Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vice Versus Om

Over the last several months, alcohol consumption gradually became a nightly thing for me rather than a few-times-weekly-if-at-all thing. Every night I was so frustrated by what had happened during the day that the mental and emotional smear resulting from a glass of wine or a bottle of Leinenkugel became something of a crutch. I never went beyond two drinks in an evening, and didn't frequently go beyond one. (It also helped me get over my fear of the empty page so I could ease into nightly writing.)

This worried me, as I watched it happening. I knew that I wasn't exactly in wino territory (and that it might be a little absurd to worry about one drink per evening), but growing dependent on that mild smear was troubling, nevertheless. When things changed again a few weeks ago, I stopped drinking altogether - didn't have the time - and I was glad to find that the crutch wasn't actually a dependency.

What I did do a few weeks ago was smoke a single clove cigarette. I had had a few left in a pack that I kept in my glove compartment "for emergencies" for the five years that I haven't been a smoker, and one night when I really desperately wanted one, I smoked one. I wrote a very good essay about it and quashed my guilt as best I could. Matt and a friend have insisted that it's all right for me to let loose some stress by smoking once in a very great while, and I'm choosing to believe them. Unfortunately, clove cigarettes were outlawed during the five years I wasn't smoking them, and now you can't get them in this country. You can get clove cigarillos, which I'm guessing are virtually the same product, and yesterday I went to a tobacco shop in downtown Annapolis and bought a pack. (Of 12. For $8. Gaaaah.)

Last night there was a yoga class I had planned to attend, but all I could think about as I was leaving work was the pack of cigarillos in my purse and the lone Leinie's in my fridge at home. That was what I wanted to do with my evening. I'm 90% over the cold that's been dogging me for over a week, and I wanted to smoke a clove on the way home and then make dinner and drink a beer and get going again on the Greenland book. I didn't want to go to yoga and purify; I wanted to consume chemicals and toxify.

I went to yoga. Despite traffic, despite hunger, despite the crowded room, I went back to the mat. I knew it was the right thing to do.

It was a good class. I really like this teacher. He's not obsessed with strength, he has a good presence and a good voice, and his adjustments are great. I might have even gotten a story idea out of class; time and drafting will tell.

This evening, though, nothing is going to keep me from my vices. I really want to know what these cigarillos are like, and that one beer in the fridge has to be lonely. I'll happily end its suffering.

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