04.07.13

Scar Tssue

I started Scar Tissue last weekend. After a few days of reading about the prodigious drug-taking behaviour of Mr A. Kiedis – first spliff at 12; cocaine at 14 (via a needle, no less!); heroin, ah, I lost track; alcohol was merely a minor interest – and we hadn’t even gotten to the music yet! – I was exhausted!

I only mention this because the thought struck me this morning that my self-imposed non-alcohol periods seem to coincide with reading or viewing which features the extremes in human behaviour and, specifically, the consumption of intoxicating substances.

And I’m feeling the weekend nudging me a little in the side. Time to remind myself: I’ll be good. I’ll be very, very, good. My hair is straight, not curly, therefore I don’t have a curl right in the middle of my forehead. Therefore, I think I’m safe. (Do these self-pep talks work, generally, I wonder…?)

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Listening: Interlude With Ludes by Them Crooked Vultures

02.07.13

empty glass

I’m doing July sans alcool in support of the Hub who is doing the same and aiming to raise money for a cancer charity or hospital or somesuch.

The thing about the Dry July arrangement is that donors can buy a dry participant a ‘Golden Ticket’ which allows them a day off. So say someone who is a weekend-only drinker gets three or four golden tickets, it means he can use a ticket a week or thereabouts during July. The result of which is that it’s hardly doing the month dry at all.

Or am I missing something here? I guess it only really makes a huge difference to the DJ participant’s lifestyle and habits if he is a daily or almost-daily drinker. I know the point is raising money – worthy! no argument there -, but as someone who has recently done three dry months with no get-outs, golden or otherwise, I can’t help but feel it’s a bit like cheating.

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Listening: Green by Regular John

31.03.13

breakfast

You’d be rejoicing in slices of white nectarine and kibble mix for breakfast, too, if you’d had the evening I did yesterday.

Last night: a party on board a boat docked in Cockle Bay Wharf with a group of 55 to 60+ year olds plus my cousin-in-law (“Cuz”) and myself. He’d been invited by the boat’s owners, whom he’d met via another boat-owning couple. “Come along!” he’d suggested, and so I did.

I don’t quite know what I’d expected, but for some reason I’d thought everyone would be around ‘our’ age so it was a bit of surprise to be amongst the mature and/or semi-retired/retiree set. They were fun, though, I mean, they were really enjoying themselves – music pumping (I think it was WSFM), flowing Champagne (although not for yours truly), a seemingly non-stop abundance of food.

I couldn’t help but note that except for the age group, it was exactly like a gathering with my own friends. At the start of the evening, the men were at one end of the boat, and the women gathered at the other. As the night progressed, the groups started to mix around a bit more, with all the man/woman talk mostly out of the way.

And just like a party of my peers, there was the usual one or two who’d had a bit more than they should’ve. “I used to throw up, but now it just doesn’t go down and I can’t sleep all night,” one of the ladies said, “The reflux…!” “Oh, it’s so uncomfortable!” another exclaimed in agreement. And as for yet another woman, one minute she was fine, but the next time I looked over, she was swaying, slurring and sobbing into her glass. I swear, I might’ve shuddered a little but it gave me pause for thought: I hope I’m not like that when I get to that age.

I know, who am I to judge? I’ve had my share of alcohol/substance-influenced misadventures, screw-ups and tears before midnight. I’m just saying, it’s really rather awesome to feel in control. I also love the fact that getting a little bit messy is no longer an inevitability, and certainly, nor is The Morning After.

The hangovers – I’m not missing them at all. I’d be tucking into a big greasy fry-up and then going back to horizontal, and feeling really sorry for myself, rather than what I just had now. Fruit, nuts and seeds and, dare I say it, an insane urge to shout “WOOOHOOO!!” at no one in particular.

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Listening: U2 ~ I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

27.03.13

reading and sipping

Some evenings, all you want to do is get home and veg out with some reading and a cuppa.

I missed all of the 29C Indian summer day today.

What’s new? (Jilll Stark’s book is excellent, by the way; I can relate to almost everything I’ve read so far. And I’m 80% certain I’m going to extend the non-drinking for at least another three months.)

 

26.03.13

vibrant

I don’t think I can do it. I don’t think I can go back to the booze (last day of abstention being 31 March now looming). I’m not ready. Not just yet.

If you could get into my head, you might begin to understand.

It feels too amazing right now. Things are sharper and brighter, and I do realise how strange that sounds, trust me. But they are.

I love waking up clear-headed on the weekend. I wake early all the time now. I do stuff. I walk, I run. Or I might do nothing much at all. But all of that is better than waking up with a sore head and pretending I’m fine (“I’m not hungover, just a bit dusty…”) when what I really feel is miserable, rotten, regretful, sorry for myself or all of the above.

Now, if I could just re-programme my brain so that I don’t get annoyed by the small things.

16.03.13

vino?

Here’s the thing. I’m a couple of weeks or so to the end of the month… And I’m getting nervous.
Shouldn’t I be jubilant about making it to the end of the quarter? Or excited about the prospect of being able to imbibe once again? The money, the bet, the $500 – shouldn’t I be rejoicing about that at least?

All I can think about is the fact that I won’t have the excuse to politely decline that glass any more. And how comforting it has been to be safely wrapped up in the blanket of abstention. Oh, it’s been liberating to be cloaked in that reason/excuse. (Yes, I know it’s odd.)

… As I said, my imminent return to the Drinksville is making me nervous. Wait a minute, don’t people “have a drink” to relax themselves sometimes? Oh dear.

23.02.13

double Dom

News! The bet. The abstention. The self-imposed three month dry spell.

My colleague/bet-partner fell off the wagon this week! The admission came mid-week, mid-morning. Ah, he must’ve spent the first few hours of Wednesday morning deciding whether or not to tell me. Of maybe he was just busy. But confess he did.

“How did it taste?” was my first question.

“Bloody fantastic,” was the unequivocal reply. A wide grin to punctuate.

Ahh.

I’m still dry, in case you were wondering. I don’t get to keep the 500 unless I get to the end of March. So, I have about five weeks and a day to go. Not that I’m counting.

On 1 April or thereafter, I’m going to crack open one of these babies. Since Wednesday, I’ve been eyeing them up somewhat more enthusiastically every time I open the fridge, but that’s all. My eyes have been thirsty.

04.02.13

peachy!

Yesterday I attended a birthday lunch which extended to drinks through to about 8pm. Long lunch, right? Trust me, it did feel like a very long day by the end. You may recall that I’ve gone booze-free for three months; it’s been just over a month now.

I adore my friends, honestly, but after several hours of the wine-and-dine (with emphasis on the former), I honestly couldn’t wait to get out of there! Rambling circular conversations, wandering hands, even tears – just a few things I saw and heard yesterday with my clear, sober eyes and ears.

I found myself reflecting on my own experience with alcohol over the years, and I couldn’t deny the fact that I’ve done tonnes of stupid things when under the influence – as recently as last year. CRINGE. I want to crawl under a rock right now. Seriously. Mortified.

Thankfully, besides the realisation and regret, I’m also now feeling relief and liberation. I no longer get to Friday and feel like “I just need a drink!” in order to make my day/week better. (I didn’t normally drink on ‘school nights’, i.e. Monday-Thursday.) You might be familiar with that feeling: you just don’t feel like things are right until you have a glass of something in your hand. Shackled.

A friend mentioned yesterday that the two others in his household went alcohol-free for two weeks in January but he said it was a tense and fraught fortnight because his housemates didn’t quite know what to do with themselves without their usual props; he is a non-drinker, too. I’d actually suggested that these friends try to stay dry for a month, but apparently it was too much. However, that’s that, none of my business.

What is/was my business was the fact that my drinking M.O. was that of classic binge-drinker. Sure, I was being good during the week, but there were many Friday and Saturday nights of sozzled debauchery, and isn’t bingeing worse than a regular but controlled/low intake? I don’t know when exactly I decided I had to play so hard (although I think it happened in London), and it’s taken me a while to realise that I don’t need to keep doing that. I mean, when you go to work on Monday feeling either exhausted from your crazy weekend or feeling like the next four days are a blessed relief, then you know you need to calm the fuck down.

And what about all the dozens of bad or foolish decisions made whilst on the sauce? I won’t even go into details – no, I won’t share even one example! -because I’m still embarrassed. I may never get over the shame.

So right now, just over a month into my ‘Booze-Free for Three (Months)’ exercise, I’m feeling really good. Clear-headed. Steady. Kind of powerful. (Is that strange?)

Because:

No more drunk-texting. If I’ve sent you any emails or SMSes on a Friday or Saturday night recently you can be sure I knew exactly what I was doing… and better still, that I didn’t regret it the next day! No more crying into my drink(s) because… oh, I can’t even remember why I was feeling so emotional in the first place – sob! But I am, I just am! No more staggering home at 3am and trying to avoid making eye contact with the concierge because you know you look like you just fell into a barrel of cider and couldn’t get out for five hours. Yes, that is a big alcohol stain down the front of your favourite animal print dress. Rarr! And best of all, no more feeling dusty, rusty or musty – whichever flavour of hangover you choose – any more! So much time not spent languishing in that bed of rotten regret until mid-afternoon. (I could keep going, but I won’t, don’t fret!)

If you’ve been out with me recently and you think I’m now a boring so-and-so who’s gone over to the dark side, then I’ll simply have to agree with you. I’m not being righteous about it,  you don’t need to give it a try unless you want to. I’m just saying that I’m into it (like bees are into honey), it’s working, and I’m going to keep going until 1 April. And what’s more I may even carry on after the deadline if I feel so inclined.

So there! Things are super peachy on that front, in case you were wondering… I promise I’ll try not to mention it again until next month.

21.01.13

stay on trackI won’t lie, I very nearly came unstuck yesterday afternoon. The Hub had opened a bottle of something red from Italy and it smelt simply wondrous. Mind you, I’m not normally a red wine drinker, but I really wanted some at that moment. I didn’t, though, I’m relieved to say, but I was still thinking about it this morning (and now! — because I’ve just had dinner) which just goes to show the funny stuff that goes on in one’s head in prohibition-style circumstances. But for now, I remain on track.

19.01.13

hold up!

I’ve observed that some people are unnecessarily offended when someone (OK, it was me) says, “I’ll have a mineral water.” It’s as though they feel that my choice not to have A Drink, is me saying, “I don’t like you.” Huh? How odd that my choice of non-alcoholic beverage is interpreted as being all about you, not me.

There have been moments when I’ve been tempted to mess with those minds and say, “Yes, it’s true. I’m not drinking alcohol because I think you’re a nitwit.”

Mainly it’s about not being a team player. “Do you think we should hire him? Do you think we could work with him? Do you think he’s a good guy? Is he someone you’d have a beer with?

“She’s not drinking…” someone mutters, rolling his eyes, as if to say, “She’s not one of us.”

C’mon, it’s not like I said, “I’m not drinking which means you can’t either,” but seriously, going by some responses, you’d think I had indeed imposed just such a rule. Puh-leeze!

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Listening to: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ The Social Network soundtrack. (I’ve been obsessed with this album of late.)

12.01.13

RakeIt’s Saturday night. And I’m at home alone… not drinking. Watching Rake, which is possibly one of the dumber choices a person who is abstaining could make. The main protagonist drinks, snorts, fucks like there’s no tomorrow. After watching two episodes earlier, I found myself rationalising: “We agreed no alcohol until 1 April, but we never said any other substances. Maybe…? OK… Maybe not. [SIGH]” (Meanwhile, inside my head: stir-crazy.)

So. It’s Saturday night. I’m at home. Alone. Not drinking.

27.12.12

mirthI had a lot of fun on Christmas, both day and night. So much so that I spent the entirety of yesterday thinking that if I never saw a glass of Champagne again until next Christmas it’d still be too soon.

A couple of weeks ago, six hours or so into a boozy work lunch (!), I found myself discussing Not Drinking with a colleague. He said he would give me $500 up front, and that if I managed to stay alcohol-free from 1 January to 31 March, I’d get to keep the dosh. If, however, I fell off the wagon, I’d have to return the $500 and, to make things really interesting, pay him double on top of the original figure. We agreed that I could take the weekend to consider and let him know my decision on Monday.

Of course, Monday came and in my usual fashion, I neither accepted nor declined. Because it felt odd to taking $500 from anyone, bet or no bet. You can tell I’m not a wheeler/dealer type, can’t you?

But I’m going to do it.

The decision was made as I found myself lying on the floor (my idea) with my friends taking these happy-snaps. Don’t all good ideas happen this way?

Yes, I will do it.

Anyway, remind me I said this on New Year’s Day.

29.06.12

Last night, I caught up with a friend I hadn’t seen in more than six months. I had a couple of glasses of wine.

This morning, I feel less than sparkly. Ah, the joys of slowing down…