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?)
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.