This is my third blog. First one (www.breastcancerbattle.blogspot.com) ended when I won that particular battle. Second blog (www.uneperfidealbion.wordpress.com) was about adapting to French life ater 10 years in Cape Town – blog ended abruptly when I gave up on French life and returned to my beloved Cape Town.
This time I am blogging about alcohol – or rather, whether I can live without it. After 40+ years of drinking it could just be time for a change – “Sober is the new Black” they say.
l love to drink – I drink when I am happy (which is most of the time), I drink when I am sad – and I certainly drink when dealing with a crisis. I don’t drink to be “social” – I drink to get results – to get “the buzz”…
Lying awake one night feeling distinctly queasy after (another) hard week of partying I began to wonder if my liver had finally had enough. My usual reaction would be to resolve to “cut down” and aim for that elusive “14 units a week”. Invariably 14 units would be notched up within a few days taking me way over so-called “safe” limit by the end of the week.
So I decided to be radical and GIVE UP DRINKING! I always give up for a week during annual visit to Hydro but have never, ever considered giving up completely…far too scary.
The morning after a sleepless and queasy night I announced resolution to Husband who was both speechless and sceptical. When he recovered, he reminded me we were going to a party that evening.
We went to the party – interestingly our hosts were ex-drinkers. Astonishment all round as I turned down champagne and asked for a soft drink.
“But when did you give up drinking?”
“Er… today” was met with laughter all round
“Then you must start tomorrow!”
Surprisingly managed to stand firm and sipped my Appetizer, cringing at the sweetness of it. Our host came to inspect the newly reformed party girl. We chatted and he confessed that when it came to alcohol he was an “all or nothing kind of guy” and that was why he hadn’t had a drink for 14 years. That made sense to me – maybe that’s why “cutting down” never seems to work out. His wife explained that she put a line of lipstick on her mirror to denote every alcohol-free day – I could sense Husband stressing as this sounded far too messy.
Yoga teacher was next to arrive and hear the big news – eyes wide with wonder as she suggested that maybe I could try “hemp oil” as that could make me feel quite mellow.
The party progressed as parties do – conversation seemed to get louder and louder, anecdotes seemed to go on just a little too long but apart from that, it was fun. After 2 hours I felt the need to escape – whereas normally by that stage I would have been “flying high” and would have been the last to leave.
Woke up next morning with a clear head but the questions kept coming…
“How do you survive a party without a drink?”
“What do you drink when you are not drinking?”
“Will I lose all my friends?”
“Is it too late to save my liver?”
Went online to discover a plethora of books, blogs and articles on the subject. Had to buy “The Secret to Being Fashionably Sober and Fabulous” for the title alone. Found an interesting article in Tatler by a journalist who had been to Allen Carr’s “alcohol seminar” in London. Noticed that the next seminar takes place on my birthday – the venue is round the corner from a close London friend – is this a sign? Shall I go?
Looked at AA but far to many mentions of a “higher power” for a cynical athiest like me – although might just drop in to a meeting “for the blog”.
Usually have wine with lunch and dinner but not this week. Fortunately Husband not bothered about alcohol so no pressure there.
Second social event of the week was a cultural event at a museum. Went with a friend and her 10 year old daughter. Daughter’s phone was confiscated so that she would listen attentively to “amusing anecdotes” by the speaker who had been booked to entertain us.
In fact “amusing anecdotes” were so X-rated phone was swiftly returned to Daughter in the hope that it would distract her from the hair-raising tales coming from the stage. In spite of nerve-racking situation managed to avoid dodgy wine on offer and confine myself to yet more disgusting fruit juice.
Ended this momentous week with a lovely massage – a temptation free activity as even I have not worked out how to drink wine during a massage.
So here I am on day 8 of the new regime – will I make it through to week 2? – watch this space – and send me your comments!