You`ll probably have picked up by now that I love a little project to myself, and although this one has been at the back of my mind for a while, I always realised that it could be… contentious.
Is she an alcoholic, as she has to do that?
No, I`m not an alcoholic. I don`t even drink that much. But I don`t tolerate alcohol very well. At home, I quickly and very suddenly want to go to sleep, but then wake up in the middle of the night, as my liver its working its hardest around 3am (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine) to get rid of it. Outside my own house, I have been known to embarrass myself. No, not often, but quite often a big deal. To myself, at least. And on one occasion, someone approached a subject that would never have been discussed without drink, but sadly, I had at least one glass too many and was unable to take this once in a lifetime opportunity. This, I will regret until the day I die, and it was then when, although very tentatively, I first imagined what it would be like to stop drinking altogether.
Towards the end of last year, I went through a time of intense stress. Every night, I came home late and tired, and all I wanted to do was make myself a sandwich (quick) and then collapse on the sofa with a glass of wine, or sometimes two, to help me sleep. It was at that time when I started to feel uncomfortable about my drinking, for it was almost daily and could have been considered problem drinking. I installed a tracking app (DrinkAware), but reassuringly remained in its green “low risk” category (<14 units a week).
While I was still tracking, we took two breaks in the Mediterranean. There was wine with every meal (and sometimes in between, and/or a cocktail in some nice bar at night), and suddenly, the app was saying that I had binge drank on a particular day and that my overall weekly consumption was now putting me into the “medium risk” category (14-21 units a week). When we came home I decided to cut back, but I really missed that glass at night, which made me feel even more self conscious. Drinking at home should not become a habit, and you shouldn`t have to actively “resist” it.
At one point, I considered to stop drinking at home but not out, but I don`t think this would work for me. True, many social gatherings involve alcohol, but I know a few people who don`t drink, and they still participate, have fun and are considered fun by other people. If anything, they spend less money, get home safely in their own car, and will wake up bright and alert the next morning, with no regrets. In Britain, it`s very socially acceptable to drink too much and then boast about it, but I never felt this was compulsory. I also just moved from a job where social things involved getting hammered to one where we do sponsored walks for charity.
Last week, I discovered that I had completed a full week without a drink and hadn`t missed it at all. Time is now, I decided spontaneously, let`s see how far I can go without actually finding it difficult.
I`ve got social things coming up, but I can`t let those hold me back. I cancelled one on Friday, which I wasn`t so much looking forward to anyway. I went to one last night, which I was also apprehensive about (I worked today), but deciding not to drink has reassured me that I`d come home at a decent time and be fresh for work again this morning. Everyone accepted this for a reason (and some didn`t even seem to notice my not drinking), but I must admit that things became a bit annoying in my eyes as others (strangers!) became increasingly drunk and I was still sober. So I left first, got the second last bus, and I was home 5 minutes after midnight.
As usual, I`ll keep blogging about the project in inconsistent intervals…