A couple of months ago, I decided to go on a health kick and give up drinking for a week or so. Six weeks later, I had my first wine.
Ive always been convinced I could never hide a pregnancy because sober-me would come as such a shock to those around me. Funnily enough (maybe due to my commitment to Spinsterhood), no one even thought that was the reason. In fact the support I received was almost scary, like everyone I knew had made a secret pact to get me off the booze.
During my sober-stretch, I stumbled on an article about ‘why women drink‘. The reasons they gave aren’t my reasons, but in the long sober nights, I had plenty of time to analyse my drinking, so here’s what I learned:
I drink because I love wine
I love the taste, the colour, the variety, the glasses. I love the whole experience of lying back in the gold lounge sipping red wine, or lounging in the sun cackling over a glass of sparkling. Wine is delicious and the associations I have with it in my brain hold strong. I can do those activities without wine, but in all honesty, they are just not as fun.
I drink because I love lively conversation
A lot of people drink to cure their social awkwardness, I don’t. I’m just not big on polite chat and quiet dinners. I learn through conversation and suspect I drink to get the chat flowing and to fill the gaps between. That was a tragic realisation and from now on, I have committed to just heading home if the vibe is not there.
I drink because I am a yes person
Before my six weeks of sobriety, I found myself out 6 nights a week. I’m not complaining, those were great times. But turns out wine is not as good for you as vegetables are. I struggle to say no. If anyone wants to hang out with me, my calm and considered answer is usually ‘YES PLEASE WHEN? CAN WE HANG OUT NOW? ILL LEAVE THE OFFICE IN 2 AND HEAD TO THE BAR’. Not drinking gave me plenty of opportunities to pause and decide if I even felt like going out. Funnily enough, sometimes, I just didn’t.
I drink because Im lazy
Yup, we should all organise walks after work and catchup over yoga, but what other activity is so low maintenance that all you need to do is to turn up with $10? In the last 6 weeks, I have largely just done what Id usually do, sans booze. It turns out, its not just the booze, its the ease of heading to a bar that’s appealing. I am working on some new interests, because I don’t want a more sober life to equal more tv time, but Im yet to figure out a plan for how to fill the hours. Yes, another tragic realisation.
What I have Learned
- It’s a myth that our ‘drinking culture’ puts pressure on people. Not only did drinking very rarely even get a mention, when it did, it just wasn’t a thing. I suspect people don’t care about drinking as much as they do about a sad sack in the middle of the bar. ‘Go on, have a drink’ may just be code for ‘liven up a little’. Harsh but true.
- I need to disassociate ‘fun’ from ‘alcohol’. In all honesty, Im not sure how
- Drinking is very fattening
- You sleep much better when you don’t drink
- You get a lot of colds when you don’t drink. Or maybe it’s just this winter
- Not drinking is not nearly as hard as I thought. Now Im back off the wagon, I still plan to keep it to a maximum of once a week and in the short term, only for ‘special’ occasions. I still think I have a lot to learn