The demon drink

With my recent foot surgery and related confinement, B’s post-treatment fatigue and the fact that we both still experience sleep problems. you could be forgiven for thinking that the atmosphere at our house is akin to a non-stop party.

But let me add something else to the mix. I have not consumed any alcohol for more than 6 months.

‘But why?’ I hear you cry. ‘Isn’t that one of the few pleasures you have left?’

That’s one way of looking at it. Another is that me + stress + alcohol = not a good idea. Before November I seemed to be getting into the habit of drinking a glass of wine almost every night, and quite a bit more on weekends. Relying on it to get to sleep can’t be good, let alone the danger factor of drinking too much on a night out and coming home alone. There’s also the simple matter of decorum. Drunkenness is unbecoming in a woman of mature age. Compelling evidence of this is provided by Courtney Love, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Tara Reid and Denise Welch.

courtney

I decided to read a book on ‘giving up’ first, as I believe there’s a book for everything. Despite being a tad preachy and irritating, Jason Vale’s Kick the Drink… Easily! worked for me. Of course I already knew that alcohol is no less a drug than heroin or cocaine just because it’s legal, but it did re-awaken my realisation of that fact. It also challenged my belief that alcohol needs to form part of normal life, especially socially.

Jason places a lot of emphasis on the perception of ‘missing out’ as a reason why people find it hard to stop drinking. Once you question what you’re missing out on, exactly, it becomes easy. It sound mad but I can honestly say that I haven’t missed it at all, in fact I rarely think about it. My social behaviour has changed only slightly. I still go to the pub eg. for after work drinks, but I don’t stay late. There is nothing worse than being stone cold sober and surrounded by tipsy colleagues discussing football or (even worse) work. Alcohol is a complete necessity in that situation.

drinks

That said, I think I would have found it harder to give up 15 or 20 years ago, when I went out a lot more. Even, on occasion, dancing. I’m not foolish enough to believe that I would have participated in a line dance to Nutbush City Limits without a few alcopops under my wide elastic belt.

I’ve also become a very cheap date. Dinner for 2 at a decent restaurant now often comes in under £50. B has the occasional glass of wine but he’s always been a complete lightweight. He’s also been avoiding it lately as his tolerance seem to have been affected by the chemo. After just 1 glass he has a headache all the next day. Hopefully this will pass, at which point it doesn’t bother me at all if he drinks around me. I don’t feel an ounce of envy.

Before you start thinking that my diet and health must have improved due to this change, let me set you straight. I’ve found that cake is the perfect replacement for alcohol (although slightly more unwieldy on the dance floor). I’m not missing out on those empty calories!

chocolate_layer_cake

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4 comments

  1. This is my one real vice. I drink every day, can’t sleep without it and rely on wine as my major form of stress relief. Doesn’t help that I really like wine and that hubby and I consume it everywhere we go. I have to try really hard to cut back (or not have any) during the week, and my good intentions always come crashing down after a bad Monday. I reckon I would lose 5kg if I stopped for a couple of months but unfortunately I do not have your resolve cuz so the demon drink and I remain close allies…

    1. Yep it is really easy to get into that habit. I couldn’t cut down either, I tried and failed for ages, which is why I finally cut it out altogether. Funnily enough quitting seems to require less resolve than cutting down, for me anyway. You do get used to it but I resolve never to become the annoying born again teetotal type 🙂

      1. It’s a bit like smoking I think, you can cut down but still have the urge every day and can still justify having more on weekends and the like. It would be pretty hard to live in Australia and not drink though, and just quietly I don’t trust people who don’t drink at all, makes me think there’s something they’re trying to hide lol.

      2. Oh I’m hiding plenty. Basically I can no longer drink because what I really think spews forth after a few glasses. Like John Galliano or Mel Gibson.

        I actually think the drinking culture is worse in the UK than in Australia. I drank far less when I lived in Oz! Big binge drinking problem here too, especially amongst young people.

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