I’ve said it many times. As many times as I’ve started a new blog only to scrap it and start another one and scrap it again. But I’m going to say it one more time.

I’m going to stop drinking.

To be clear, I don’t think I have a problem. At least not yet. I don’t think I’m an alcoholic, although I think I was perilously close to becoming one when I was in college (I think one clear sign was the stack of Jack Daniel bottles that accumulated on the mantle of the house I lived in my junior year). But after three months in China, where every meal was accompanied by beer or wine, I think it’s time for me to take a hiatus. There was a time when I could not remember the last day I went the day without a drink. (Some might say this is a clear sign I have a problem — I did answer yes twice to the CAGE questionnaire).

I’m setting a modest goal for myself: Six months. Six months of abstinence. I’ll allow myself one exception: cooking with wine. You know, since I’m such an — cough, cough — accomplished, seasoned cook.

Above all, this is a challenge for myself. Four years ago, on a bet, I stopped eating red meat for two years. I didn’t think I could stop eating cheeseburgers and steaks but I found it pretty easy to order chicken and pork instead of beef. But I think this is going to be more difficult.

There will be plenty of temptations. Many of us live within the drinking culture — happy hours, tailgating parties, trivia nights, Friday nights, Tuesday nights, any night, etc, etc, etc. Drinking is celebrated in America (and in China and most anywhere in the world). When was the last time I went out with friends and we didn’t drink? I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Perhaps I’m in the right place right now — Salt Lake City, where they’ve imposed arcane rules on booze (OK, they’re not that arcane … I just like using the word arcane). Perhaps some of the, um, virtues of Mormonism will rub off on me — although this isn’t an invitation for any missionaries to knock on my door.

Right now, it’s Day 3 of my sobriety. I’m staying strong. All I have to do is avoid the four Coronas in the fridge.

Cheers.

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