Confession: I originally labeled this entry “Week Five.” Nope, it’s but week four. With about two and a half weeks, or 19 days (or 456 hours — not that I’m counting) left in the NOLA.Com #AlcoholFreeFor40 Challenge, I’m going to admit it’s starting to feel a little tedious. The first three weeks were pretty easy, but the past few days I’ve caught myself thinking, “Well, I could just have one beer,” or “Perhaps I’ll take a break on St. Patrick’s Day,” and “Maybe I will have just a little bit of champagne during the Downton Abbey finale.” That’s the thing about challenges, I suppose: The longer they last, the more challenging it becomes to get to the finish line. This my friends, is the part of the #AlchoholFreeFor40 Challenge where we separate the women from the little boys! It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Or, to quote Winston S. Churchill, a quick-witted tippler of distinction, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Clearly he also did a Lenten, alcohol-free challenge.
Of course I kid about it being hell, but I do think this last few weeks will be the toughest and will require more mental discipline than the days leading up to it. It would be easy at this point to pat myself on the back for a well-done four weeks of stellar abstaining and kick back with an ice-cold Abita Amber. To savor that light, sweet, smooth flavor as I close my eyes and smile from the inside out and … wait, what was I saying? Oh yes, discipline. It’s time for discipline.
On Sunday, it took much discipline as Mark and I set out on a walk to get a St. Patrick’s Day flag for our porch at Brad & Dellwen Flag Party store on Magazine Street. The weather was a gorgeous 70-degrees, sunny and breezy. It was what can only be described as the perfect day for sitting on a patio sipping beer with friends. As we descended the stairs of our building I looked at Mark and said, “I would be lying if I didn’t admit I’d really love to have a beer today.” Mark laughed and suggested a stop at Bulldog Tavern to put them to the non-alcoholic beer test. Would they have it in stock?
Much to my delight, the Bulldog had one six pack of Buckler left in its back storeroom. It seems my fellow Lenten abstainers had the same idea on Saturday, which also was a gorgeous day. The bartender iced it up and offered me a soda to sip while I waited for the beer to cool down. After enjoying our first one at the bar, I got one to go (Mark got an Abita Andygator), and we headed to the flag store. The fake beer curbed my craving and was the perfect paring for our Sunday stroll. Later, when I had a craving for cheese fries, we stopped at Down the Hatch. Unfortunately, they don’t carry non-alcoholic beers, but the fries were hot and cheesy, so I couldn’t complain too much.
This week marks St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans with the Irish Channel parade on March 12. We have family visiting from Kentucky and will play host from Thursday through Tuesday of the following week. My resolve is as strong as ever. The plan is to pick up a few of Guiness’ Kaliber non-alcoholic brews (because, Irish beer) at the store, pack them up in a small cooler and get my Irish on. Cheers to Week Five and the hope that I’ll fare better than the famous Irish writer Oscar Wilde who said, “I can resist everything except temptation.”