I’m a failure. A big fat, red-nosed, booze soaked, blurry-eyed boozy failure.
I keep thinking about an essay the slightly Christian girl in my year 10 English class wrote about how alcohol makes women barren. Do you think she meant me?
I totally folded on my date and drank. I didn’t even give it a couple of hours and see how I went. I was early, and ordered myself a gin and tonic while I was waiting with my book.
My flatmate, who’s also agreed to be my Dry January cohort, gave me permission to have a little sharpener to calm my (actually not very existent) nerves.
(side note: I’ve generally been a lot calmer since I started this little experiment – thus negating the need for half a bottle of wine at Every. Single. Social. Occasion. Ever).
Anyway, she probably wasn’t banking on me interpreting ‘one drink to calm your nerves,’ as ‘3 gin and tonics, and the best part of a bottle of wine with dinner.’ But that’s definitely what I heard.
Anyway, a nice time was had by all, and we’re going out again. And yes, that’s all you’re getting.
The next day I woke up feeling, unsurprisingly, hungover. However, it didn’t have the same oppressive, depressive, panicky quality I normally get with my hangovers, which makes me think a lot of that’s down to the cumulative effect of two or three nights out in a row, which is where I normally am by a Friday morning.
Anyway, despite falling spectacularly off the wagon, I decided not to beat myself up about it and move on – I certainly wasn’t going to take this as an opportunity to revert back to type. Plus, I had a banging headache, so another glass of wine was the last thing I fancied.
Despite that one slip up, week two has been broadly successful. I’ve managed a dinner with friends without drinking (although several other people were teetotal as well, so it wasn’t that big a challenge), and a couple of trips to the pub with a load of drinkers.
The only difference is, I’ve been bowing out at 9 or 10 o’clock, when I get tired, as oppose to powering through till midnight. Listening to my natural body clock more means that I’m sleeping loads better, and have sooo much more energy.
This might also be down to the fact that I've started replacing booze with really hot baths, accompanied by some rather fantastic Deep Relax bath oil from Aromatherapy Associates, which makes me feel incredibly sleepy in a slightly trippy way:
I’ve also been told that I:
- Seem calmer (which is fair, normally I’m a bit… highly strung and mental)
- Have better skin
- Am generally more Zen (this is from Phoebe, who said it with an air of disgust).
So, in summary: Not drinking is still making me feel great. and I really want to keep it up. This weekend, my flatmate is taking a night off from Dry January, so I’m going to my mum’s to totally remove myself from the situation. Is that a bit of a cop out?
Actually, this whole experiment has raised a few more interesting questions. I have discovered that all I talk about is drinking. How I’m not drinking now, how great I feel for not drinking, how much money I normally spend when I’m drinking, what I’m going to drink when Dry January’s over.
In fact, as my flatmate pointed out when she sent me yet another email about drinking:
“All we’ve talked about for the past five years is alcohol – how much we’re drinking, whether we drink too much, the fact that we’re not drinking, or where we’re going to go for a drink on Friday night. And I’m bloody sick of it. It’s not that complicated – sometimes I’m a good drunk, sometimes I’m a bad drunk, and I just need to learn the difference and stop chasing that elusive party dragon.”
And this is generally my attitude to most things – once you stop obsessing about something, it ceases to be a problem. But the thing is, I’ll never be one of those people who has no emotional connection to alcohol whatsoever. I know this.
I’ll never be someone who can go out and have two glasses of wine on a Saturday night and then move onto the fizzy water. Actually that’s not true, I could, but only if I thought about it all the fucking time and made a massive song and dance about it.
It would never be effortless, or thoughtless, or just something I did.
I’m not naturally one of life’s control freaks. I don’t enjoy obsessing over things, or desperately trying to control the situation I’m in – it doesn’t make me happy.
So after this, I could watch every drop I drink, never have that bit too much, and always go home before things get messy, but I don’t think I’d ever be truly able to relax or be myself. So, as good as I feel now, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
That’s not great, is it?
Rebecca is being annoyingly zen on Twitter @rebecca_hol.