Us Brits. We like to reward ourselves. Everything we do is because we deserve it. Whether it’s buying those shoes or eating that takeaway or drinking that drink. We drink to celebrate, to commiserate, because we’re going on holiday, when we’re on holiday because we’re on holiday, because it’s Friday, because it’s the weekend.
I have recently joined several online alcohol free support groups. The absolute worst time of the week for most people is Saturday night. This includes the build up to Saturday night, the actual Saturday night and the aftermath. Isn’t it interesting that the one night of the week we should really be nurturing ourselves after a busy week, by feeding ourselves good healthy food and getting plenty of nourishing sleep, is the one night that historically, people get bladdered, eat crap, smoke, sleep badly and then spend Sunday dying? Why do we think we are rewarding ourselves by putting utter crap into our bodies??!
Drinking alcohol is so habitual. Even if you don’t fancy a drink, you’ll still have one ‘because it’s Saturday night’. Everyone has a drink on Saturday night right? And then another. And another. No one ever has just the one glass because it’s Saturday because hey, tomorrow is Sunday, the day of rest and dehydration.
I must admit that Saturday night is the worst night of the week for me too as I do feel like I missing out. I know however, that it is just a matter of time before my habit is broken and Saturday night becomes about much more than just getting plastered. I am also questioning what exactly I missing out on? Calories, chemicals, late nights, poor sleep, spending money on drinks I won’t remember? Oh, and the Godawful hangover. Slowly, as the alcohol fog depletes, I am realising that I am not actually missing any of those things and am instead enjoying my new life without them.
I’ve always been a party animal. I used to like nothing better than getting together with my friends and getting hammered. It wasn’t always intentional but was inevitable. I don’t know many people that I could meet ‘for one’ and it would literally be just that. One drink. Generally, it would mean one bottle and inevitably turn into three. And a shot or two. And a gin. Oh, and a glass before I went out. And a nightcap when I got home.
It’s interesting how drinking habits have changed and escalated over the years. Booze used to be a rare treat for our parents and was expensive, so buying more than a bottle at a time was unheard of. I know my parents would share a bottle and it would last a week. I’d have a bottle and it would be lucky to last two hours.
It would also appear that the more you drink, the greater your tolerance towards it. This means buying more, which means more expense, more calories and a bigger hangover. In the UK, it has become more than acceptable to drink copious amounts before you actually venture out the door. This culture started in an effort to save pennies however now just results in consuming far more, for far longer. One would have to question whether you actually save money doing this or just buy more when you’re out to maintain the high!
One major reason for me stopping drinking, was to get back some precious spare time. I found myself drinking enough on a Friday night to sink a small ship, which would result in a crap nights sleep, which would lead to a sluggish unproductive Saturday, eating carbs. By the time I felt ok on Sunday morning, it was nearly time for work again. This cycle has steadily got worse over time, sometimes creeping towards Monday before feeling better. Now, I sleep better, have more money in my pocket, am eating better, am getting off my arse and have rediscovered my love of writing! What’s not to love about being Sober For 2017?!
What a week! It’s amazing how much can change in 7 days and how much this challenge is teaching me. I’ve baked two desserts (unheard of), lost and gained friends, said no when the drunk me would’ve most definitely said yes, bought my body weight in Elderflower based drinks, saved money, added time, slept like I was dead and bought an electric whisk. It’s been oddly interesting!
New Year’s Eve was my biggest challenge yet. I didn’t feel tempted to drink but felt like something was missing. I guess it was like a craving for the old me, the freedom to have what I wanted, when I wanted, and as much as I wanted, in abundance. My type of drinking was the ultimate binge. As much as humanly possible, for the longest time possible. There was no off switch.
Introducing the off switch to a stubborn old mule like me was never going to be easy and I guess last night was a bit of a low. I have always loved a party but it is very hard to party hard when you’re on an entirely different planet to the majority of your social circle/country/continent/world. And drinking Shloer. I’m worried I’m being boring, they’re worried I’m bored. If I’m honest, it was always a concern before I started Soberdom and I’m hoping that, in time, it will become easier and the party animal will return, just in a different form!
Happy New Year to you all and welcome to all the Dry January contenders .. there’s plenty of room on my wagon, just hold on tight, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride 🖤
I’ve done it! I’ve actually survived what I consider to be one of the biggest boozing weekends of the year, totally and utterly stone cold sober! What a great reason to celebrate with .. a large Elderflower Presse!
And how do I feel? I feel happy, clear headed, well rested and ready for the week ahead, with money in my pocket rather than behind the bar at a boozer! Oh, and a teeny weeny bit smug. Just a teeny tiny bit obviously …
Soberdom is certainly making me evaluate my old drinking habits and realise how much unnecessary booze I was putting away . This exact weekend last year, I sank (probably) most of a bottle of Hendricks, several bottles of wine, enough Expresso Martinis to literally put me off them for life, plus a variety of shots and other delights that I’ve completely erased from my conscious brain. This year, I’m fizzing full of Elderflower, Ginger and vitamin C.
Soberdom has also made me evaluate how much time drinking takes up. Not only the lost hours from the first sip to the last glug, but the sluggishness the morning after, the inability to do simple tasks, the sketchy, interrupted, pointless sleep that cures nothing. Hangovers are no longer an early morning affair. They last for days, robbing time and energy, leaving nothing but anxiousness in their wake.
Now, my chores are done, I’m sleeping well and for many uninterrupted hours. I feel energised and organised and of course, have found the time to write and share my experience.
Finally, before I reunite with my pillow, a massive thank you to all those who are taking the time to encourage me and support me through this journey. You all rock 💋
So, the question on everyone’s lips is ‘why’?
Why on Earth would you give up wine? Why would you start before New Year? Why would you put that kind of pressure on yourself? Why can’t you just cut down? Why a year?
The idea came to me when I saw on article on Facebook a couple of months ago, showing various peoples’ faces before and after giving up the poison. The difference was incredible and I thought ‘I want to give that a go’. This combined with (at least) 25 years of horrific hangovers, too many later than late nights to mention and probably drinking sufficient funds to purchase a mansion, I thought I’d be kind to myself and give myself a break.
I have done a bit of research .. there are normal people out there, just like me, who’ve had enough. The recommendation is to abstain for a month, then 3 months, onto 6 months, then on to the year. The consensus seems to be by that stage, that there’s no turning back, that you don’t revert to your old ways and that the end result is a much happier, healthier you. I guess only time will tell but I’m looking forward to the journey …
So why set up a blog? Well, I thought it might help me keep on the straight and narrow and share my experiences, good or bad. I also thought it might fill some of the extra hours I will regain not droning on in some poor souls’ ear at 3am or lying in bed all day, stuffing my face with carbs. I also want to track weight loss, money saved, hours regained, how relationships change and gauge people’s reactions .. some have been priceless so far, but more about that later.
Anyway, I’m 17 days in and feeling positive, even with party season almost upon us. I am determined to do this and hope that you will all support me along the way .. any ideas for soberdom drinkie poos greatly received ❤️
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