Temperance Q4

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 1, Q4

Temperance: “Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”

Personal notes:

  • Limit alcohol;
  • Reduce sugar;
  • Improve meal intake

Saturday night was movie night. Normally I enjoy a bottle of red while sipping a movie. This time however, when I finished the first glass, I didn’t want another. This was strange and annoying. It was not my choice. My body hit the brakes with 70% of the movie and 80% of the bottle left. Annoyed I forced myself another glass. Movie night, time to enjoy some wine dammit. But the glass was bitter. So I watched the rest of the movie sipping water.

I know this sounds trivial, but when I started this project, there was no hitting the brakes until bedtime. I’d start a movie after 2 or 3 glasses of wine at dinner, finish the bottle watching the movie, and then move onto whiskey, having one or several glasses until I was deadened enough for bed. That was Friday and Saturday night. Never once did I stop at one glass.

If I think about what else stopped. Thursday night martinis stopped. As did Wednesday night Manhattans. One year ago I drank some form of hard liquor at least once a night Wednesday through Sunday. I almost never drink hard liquor anymore except on rare occasions, and on those occasions it usually leaves me sluggish the next day. We still have wine often, but in smaller portions. It is rare that I drown a bottle in one sitting; before, if it were open, it was gone.

This project brought notice. Stopping for odd intervals hammered home the difference between a normal week and a temperate week. My body noted the change and began to crave the weeks off, better rest and more enjoyable weekends. Not to mention the physical benefits of weight loss and decreased irritability (always important with a houseful of toddlers).

There are 13 weeks in the Bens13 challenge, for me, this week – Temperance – was one of the more important ones. It helped clarify how much I consumed and lit up what could have become a perilous path and for that, my family and I are grateful. If I tried to accomplish this over a short period of time, I would have failed. The habits of old were too strong. A year of reflection was just the right amount of time.

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Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 2, Q4

Silence: “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”

Personal notes:

  • If you have nothing nice to say…
  • We could all use a little more quiet in our lives.

Usually when I am the most offensive, it is out of speaking from turbulence. The storm inside has not settled. Positions harden and sparks fly, and a wrecked path is left in the wake. And at the end, in the center of it all, is a foolish me, wishing I had just been quiet.