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“…and I was reading this article about how much alcohol affects our bodies, and I was just thinking it would be cool to take a month off, you know?” Eric said with a serious expression. He knew this was going to be a tough sell. The truth was, he didn’t really care about the physical effects of alcohol so much as we was worried about the mental ones. He was tired of feeling rundown for the first half of every week, and the documentary on addiction he had watched the night before had left him with an unsettled feeling. He knew he wasn’t, like, an actual alcoholic. But still, taking a month off would be a good way to prove to himself that he had no problem going without booze. Now he just had to convince his girlfriend to do a sober month with him.
Alyssa looked up from the bottle of wine and opener she held in her hands and slowly placed them back on the kitchen table. “Sooo…you’re saying you don’t want a glass of wine?” She had a teasing smile on her face, but beneath that he could see a subtle annoyance. She had been set on having several glasses of Pinot Grigio on this lazy Thursday night. She walked over and perched on the arm of the couch as she mulled over the idea.
“I mean, I see where you’re coming from, and I like the idea of being healthy, but I don’t know if this is the best time to do it.” She bit her lip thoughtfully and continued. “Like, don’t we have Jack’s birthday bar crawl next weekend? And then my old college roommate is coming to visit, and she’s freshly single so she’s going to want to go out. Maybe we celebrate sober February?”
“Fuck,” Eric thought. “I completely forgot about Jack’s birthday. That’s not something I want to be sober for. By that logic, though, there will always be a reason not to do this. Sober February does make more sense, but I know playoff football will make that impossible. What am I going to do, just watch the Super Bowl with a damn La Croix in my hand like someone’s 15-year-old little brother? No, it has to be now.”
He grabbed her around the waist and tugged her over onto his lap, kissing her cheek as she yelped playfully. Time to bring out the big guns. Surely he still remembered something from his time on his middle school debate team. “Jack’s birthday will definitely be tough, but I’m sure we can fake it with soda-waters with limes. And you definitely don’t have to do it with me, but I just thought it would be cool to do as a couple, to, like, hold each other accountable and stuff. Plus, the calories in booze is ridiculous so we could eat whatever we want and still be healthier.”
He saw the expression on Alyssa’s face change as he laid out his final point, and knew he had her convinced. The idea of being able to eat all the carb and fat-laden foods they wanted all month while still lowering their calorie count was too tasty a temptation to pass up. He already envisioned them slurping Pad Thai, munching hoagies, balancing pizza boxes on their thighs, just living their best lives for a month.
Now that he had a partner in sobriety, he would be unstoppable. It would be a hell of a lot easier to stay away from booze with Alyssa by his side. They could distract themselves with dates, fall activities, and relaxing nights in. Staying in and watching half a season of Big Mouth on a Saturday night was lame by himself, but with someone else there, the excitement of a night at the bar would hold no allure. Sure, being sober at Jack’s party would suck, but everyone else would get so hammered he could probably Irish exit before midnight and no one would even know. Hell, with the money they saved on alcohol, they could probably take a tropical vacation and show off their new fitness-model-like bodies.
Eric was jerked back to reality as Alyssa spoke excitedly. “You know what? You’re right. I’ve been wanting to do a cleanse for a while, and I think this is the month to do it. We shouldn’t just give up alcohol and get fat off food though, we should do a real diet for a month! A friend of mine told me about this one where you wean yourself off meat and carbs until you’re eating almost full veggie by the end. She said her sister did it for like, six weeks, and lost 25 pounds. Isn’t that crazy? We should do that and then be super fit!”
Eric stared at her with wide eyes, the enthusiastic nodding he had been doing at the beginning of her rant slowing with each passing sentence until his face, by no control of his brain, turned into a wincing grimace. He looked at his girlfriend’s enthusiastic expression and spoke slowly.
“Well, I don’t know if we should dive into such an intense diet. That might be hard to keep up, you know. Maybe just take a month off of drinking and then see if –“
Alyssa cut him off. “Aw, come on, babe. We can’t just not drink for a month and have nothing to show for it! We should really do this thing. We can be, like, fitness freaks for a month or two and then have six-packs by New Year’s!”
“A month or two?” Eric thought with panic. “Has she lost her damn mind? I just wanted to stop drinking so many beers, not make a full lifestyle adjustment. I gotta pull the ripcord on this before it gets out of control. Mission sobriety is a no-go.” Outwardly, he regained his composure and furrowed his brow as though he was thinking. His eyes widened dramatically as he looked up at his girlfriend and spoke. “Oh, shit. I just remembered. Jack told me he’s doing part of his party at a brewery, so we won’t even be able to fake not drinking. And you know what the guys will be like if they know we’re staying sober for the party. They’ll probably assume you’re pregnant, and no one wants that. Plus, your friend will probably hate you she comes to visit you and all you can eat or drink is veggies and water. Maybe we just try and take it easy this month, but hold off on the month off until January or February, like you said.”
Alyssa pouted as she responded. “Are you sure? I want to do this with you. I can tell Jack I’m sick during his party if that will help you not get made fun of?” Eric was shaking his head before she finished speaking. “No, babe. You’re right, this month is too tough. Let’s just do it after New Year’s.”
Alyssa leaned in for a kiss and then popped up and looked back at him with a sly expression. “Sooo… can I open that wine now?” Eric chuckled, relieved that he managed to finagle his way out of that conversation without being forced to diet. “Yeah… pour me a glass too.” .