OLIVIA What’s a drunken man like, fool?
CLOWN Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman: one draught above heat makes him a fool, the second mads him, and a third drowns him.
Twelfth Night (1.5.127-30)

Shakespeare knew all too well a man’s love of his beer. In Shakespeare’s day there was Ale (beer made with a top fermenting yeast).  Everyone including the Queen herself drank the brew made from malt. There was a mini brewery in every house. Shakespeare’s father was an official ale taster in Stratford.  This was an important job which involved monitoring ingredients and taste by companies or professional brewers that serviced pubs and ale houses. Regular old beer eventually became more popular that ale, but it would take more than a century for plain old beer to overtake it.

I am on Day 8 of Optifast. It started out kind of slow and I had a headache for much of the day. I never have headaches so I was kind of surprised. I drank lots of water as the Optifast book tells you — close to 80 ounces — but I could not shake it.  I had some coffee thinking it may be a caffeine headache but it still did not go away.

By the late afternoon, my kids had some playdates over, and my wife was entertaining some close friends.  Out came the chips, the salsa, the guacamole, the popcorn and the beer.  Yes, the beer.  I must tell you that I do not miss the food. In fact, I welcome the break from the hassle.  It is a hassle to do all the work associated with eating. Right now, I go to the refrigerator and I pick out a lovely Vanilla or Chocolate shake.  I have some 5 calorie NO SUGAR and NO FAT Jello in there for emergencies.  I have quite a collection of gum.  I love Club Soda — so I have a bunch of that as well.  But right now it is so easy not to think about food.

But there they were drinking beer! Beer is different. It was the water of my fat self. It has been 8 days since I have seen one. Eight days since I smelled beer. A long time in my life. I see the bottles being cracked open with the opener. I see them being poured into those long neck glasses that I bought when we were on vacation in San Francisco. The bubbles and the foam. And finally there it was — the smell in my nose – BEER!

My head swirled and my headache pounded me.  I heard voices but I was not sure if they were directed at me or not. I could not take my eyes off the beer.  Eight days ago, I would have started right now and it would have continued until I put the kids to bed.  I would drink at least 4 beers a night — 6 if it was a long night. Seldom did a day go by that I did not drink a beer.  This was my life just a few days ago.  My head again pounded.  I staggered to the back to my bed.

I laid on my bed and discussed with myself how bored I was.  I mean this is going to be 16 weeks of fasting and maybe 16 more of re-feeding. What a term. How much longer must I be separated from my beer!  This is just so unfair.  And why does my damn head hurt so much?

In my dream I was on a ship. The ship carried me past so many incredible islands. These are what I think the islands of Hawaii look like. The islands that I will visit with my family in April on Spring Break.  I felt the hot sun on my back and the breezes flowing over me.  I was talking to the captain of the ship. I was telling him how I had lost 100 pounds just to come to Hawaii with my family.  He was pointing and telling me things but I could not hear him. I realized my headache was gone. We flowed past islands grand waterfalls.  If you looked closely the waterfalls were flowing Optifast — Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry. It was an incredible sight to my eyes. Finally, I heard the captain say we were close to our destination. We passed one last waterfall.  It was flowing fast and as the water hit the ocean it foamed and bubbled.  It was a waterfall of — BEER!  It was so beautiful and incredible at the same time.  I wanted to find out how to get there.

I awoke in my bed with a start. It was a dream. I must have lost my mind. My head it was much better. In fact, I felt great. Like I had been on a great trip and had sat in the sun. I got up and put on some shoes. I could still hear the women talking. I knew the beer was flowing.  I walked out of the house and down the driveway. I took what could have been the longest walk of my life. I just needed to get away. I needed time to think.

You know each and every beer I put into myself was about 200 calories. I must have gained so much of my weight from beer.  The acid reflux I used to have at night had to have come from all that beer. While it is something that I really liked the taste of, I realized on that walk that I had lived for 8 days without it, and that I was going to live many more without it.  Do I need it?  Can I do this and give up the beer?

As I walked I realized that this was not just now or for the next 16 weeks.  There will not be any more beer for me. I know, I know, I can have one every now and then once this is over. But do I really want to do that? No. I realized I need to let beer go.  I gave it to the universe. I released it from my heart, my mind which I now believed was pounding for it, and my soul. I release you beer.  You are free to go. I no longer need you. I not longer want you.  I want my new body. I want my new life.

It was there on the streets of Charlotte that I gave beer up forever. I no longer feel like – O Beer, how I miss thee. Shakespeare knew all those years ago — I was like a drowned man, a fool,  a madman. I will no longer be a drunken man.

O Beer, now I release thee…!

  1. Ha! I hear ya! 😀

    I gave up all booze a year before I started my diet. Monday was 2 years without a beer or any other tasty cocktail.

    Just as hunger passes so to will that thirst for beer.

    I may be taking things too far. No booze, diet and now I gave up coffee for lent. I’m definitely having a withdrawal headache as I type.

  2. Juju says:

    This is big, and maybe the key to your new self. You are brave and I am proud of you!

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