Friday, December 01, 2006

Sober

There are some changes you plan to make, and some that just seem to happen. I never intended to become a vegetarian, for example, but bit by bit it just happened. One day I realised that I did't actually want to eat meat, and I wondered what would happen if I stopped, and how long I'd keep it up for.

Something similar seems to have happened over the last month. Prompted by the beer revelation, and the red wine bender, I seem to have fundamentally re-assessed my relationship with alcohol, with surprising results. The amount I'm drinking has plummeted, to virtually nothing.

Since I got back from Spain I've had two pints, after the Abbey Dash, and regretted the second one. During that time I've turned down the opportunity of "home alone on a Friday night" wine, and free wine in Boots last night. (Yes, I turned down free wine! And nibbles!). In Spain I drank far less than normal, and rarely felt like drinking more than a single glass at a time. I haven't gone for a drink after running club, and I haven't had a quick one anywhere else either. This is my second Friday night in a row without alcohol, and I didn't drink last Saturday either.

The thought actually repulses me, to be honest. I think I've finally (far too late) woken up to the fact that alcohol just isn't good for me. Full stop. Sure, it tastes nice sometimes, and it might make me relax a little, but the side effects, the hangovers, the calories, the mouth feeling like a sewer the day after, it's just not work it. I'm not staying sober to save calories, or because I feel like I ought to give up, but simply because I don't fancy it.

I've never been a girl's night out type drinker, heading off round crowded bars bars and clubs in teeny skirts, falling off my heels and being pushed into a taxi at the end of the night. I've had nights like that, but not too many of them. But find me a sofa and a bottle of wine, or a quiet corner in a grown up bar somewhere with good company, and I'll happily drink away. I'm not a loud drunk, and sometimes because of that I persuaded myself that I could handle my drink, that I wasn't that drunk. Except I probably was.

I know that Friday nights in with wine and chocolate made me fatter than McDonalds ever would, that was my vice, and I enjoyed it. I laughed in the face of the definitions of binge drinking that classified my quiet nights in as a binge. Surely not, my head protested. Those Friday nights were the three pillars of my obesity. Food, wine, and laziness. All rolled up into one evening.

I've dealt with two of those, but not the third. Not consistently. At one point I went through a disciplined, "only at the weekend" spell. I've also been through "well, one won't hurt" spells, "only if it's free" spells and "sod it, who cares, red wine is good for you" spells. I don't know what makes me swing from one to the other, but over the past month my attitude to the stuff just seems different.

We've all woken up the morning after a heavy night out and vowed not to do it again (we have all done that, haven't we? It's not just me?). But this is different, and more fundamental. For a start, the loo roll as a pillow incident was nearly a month ago, and that's usually more than enough time for my resolve to fade. And it's not just a desire to avoid a hangover (said way of thinking usually allowing a gentle one in moderation), but a complete lack of desire to drink anything. At all.

This is, of course, interesting timing coming up to the Christmas party season. The month of the year when drinking to excess seems to be encouraged by all and sundry. (Incidentally, it says a lot that the Christmas event I'm most looking forward to is a fancy dress run through the Christmas lights, rather than the alcohol related parties that will follow). I still don't quite see the appeal of spending a night with colleagues who I wouldn't usually spend my spare time with, just because it's christmas, and waking up feeling ill and worried about precisely what you said the night before. Maybe staying sober would be a better idea anyway, we'll see how I feel next week.

I'm not saying that I'm never going to drink again, I'm sure some will slip through from time to time. But I suspect that I'm going to try to keep up this habit of drinking less, and more sensibly.

It's just a shame I'm using the calories I'm saving on chocolate instead...

2 Comments:

Blogger JessiferSeabs said...

I'm actually going through a very similar phase, and our drinking habits have historically been very similar. Not sure what's going on, but you put it very well when you said you were "re-evaluating your relationship with alcohol."

I've just started to realize all the negative that it adds to my life vs. the positives, which seem very few and far between lately.

12:08 AM  
Blogger JustJunebug said...

my phase of this started SEVERAL months back. i still enjoy a glass of beer or wine (or a martini) from time to time, but i would have to say thats an average of once a month.

however this week might change all that...silly Christmas parties...and runner parties...and a girls night out too!

2:41 PM  

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