen type. I honestly don’t like taking these pills, so I tend to use them very sparingly, but the price of ignoring escalating pain means I either start getting bad spasms or migraines, so taking pills is an evil but infrequent necessity.

But here’s the deal. I’ve always had a tough tummy, so when the doc says, “Oh, take these with food to prevent upset tummy,” but I never get the sick stomach, why worry about taking it with food?

Because apparently it turns out that the food prevents bad shit from happening to your stomach lining.

GOOD TO KNOW. DULY NOTED.

Yesterday, the doctor told me I’ve got gastritis. This, apparently, is why I vomited under a bridge after work on Friday, after a coffee sent me to hell and back — just the latest in unpleasant tummy-type developments in my recent past.

I’ve been putting all the information together since I got home last night, getting all Gregory House on my health’s downward trajectory.

Alcohol helps wear down the stomach lining so it’s more susceptible to things like gastritis and ulcers. So do painkillers like the ones I’ve been prescribed.

Best I can figure is, I had an unholy perfect stomach storm kick off when I decided to work at home, with a very bad set-up, upon the Olympics rolling into town. I was getting migraines daily, but it wasn’t until a week or so past their onset that I realized it was because my desk was too high. So, I’d been medicating with the pain pills, often on an empty stomach.

Then, the Olympics kicked off. You know, the “drunkest Olympics ever”, as dubbed by international press? Not many Vancouverites made it through the Games without a bender or two.

Normally, I drink wine. Beer’s not something my stomach enjoys in large doses, but when it’s sports and pubs? I’m a beer girl. I was a beer girl for the whole Games. A cheap-beer beer-girl. Oh, lawdy.

After a week of having to take two painkillers a day.

Well. Lawdy!

Let’s just say I’ve had a hell of a time for the last couple weeks, I thought I was getting an ulcer.

It’s part bad habit, part dumb luck.

But it’s all a fantastic lesson.

I’m tired of the booze. I went more than a year drinking once a week or so, maybe even once every two weeks. It makes me sluggish, cuts my effectiveness, makes me gain weight, maybe even depresses me.

I just happen to like it, too, is all.

Wine, oh! I mean, the non-alcoholic stuff has nothing on “real” wine. I’m a foodie, I love to cook, and I love a great wine that complements my efforts. I see no shame in enjoying the wine once or twice a week. That’s fine.

The frequency I’ve been drinking at is by no means “acoholic” status or anything like that, but it’s too fucking frequent for me. My body just does NOT like it. That’s the point. I don’t give a shit if it’s socially acceptable or not.

I’ve worked too hard to get too far on my health journey to fuck it up over some drinks. I’m angry, very angry, that I’ve felt as lousy as I have for the last two to three weeks.

That anger’s getting channelled, though. I’ve been eating fantastically — I’m doing really well for diet and nutrition, even portions. While I am indeed angry I’ve let my health go this far — regardless of the whole “once a lifetime” Olympicky business — I am absolutely ecstatic that I’ve re-found my commitment and desire to get on path.

Feeling like I have for the last month, it’s a goddamned crime after I’ve lost 70 pounds. But my body couldn’t handle the booze and greasy pub food overload that came with the Epic Olympicky Games In My City experience. My body got used to me shunning processed food and always getting back on a healthy path within a few days of neglect, not after a month, like it has been.

The funny thing is, I used to live with a pretty alcoholic intake — drinking a bottle of wine a night, eating absolutely shit food every fucking day, three meals a day, hitting likely 3,500-4,000 calories a day — for about two years around ’99 to 2001. Never did I even need a Tums.

I guess it’s a testament to how healthy I was actually eating in the last couple years, then, that my body’s rebelled so harshly.

I’m oddly proud of that.

So, whatever. I’ve felt like shit. That corner’s turning. I’m glad that obstacle has come. I’m glad I remember what it’s like to be so tired and lethargic all the time, to feel like I’m getting absolutely no nutrition, to loathe the fog that comes from almost-daily drinking for a couple weeks.

I’m glad. I can use this. I can feed of it and become better. THAT’S how I choose to respond.

I might be young at heart, but my body’s 36. It’s important I act like it, and I’m grateful for such powerful motivation.

I’m also grateful for really powerful antacids.

*Fantastic drunken Tom Waits number.

**I am not giving up coffee. I am not giving up coffee. I am not giving up coffee. I am not giving up…