It’s nearly the end of week three of Dry January, and to the astonishment of everyone, including myself, I’m still doing it.
My flatmate played her joker card (i.e. gave herself a night off) and went out on Saturday night, so I went to my parent’s house in order to totally remove myself from the situation, which worked out pretty well. Even when my mum rather apologetically poured herself a glass of wine at eight o’clock.
I returned home on Sunday having gone to John Lewis to look at hardwood floors (it’s one of those inexplicable rules that if you have anything house related to do, it must be done at 10AM on a Sunday morning, which is why Dry January is the perfect time to sort out any decorating plans or building work), been to the gym and read the papers.
I was feeling fresh as the proverbial daisy, and was twice as bouncy and annoying. My flatmate… less so.
In fact, she sent me a text me on my way back and asked me to get her chips and two pieces of fried chicken from the shop down the road. I did try not to be smug, but I was just so… bouncy.
It occurred to both of us that I’d had a much more productive day than she had, and on Monday morning, when I was still annoyingly perky, she had a banging headache.
I haven’t put myself in any situations where not drinking at all would be particularly hard, but my instinct is still to look at the drinks menu every time I go for dinner. However, once I've ordered my initial tonic water/old fashioned lemonade/tomato juice, I don’t really think about it – I’ve made a decision and that’s that.
I went out for dinner with Phoebe and a couple of our old colleagues last night, and pretended I was pregnant for a bit, which was funny. I never would have been able to pull that one off if I’d been swilling the Merlot.
I went to a lecture the other night at my old university. The hall was freezing, the lecture was less than thrilling and it went on for ages. At the end, I was quite tempted to grab a glass of (free, and probably not very nice) white wine.
Then someone handed me an orange juice, and I remembered that I didn’t actually want the wine at all. It probably tasted manky, and I was about to go home – so what was the point? It made me realise how habitual my drinking patterns have become. If booze is the option (especially when it’s free) I’ll always take it – whether I want a drink or not.
I think some of my friends are still quite baffled by my decision to stick to Dry January. I’ve been teased, very good-naturedly, about falling off the wagon, but I’m sure there are one or two people who’d feel a bit more comfortable about the whole thing had I given up after a couple of weeks.
To be honest though, I’ve had no incentive to. It feels a little bit like, by not drinking, I’ve given myself a bit of a holiday from my life. It’s given me the time, energy and headspace I’ve needed to focus on work, sort my flat out, and generally get myself organised in a way that I’ve been meaning to for ages.
I’m STILL sleeping fantastically, and people have started commenting on how much better my skin looks – which is actually quite ironic as the cold weather means it’s been falling off in clumps. I’ve also had some extra work on this week, which I would have struggled to fit in had I been drinking in the evenings.
However - HOWEVER, imayhaveacoupleofdrinkstonight. Because I have another date. Yes, it’s the same bloke I went out with last time I fell off the wagon. Which means it’s not a first date, so I don’t have that excuse to fall back on. But it is a second date, which is almost as bad.
A bit of me is already dreading the inevitable hangover, and I’m annoyed at myself for not even trying to do the whole thing without drinking. But if I don’t drink at all, then it’s instantly a ‘thing,’ – a much bigger deal than it should be.
Ideally I should be able to have a couple of drinks, have a nice time and not get bat faced. Which is what I’m going to aim for.
Last week, I talked about my worry that I’ll never be an ‘effortless’ light drinker, who only drinks until they don’t want any more, and knows when they’ve had enough (ironically, or maybe not, I’ve never had this problem with food).
I’m aware that my birthday party, my first proper night back on the sauce, is looming. I don’t want to get blind drunk, or have to be taken home, or be sick. I want to remember everything, I want to stay out dancing till 4AM, and I want to have a fantastic time. I’d love some tips on the best way to do this (Phoebe has already volunteered to switch every other alcoholic drink with a soft one, whether I like it or not).
I think I need to keep reminding myself that it’s going to be a long night, and that the fun doesn’t have to end until I want it to. And that I’m going to be 30, and hangovers are really, really ageing.
Are you doing Dry January? As the last week of the worst month of the year looms, how are you getting on? Hot me up on Twitter @rebecca_hol.