Deciding to be the Decider: Much Ado About Decisions

No, it don't.

No, it don't.

My 30 day experiment is quite over – What do I do now?

In this post I’ll answer one small part of that question: What do I do about my drinking now?

Here are my options:

  • Lay down an ultimatum – I will never drink again.
  • Pros: Being the decider.
    Cons: Being like “the decider” – a man who’s lack of doubt led him to be the worst president ever. (Here is a great article by Bob Woodard about Dubya’s decision to start a war)

  • Do it one day at a time – In true 12 step fashion, I will declare, as often as necessary, that, just for today, I am not going to pick up a drink.
  • Pros: Making a bite-sized decision that is doable and not overwhelming.
    Cons: Having to make that decision every day, perhaps many times a day.

  • Do it one month at a time – Yea! The title of this blog will once again make sense!
  • Pros: Not having to make a decision for another month.
    Cons: Having to go through this hand-wringing shit again in 30 days.

  • Make an arbitrary compromise – I will drink only on holidays. I will drink only once a month. I will only have 2-3 drinks each time I drink.
  • Pros: The ability to drink while still feeling like I have made a healthy decision.
    Cons: The nagging feeling that I’ve copped out.

  • Drink tonight – Fuck restraint. Woohoo!
  • Pros: Sweet intoxication, a feeling of belonging
    Cons: Guilt and the possibility of an unproductive life with a tendency to downward spiraling and wreckage.

  • Don’t decide – If I don’t commit, I can’t fail!
  • Pros: It is really easy.
    Cons: Beer might decide for me.

When a decision is not a decision.

As I lay out the possibilities, I am reminded of a flash of insight that I had one day about decisions. Making a decision isn’t like making an incision. Unless it is a present moment type decision, like, “I am going to jump off this diving board,” or “I will have pepperoni with that,” you don’t just decide and forget about it – you keep making that decision until it is done. Each decision that doesn’t result in an immediate action, requires other decisions. Your earlier self is the one who said, “I am going to stop drinking for 30 days,” but the you that lives right now must decide whether it is going to honor the decision of the earlier you. That is a decision in itself. So, for every big decision there is the follow-up decision: “Do I honor my previous decision or not?” If you make a decision about your lifestyle, you have to decide again and again to follow through and make it happen.

So, even though I was prepared to choose none of the above, I am going to bite the bullet. My decision is…(Drumroll please)

I’m not going to drink today, and I am going to try and make that same decision every day.

Great.

I feel better.

What now? (rimshot)

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