You know that I like a drink…
But I’m a complex personality, hence I’m also a huge fan of Mindbodygreen, a website that publishes lots of great posts that highlight readers genuine experiences of how they improved their health or lifestyle, without that underlying virtuous and condescending ‘I’m better than you’ you approach.
I’m particularly drawn to the posts written by those people who suddenly decide to become sober, (because that is also an ambition of mine) deep down I suspect that I may have a problem.
Not that I think I’m an alcoholic – I mean, who does? – it’s not like I’m surreptitiously slipping Gin into my water bottle on the way to the gym or anything. I don’t go to the gym. I don’t even really exceed the recommended weekly units most of the time, but I do use alcohol as a crutch to appear more interesting than I am, and rarely a day goes by when I don’t drink at least one glass of wine.
At this time of the year, no-one can be immune to the smugs who march through the alcoholic debauchery of Christmas week, straight into a dry January. This year, the idea did cross my mind several times through December to try it, and promptly terrified me – so was quickly dismissed on the grounds of a drinks party we had lined up last night and the birthday of one of my bestie’s on the 15th.
Aside from which, abject misery didn’t seem the best start to the new year.
But as my liver and kidneys struggled to cope through the Christmas period and began to ache worryingly at night, the thought of not waking up with a rancid wine taste in my mouth became bizarrely appealing.
And I had also found a secret weapon to make the idea of sobriety a little more appealing. Because in the way that vapourisers work for the ex-smoker, I decided that if I was going to go cold turkey, I needed something to replace my wine with.
So while recently on holiday, and after one too many dire hangovers embarrassingly caused by a measly couple of wines which completely fucked me over, I decided to research other drink options.
And to my delight, I rediscovered the Bloody Mary – a drink, which I believe must have been demonised by Australians because you can’t find tomato juice in the pubs anywhere. Anyway… the Bloody Mary is the perfect alternative, because not only is tomato juice relatively low in calories, it is also filling, and if you really extend your imagination and think about Chris Hemsworth’s dick lines and add tons of Tabasco, a Virgin Mary tastes almost as good as the alcoholic version.
But I digress.
So yesterday’s New Year’s drinks party loomed ever closer and after three days of sobriety, luckily for me, drinking still held about as much appeal as going back to work this morning. So I offered to drive, mainly to ensure that I couldn’t get off my face, but also because in the back of my mind were all those wise words from Mindbodygreen, challenging me to change my ways.
I prepared well. I made up my own batch of Virgin Mary for the first part of the evening and took some Coconut Water along for something lighter to get me through the pain of the rest of the evening.
I also worked out what was the earliest time we could leave without appearing rude and drilled that information into the short-term memory of the old man, who joshed meanly that my soft drinks probably cost more than a bottle of wine… because he’s super supportive like that…
And unbelievably I got through the evening.
I can’t deny that the first hour was hard. Meeting new people is a personal torture for me; meeting new people without lubrication for my anxiety is terrifying. Even more terrifying was my biggest fear that I would be as dull as dishwater and I certainly felt that curse at the beginning of the evening as everyone else knocked back their Champagnes around me. It’s hard to get enthusiastic when you feel like you’re missing out; especially when you don’t have to.
Food helped. Fortunately for me, it wasn’t one of my drinks parties where the most elaborate canapé is cheese and pineapple on a stick and this year the hostess surpassed herself with one of Jamie’s homemade pates to die for, so each time I needed a boost of energy, there it was.
This short-term sobriety will certainly not contribute to weight-loss.
And as the evening progressed it got easier as the people got sillier and strangely more approachable to a cold fish who was feeling superior, and I found myself forgetting about my dependence and… well…almost enjoying myself.
The wonderful feeling of virtuousness that I felt as I drove home with the old man snoring in the car next to me, sweating wine, almost made my sacrifice worth it.
But I still felt shit this morning, which leads me to suspect that I’m just not a morning person and it has nothing to do with the wine.