Sunday, August 22, 2010

The day after

-1 day to go

Yesterday I had my first drink in nearly 4 weeks. Then I had several more drinks. And I have concluded this: hangovers are awful, and alcohol isn't that great.

I had a beer with lunch. It was a beer I like very much - an amber ale - which is not bitter. It was pleasant, but not exciting. In the evening, I opened a bottle of bubbly, one of my favourite tipples. But the cheap bottle I had in the fridge didn't taste very good so I gave up on that very quickly. We opened a bottle of red we had been saving, and that was tasty. Good wine is a very good thing to drink. Later we drank cheap red wine and eventually I was drunk. And being drunk is fun. :)

Today I am hungover. The older I get, the worse the hangovers, the more disproportionate to what I had the night before. Thus it seems that the older I get, the more I have to consider the worthwhileness of drinking. And perhaps last night wasn't really worth it.

We had a fun, fulfiling day, handing out how-to-votes most of the day and feeling like very passionate and useful party members. But the evening, despite brilliant results for the Greens, was flat and disorganised and included a non-result for the election.

Drink is no longer my best and worst friend. It is more like an ex-lover that I will enjoy a bit of a flirt with, and perhaps the occasional one-night-stand. But life is my new true love.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Week 3-ish

Some not-too-large number of days to go

I want a drink. It's Friday night, this week at work has taken forever, I have no reason - other than the pledge I have made - NOT to have a drink, and it would just be bloody lovely!

But I have made a promise to myself, and I am sticking to it.

Would I be so determined if I had not made my pledge public? I have my doubts. But I have had rewards already from the past nearly-3 weeks, perhaps they would hold me back from indulgence?

I have talked about my gain in confidence and motivation. I have also had a superficial reward - I think I have lost some weight! It's a tiny gain, but I think it is real. I noticed it this morning. My sexy little french maid singlet - a beloved piece that I can only wear these days by covering my arms with a cardigan and my belly with a pashmina - covers slightly more of me today than last time I wore it!

I am annoyed at myself for being so excited over this. I know that for health reasons I should lose weight, but that is not what I'm enjoying today.
I've been spouting fat-positive messages, and now I'm all worked-up, imagining the slim figure I will soon sport, and all the flirting with boys I'll be able to indulge in again. Why don't I flirt with boys NOW? I clearly don't believe a word I say about size not mattering. It seems I would rather choose to fit the mould that the media (and my mother) tell me is the only one that is attractive, than dare to believe in myself completely.

But in any case, tonight I shall stick to my resolve. I shall try to stick to this path towards health, and I shall continue to work on believing in myself at all points along the way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week Two

11 days to go

Well folks, I have survived more than a week of no alcohol since last writing. My colleagues (whom I have known only a few weeks and who do not know all the details of why) are very proud of me. Drinking is so ingrained in our culture that even a virtual stranger can be amazed by someone abstaining.

It's gotten quite boring now. It's easy for me to do - which is a wonderful thing to learn - and still just a matter of remembering. Most evenings I have noted that "I want a fucking drink", but have otherwise simply quietly avoided having one. Friday night we went out for dinner, because I had to find a way of celebrating the beginning of the weekend that did not involve excessive (or any amount of) drinking. We strolled into Northbridge - taking advantage of our inner-city lifestyle - found a restaurant that we'd never eaten at, ordered food that we'd never tasted, and drank endless pots of Chinese tea before walking back home. It was a lovely way to spend an evening together.

I am enjoying so many things about not drinking. I am feeling healthier already, and coupled with our regular leafleting stints we actually desire a healthier diet. I also have more time on my hands - the weekend does not include a day (or two) written-off to a hangover, and my evenings are not sunk uselessly into wine and television. All combined, I have gained a burst of confidence unlike anything I can remember having ever had previously.

In this confident state I have taken on a new project at work - I volunteered to coordinate part of an event - and a new course of study. I am now working full-time, engaged and constantly busy in this work, plus studying externally. This confidence is leaking out into my entire attitude to life and most importantly, to myself.

I am also enjoying the hard-edge of my personality, which is an unexpected development. I don't need hard liquor to have a certain amount of anger within me, and without it being artificially enhanced I don't need to fear it - I can relish it.

Today I am pre-menstrual, and not enjoying my anger at all. It has morphed into that familiar state that swings between baseless irritability, and a desire to melt into a puddle of tears. So I must say, I would still fucking love a drink. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Week one

20 days to go

Nearly a week since a drink, which is the longest time in... well, I would think at least since I was 21. I certainly can't think of a time since I moved to London that I have not at least had a good few drinks on the weekend.

And it's going super-fine. I'm encouraged that my body wasn't as addicted as my lifestyle, and the lifestyle change has really not been that hard. The trickiest bit is simply remembering not to have a drink.

Wednesday night I got home from work and thought "balls, I can't have a drink". Normally unwinding from work = a glass of wine. So I was at a bit of a loss as to how to relax. It wasn't a great night for me anyway as hubby had to go away, which I never enjoy at the best of times. But I did some tidying (I LOVE tidying... although I hate cleaning), and lit some incense and had some tea. It felt quite ridiculous, boiling the kettle when what I bloody wanted was a glass of wine, but I'd made a plan and I was sticking to it. So I got through and managed to get to sleep without my usual depressant.

Thursday was easier, although I felt a bit flu-ey which I am taking to be a mild form of withdrawal. In the evening hubby joined me in sobriety. I have told him repeatedly that he does not have to, but his body and mind could certainly benefit also, and he has decided to try to go the whole time along with me. What a wonderful person I am married to. :) Thursday evening was great as some of our favourite tv was on, and we giggled ourselves silly! It was wonderful to be so crazily happy without the aid of any drugs what-so-ever.

Friday I thought would be difficult, but just wasn't! Although again it was harder to unwind without chemical means. Friends popped round, with bubbly for themselves and some yummy Maggie Beer non-alcholic sparkling rose for me. We ate cheese and chatted and had as good a time as ever without hubby or I drinking any liquor. Being a foodie is certainly helping to make the lack of drink less of a burden. I made it clear that my friends could drink, and also that I haven't given up on enjoying the occasional drunken times forever. After they left hubby even suggested we go for a walk - we had some leafleting to do - so we even made productive use of our Friday night and got in some exercise... now there's a rarity!

Saturday was hubby and I home as is often the case, enjoying a scrummy dinner and watching dvds, just without the alcohol. Perhaps it wasn't the most exciting Saturday night-in we've ever had, but we have both just needed to catch up on sleep and re-learn to relax naturally. And I've realised that the television saps my time and energy and usefulness far more than drink does. I think some sort of ruling on maximum television times would be just as good for my life as this break from drink.

Today I am cleaning and tidying and generally beautifying my home. I have energy and time to do it and I'm just feeling great. In fact today, I can't think why I would want to drink. I think the biggest test will come when I actually do try a drink again. But the next few weeks will help to tell.

So in the end it's a bit of a boring tale. But then good news often is. :) But before I go, let me share a dream I had the other night. A dream that suggests perhaps my subconscious struggle is a little more difficult than my conscious one.

I was out with hubby somewhere, in the sort of strange yet eerily familiar place that is often the haunt of the sleeping self. We were offered wine to taste, and decided that as we were at a wine tasting, we had better break our fast briefly and take a few sips. After all, it wasn't enough for us to even feel that we had had alcohol. It seemed to go okay, and we moved on to a lunch with many strangers, people who seemed to be interested in us, desirous of our company, but not too deeply concerned with our welfare. We ate a buffet which was glorious, for a while food was our only concern. I remember vividly a huge bowl of chicken with some form of fuzzy green beans in a spicy sauce being presented to us after we thought we were already full. Then suddenly the demon liquor reared its ugly head. For some reason we thought to question the varied elixirs we had been consuming, and discovered that they were not, as we had thought, cordials and other new flavoursome treats - they were alcoholic. Indeed, many of the glasses in front of me were half-filled with red wine. A dangerous woman with dark hair told me that I had already had more than everyone else at the table, that I had broken my sobriety, so I may as well continue. But I told her that no, I would not drink anymore. I pushed the glasses in front of me out of reach and pulled away from her and them.

I awoke to a wonderful sense of relief that I had not let myself down, that it was only a dream, and that although alcohol was clearly on my mind, it had not passed my lips.