On the evening of Monday 31 September G and I opened a bottle of Prosecco and proposed a toast to our remarkable achievement!
It was moments after the first drops of bubbly, boozy goodness touched my lips that I realised it was actually still September and we really should have waited until midnight (or even the following day) to jump off the wagon!
Nonetheless, I am claiming a victory. Sober September success! We did it. We owned it. It was a little more difficult than I thought it would be.
The first week was miserable. We had jet lag. I was sleeping badly. I had a psychological, if not physical, need at the end of the day for a glass of SOMETHING… just to take the edge off, as a reward for making it through the day, to help me sleep, because I WANT A DRINK AND I AM A GROWN WOMAN AND THIS IS A RIDICULOUS IDEA.
G was all, “Well if you want to I am not stopping you but I won’t be joining you”, which just made me determined not to let him win. He can be such a manipulative bastard!
We had just returned from France where my daily intake of wine was really quite impressive so I guess, on reflection, that I was detoxing, cold turkey. It was quite sobering (pun intended) to realise just how reliant I am on alcohol as both a physical and emotional crutch.
But it did get easier.
During the month that was September, I thought a great deal about alcohol. Mostly, I thought, “Fuck, I would like a drink”, but there was the occasional moment of more serious contemplation. Booze has really played a major role in my life.
- Firstly, I am an Australian and for most Australians drinking is a right of passage, a cultural expectation and sometimes a lot of fun.
- My parents are both drinkers. In their heyday they were heavy drinkers. For better or for worse, drinking was celebrated and revered in our house.
- I spent (or perhaps mis-spent) my student years, most of my twenties, and some of my thirties developing an appreciation of many mind-altering substances including, but not limited to, fine wine and whisky.
- Apart from the 27 months that I was been pregnant, I reckon that I have had a drink every week (in fact most days) of my adult life. (I even took the occasional drink while my girls were on the boob)
- There is a (very valid) assumption amongst our peers that I will ALWAYS knock back a glass or two given the chance.
- I have enjoyed some wonderful times with friends, family and a drink in my hand.
- Many of the WORST moments in my life have been directly related to me, or those close to me, drinking too much!
I don’t want to mislead anyone into assuming that all this deep thinking actually led to any sort of revelation. There was no epiphany, no life changing decision, just some sober (yep, that one was intended too) reflection.
Also, some observations:
- After the first week, I slept much more soundly;
- It was easier to return to sleep if I was woken in the night by one of my small people;
- I was less groggy and more alert in the morning;
- I was less irritable with my children, mostly;
- I was sometimes more irritable because I didn’t have ‘mothers little helper’;
- My skin improved and I looked less puffy in the face;
- I craved something sweet in the evening after dinner (no doubt a replacement for the sugar in the alcohol);
- I DIDN’T lose any weight (probably because I was giving in to those sweet cravings);
- I became a bit of a hermit because I didn’t want to go out and be asked why I wasn’t drinking;
- I enjoyed a lovely, sober night out with a group of girlfriends and didn’t miss alcohol at all (but I did have dessert);
- I missed the ritual of sharing a glass of wine and some adult time after the kids went to bed;
- I missed drinking – the taste of a good red, the match with a great meal, the buzz after a chilled glass of bubbly stuff.
Ultimately, not drinking for a month was good for my health and good for my head. We might make Sober September an annual event.
That said, I think it might be wine o’clock somewhere! Can I tempt you?
Patsy: What will you drink if you stop drinking?
Edina: I shall drink water.
Patsy: [Blank look]
Edina: It’s a mixer, Patsy, we have it with whisky…. I mean, you’ve given up drinking before.
Patsy: Worst eight hours of my life.
( Absolutely Fabulous, Series 1, Episode 1)
Have a FABULOUS weekend lovely readers!