I am a lover of alcohol. I think most people who know me, even in passing, are aware of that. I do have a love / hate relationship with the substance, however, and whilst alcohol has been part of some of the best times in my life, it’s also attributed to some of the worst.
I won’t ever not drink, but as I get older, my relationship with alcohol certainly keeps changing, and I definitely enjoy fewer and fewer hangovers.
Last year, I participated in Dry January, partly to try and lose a bit of weight and also to give my liver a break after the Christmas / New Year period. It’s nothing new; a lot of people undertake this challenge to give their year a healthy kick start. For me, it was also a chance to see if I can cope without alcohol i.e. would I still have a social life, would my (ex)boyfriend and I still be able to stand each other (clearly not…), could I get through a networking event without it etc etc.
I decided to do it again in 2018 because I’d been drinking quite a lot in the last half of 2017 following splitting up from my boyfriend of 3 years (not because of the previous Dry January, may I hasten to add…).
I’ve completed Dry January (and a random September) in previous years, raising over £1,000 for Cancer Research UK combined. People didn’t believe I could do it, which worked out well for raising money. However, this time, I decided to do it for just me, purely for selfish reasons.
So I’m currently two weeks deep into Dry January 2018 and thought I would do a little review on how it’s been so far. Just to put into perspective how difficult not drinking alcohol is for me, I’ll give you a brief insight into what a usual week looks like:
Monday: It’s rare I drink on a Monday, unless I cracked open a bottle of wine on Sunday night and there’s a glass remaining. Then I’ll have that. But usually nothing.
Tuesday: Again, unless something comes up, like a networking event or I go for a drink with a friend, nothing on a Tuesday either.
Wednesday: Possibly my favourite day of the week: WINE WEDNESDAY! This can vary from a glass to a bottle. So I’m going for half a bottle of wine normally on a Wednesday.
Thursday: Okay, so I may also celebrate WINE THURSDAY! Again, either a glass or a bottle. So we’ll go for half again.
Friday: The day of the week I’m most likely to ruin my life. Can be anything from a bottle of Prosecco to countless bottles of Prosecco, with Jagerbombs, Tequilas, and G&Ts thrown in for good measure.
Saturday: If I haven’t done a hefty shift of Friday night, see above. If I have, probably a glass of Merlot to sort myself out and stop the shakes. LOL. However, I may also end up repeating Friday night’s antics if I choose to go out again. This is never a wise decision and tends to doom me for the week ahead.
Sunday: Tend to enjoy a glass of wine on a Sunday. My liver does not.
There you have it. And here’s what I’ve discovered over the last two weeks.
I am not a boring person. I’ve got enough inappropriate stories about myself to last a lifetime. BUT, Jesus Christ, it is so boring not drinking. I can’t remember what I used to do on a Wednesday. Midweek rolls around and I find myself in the bath, with Norah Jones blasting out, and tucking myself into bed at 9pm. What’s the point of Wednesday if you can’t enjoy a bit of alliteration and a glass of Pinot Grigio? Still trying to work it out.
To alleviate the boredom, I’ve been drinking a lot of green tea, going to the gym, and cleaning my flat. And talking to myself. There’s been a whole lot of that.
I’m clear headed
All. The. Time. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I mean, waking up without having a hangover is sensational, but I like the sleepy feeling I get after a glass of red. I’d have a glass in my hand right now to write this (which would probably make it much more pithy and intelligent), but instead I find myself thinking about having another fucking cup of green tea and wondering if it’s too close to bed time, as I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with a full bladder. This is what my life has become. Worrying about my urine habits in relation to green tea. I don’t even recognise myself.
I’m not really texting anyone
And when I say anyone, I mean men. Obviously. Whether I’m more needy when I drink or when I’m hungover, I certainly ain’t now. I have a sneaky feeling most guys I spoke to previous to Dry January, whether that’s people I know, or on Tinder, or just those randoms that slide into your Instagram DMs, were only entertaining because I was pissed. Sorry lads, but it’s just not working for me.
I’m not really anxious any more
This is a massive bonus of not drinking. My anxiety has reduced immensely. I mean, I still worry about everything, but now I’m worrying about things that don’t relate to what I did or didn’t do the night before. Now it’s more ‘I hope my car doesn’t get broken into’, ‘I hope I turned the iron off’, ‘I hope no one tries to prove their nuclear missile button is bigger’, or ‘I hope my period starts’.
I’m looking forward to the end
Alcohol plays a big part in my life. I don’t care whether or not you think that’s pathetic. I enjoy alcohol. I like the taste and I like how it makes me feel (well, not the morning after, but you know what I mean). However, I know I don’t NEED alcohol to have a good time; I have enough fun at work to know that! I also recognise that alcohol is a completely stupid legal drug as the health problems it can cause are diabolical and the high is pretty shit, let’s be honest.
So even before I embarked on Dry January, I made a New Year’s resolution to myself. Tone down my drinking in 2018. This doesn’t mean I won’t be getting drunk, but it does mean I won’t be getting so drunk that I don’t remember calling my parents on New Year’s Eve and being told off by them the next day, or getting so drunk that the taxi driver texts you the next day asking for you to pay the fare, or getting so drunk that you get off with an 18 year old, purely because they have the same glasses’ prescription as you (well, never say never…).