Day 259

As much as I love my lapses into self-pity, they are becoming increasingly difficult to support for long periods of time. Indeed, in a city like Paris with all of it’s pretty distractions, it is almost impossible to wallow in your own misery for too long before you feel like you’re missing out on a happiness that is desperate for you to grasp it. Consider it like a hot bath – you have to get out just before your own grime sticks back to your clean skin. Tasty.

From people to places, parties to pastries (pistachio-almond pain au chocolat; good God y’all!), this past week has been coaxing me out of my lull with unfailing skill. As I said last week (251) the need to detach has been the dominant force in my make up recently; but I only want to detach from the crap. The crap can go. Bye-bye crap. The problem with drinking (for me anyways) is that that wall of numbing distance often extended to the good, though I didn’t really notice. Everything lost its urgency and one-night friendships/stands/wonders, were left at just that. I now actually follow up with drunken friends I meet in bathrooms or in the smoking area, and have been pleasantly surprised. Kindness is more appreciated because I see it with sober eyes and not through a gin-soaked haze which makes everyone appear nicer than they actually. The erratic, frantic pace of a tequila-fused night is significantly slowed-down, and when having a good time, you can really savour every moment, every connection, and luxuriate in the company of people who make you remember that you’re young, healthy and bursting with energy and that a little bit of sadness shouldn’t put a stopper to all the good stuff (Day 78).

Now, do I wish that I could have all this with an Elderflower Collins in hand? Only hell yes. But really, considering this emotional yoyo I seem to be living, adding liquor and stirring gently doesn’t seem like a particularly bright idea. Though, with about 100 days resting, I feel like I may be starting to really realise what I inadvertently set out to do; that feelings happen with or without alcohol (I know right, revolutionary stuff here, guys!). However I wish I’d known that sooner. It’s not every emotion that needs its own tailor made cocktail. Sometimes shit will go down and you just have to deal with it. To cry if you need to, because it doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human. And more importantly, to realise that a G&T will never support you the way your friends will. That the beauty in the things around you is way more vibrant and colourful that a multi-layered concoction with an umbrella in it.

And how wonderful if you can establish that perfect balance where you can experience all the best of reality with that lovely wave of soft-drunkeness to sand down the edges. Genius.

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Day 251

It’s funny that time is often used as a softer. The longer you do something, the easier it gets. But right now is feeling like an absence makes the heart grow fonder type affair.

It’s been 251 days since I stopped drinking. I am still firmly on the wagon, but if ever I was about to slip it would be now. Alcohol is a great thing in moderation and, (with the right people) even in excess it can still be thoroughly enjoyable. A lot of people like it for loss of inhibition; you become more talkative, you dance on tables and you get with gorgeous strangers and the headache the next morning only serves to remind you of how up you turnt.

I used to think that’s why I liked it, however with the knowledge I have gained in being without it for so long, I realise that that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t the lack of inhibitions, it was the distance it put between me and other people which gave the impression of being braver. It was the detachment that made me not give a crap that I found so liberating. And worryingly it wasn’t being confined to just crazy nights out. The detachment I was craving was becoming a part of my day to day life. In my early blog posts, I spoke a lot about being in control, feeling what needed to be felt and facing up to situations where usually I’d just say ‘sod it’ and go and party. While this is a more mature and beneficial thing, it can be really exhausting.

I haven’t written in a long time because I’ve been caught up in a string of events (mainly good) which needed me to be fully emotionally available and get swept in the tide of living and not reflection. Until now. Now I have cause for reflection and more than ever; I want a drink. Sometimes reality is this bitchslap in the face and something to numb it down is essential. I have just realised that I am in foreign country and all my long-term support lines are on a different land mass*. I think I also may have been a bit in love, and I might have delayed heartbreak or something. Basically, I’m feeling a bit low and homesick and quite vulnerable, and this is where I’d have a wild night and forget about it for a while, but I can’t do that. I have to face this reality completely unaided.

Unfortunately, I am not in the habit of breaking promises to myself (except about dieting, but who would!) and honestly, I am so close to a home-run that the momentary satisfaction of a G&T the size of my head would pale in comparison to the disappointment of letting myself down. I hope that I have enough strength and determination to get myself out of this pit unaided by alcohol – though, of course I will go out and watch my friends do shots.

Urgh, I will keep you posted (I promise!). In the meantime, if you hear of a chocolate biscuit shortage in Paris, that’s probably my fault. Soz.

*Note to my wonderful friends here in Paris. You have been essential to me feeling so comfortable here. Just nothing can replace a hug from Mum!

DAY 100!!!!

Right, haven’t updated in a while what with the big move to Gay Paris, but what better time to get my blog on than my first big milestone of 100 ALCOHOL FREE DAYS! I have withstood Christmas, New Year’s, concert after-parties, goodbye drinks, welcome drinks, drinks for no reason drinks, cheap Paris 2 euro wine gatherings and around 14 weekends without caving! Sure, I now have a chocolate addiction bordering on obsessive and a mild smoking habit, but who cares? 100 bloody days and I couldn’t be prouder. For someone who was on a first-name basis with most of the bartenders at my local haunts, I’ve managed to shock myself with my willpower.

I know a lot of Dryathletes who went the whole of January without touching the sauce (Well Done, guys!), but  I’ve had to read countless ‘Back on the Lash’ status updates  while slowly turning a jealous shade of green and eating slabs of cheap chocolate. I have another 265 days of this. 265! It’s enough to make you reach for the drinks cabinet!

However, Good things: I feel so much control over my actions, the clarity and focus I’ve been having has been almost revelatory. I’ve completely uprooted myself and am in the process of making a whole new life in a foreign country; what with the flat-hunting, job-hunting, friend-making, course-registering, music-making, language-adjusting and the fact that my new place is on the 7th floor WITHOUT A LIFT(!!!!!!),  I honestly doubt I would have had the energy if I was nursing hangovers every other day, not to mention the lack of money (I could easily spend £40-60 a night) to get myself settled as quick as I have.

Not so good things: Wine, though! I had dinner with my boss and his family last night. It was a mix-match meal at home consisting of Foie Gras (weird but delicious), almond and anchovy stuffed olives, some pungent cheese, green beans and wine half as old as me.  Back in UK, drinking a glass of 2012 Blossom Hill was about as fancy as I got, so turning down a 2003 Merlot nearly bought a tear to my eye. I consoled myself with some pistachio biscuits on the way home, but it wasn’t the same.

Highs and lows are to be expected though, but I still have yet to regret this decision. Now that I’m settled in, I hope to keep you informed of my progress in beautiful Paris. For now though, I simply must slip into something stripy and go grab a baguette!

Day 78

Apparently, you can still get hangovers if you don’t drink.

I’ve just had a great London Lash weekend without a single drop of booze passing my perfectly rouged lips (I invested in red lipstick; it took 14 testers and a migraine…and a small breakdown in Boots on Carnaby Street but I got there!) What with not drinking, I’ve become a bit choosy about who I hang out with, leading to a grand epithany: if you have interesting and fun friends who you actually like, you don’t need to drink to have a decent time. Because let’s face it; if you’re out with boring people and you get drunk, it doesn’t make them interesting, it just makes you drunk enough to ignore how boring they are. 

So Friday was spent with a group of friends, all of which were on the sauce and had to leave by 11pm (lightweights!). I on the other hand wanted to find a table to dance on, and luckily one of them was drunk enough to indulge me. Unfortunately, slut-dropping on table-tops never came to pass, but he entertained me with a drunken commentary on his active sex life with his nose about an inch from my face. Epic stuff.

Saturday too, was great. Not needing my after-boozing 12 hour sleep, I was able to meet a friend for the #revoke377 protest outside India House, and after a couple of hours of ferocious screaming for a worthy cause, we had dinner and shared an ice cream sundae the size of Kanye West’s ego. 

After that we went gaying in Candy Bar for the last night where we met another fun friend of mine. Having been denied dancing like a video-bitch the previous night, I was ready to get my (alcohol-free) drank on and cut more shapes than toddler with safety scissors. Wish granted! I had an absolute riot and even a cheeky kiss with someone who wouldn’t morph into a Danny DeVito lookalike when the effects of my ginless tonic wore off. 

So, all in all, I’m out of my previous rut (see Day 72) and living proof to all you Dryathletes, that life without gin is just about worth living, promise promise, However, my throat is raw from singing along to every Pitbull song, I just got a text from someone I don’t entirely remember, and my jacket smells like cigarettes and stale beer, so I guess even sober, you can’t escape all the effects of night on the town. Not that I’d ever complain…

Day 72

So, 2014 is truly underway and I’ve been trying to contradict my firm belief that Bailey’s ice cream and Cointreau soaked amaretti biscuits aren’t alcohol. Bummer. It’s the close of the festive season and I move back to Paris in less than two weeks, however I find myself steering clear of the whole loud-music-lots-of-people type atmosphere – an atmosphere that used to be completely my element. It’s not so much that I miss necking vodka shots with my friends, so much as the whole vibe that accompanies going on the lash. 

Which prompts the question: Am I boring without alcohol?

This thought has popped up and been promptly dismissed a couple of times now, but considering I’ve spent the first weekend of the year in slipper-socks sipping cinnamon-laced hot chocolate whilst glued to the telly, I’m beginning to think it may have some truth to it. Which is a mega depressing realisation. 

Is the confidence I usually exude in social situations, entirely (or at least largely) dependent on the G&T in my hand? I mean no one has yawned in my face when I haven’t been drinking, but mingling and making small talk suddenly seems so laborious where it once felt so easy and enjoyable. And it’s not that I’ve turned into a miserable sod so much as I’m more aware of the effort it takes to be a social butterfly.

This new year has to be different to the last; what with the change of country, course, profession and friends it’s probably no wonder I feel a little out of my depth. I have lots of new things to be excited about and  my interests are growing and changing, it seems the removal of alcohol is making me reevaluate my social priorities. Maybe I’m being too quick to put myself down just because the thought of cultivating a friendship in the ladies’ toilets has lost its appeal.

Still, I hope I don’t turn into a social snob and I pray I will always appreciate the beauty of a well-timed slut drop, because drunk or sober, isn’t that all that really matters?

This week’s resolution, TURN UP!!!!

 

Oh gosh! Did I just say?

Day 65

Well this makes for delicate writing. Fear not, it is not because of the nature of this post but rather I’m trying to balance a wine glass full of Shloer in one hand, and trying not to smudge my newly painted nails. My brows are furrowed in concentration!

It’s New Year’s Eve, guys! Should auld acquaintance be forgot and may our resolutions be kept – well, at least until it comes to renewing that gym membership.

This time last year, I was swigging cheap Prosecco with the madre, anticipating the arrival of my friends before we went hard with no intention of stopping til January 1st was well underway. This year *sips alcohol-free wine substitute* will have to be a little more…reserved, though I have no intention of crawling home before 4am. 

I’ve been asked a couple of times why I didn’t just quit the booze as a New Year’s Resolution, and the answer is simple; if I do thing because of the date instead of how I feel, I can never stay motivated. Which is why my other resolutions (gym 4 times a week, volunteering more, giving up fast food and starting pilates -lol! as if) failed miserably. Whereas when I actually felt like a bloated elephant in a cow’s skin, I stuck to my appointment with the personal trainer, and when I felt like selfish little madam, I fully committed myself to helping out every week. But everyone is different.

There are a couple of initiatives for stopping drinking for the month of January, and I hope all of you who sign up realise what a brilliant thing it is. Already I have saved so much cash (not that my bank account would show the difference, Boxing Day sales ruined my life), and feel way healthier. 

Before you do however, have an amazing New Year’s Eve and Day. Enjoy the bubbly and the vodka lemonades, the G&Ts and the brandy dry gingers, or maybe a crisp, ice cold beer is more your style… Basically what I’m getting at is ‘take a cup of kindness’ inbetween shots and you’ll surely reap the benefits.

Oh God. Who am I kidding. Save yourselves!

Happy New year!!

 

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/find-an-event/charity-challenges/dryathlon

http://www.dryjanuary.org.uk/public-health/

Day 63

I suppose this is a continuation of my previous post (Day 14) but with the introduction of this question: how much is the right amount to be annoyed at someone you care about for what they do when they’re wasted?

On those rare occasions that knowing you were in the right is not enough to console you from how hurt you are, where do you draw the line of forgiving the drunken antics of others, especially when you know that you yourself were a dickhead drunk. It is so easy to ‘blame it on the goose’ when you’re having a great time, but what do you do when your friends turn as sour as the shots they’re downing?

I was at my most dramatic when I was drinking. Since I’ve stopped I’ve found myself to be relatively easy going, choosing the easy route to an easy life. Last night has left me wondering if I now under-react in pursuit of hassle-free existence.

I was out with someone I really care about yesterday. Enjoying their company and swigging back Becks Blue, it was easy to not notice that they were matching me round for round on pints of Foster’s. It was easy to relax and I was having a lovely time, and when we got a little more intimate I was delighted. That was until the drunken haze of paranoia and uncertainty settled on my friend and they ended up doing something unthoughtful and hurtful. The kind of thing you only do when you’re shit-faced.

Now, had I been drinking too, I would have exploded in a fit of rage and that would be the end of it. But I wasn’t drinking. And the full force of what had passed hit me hard without the padding numbness of drink. The emotions I felt were raw and real and I was too upset to placate the apologies of my friend with a fiery drunken row followed by a teary-eyed make-up. Instead I walked away. And today nothing has been resolved.

I wonder if I should just forgive and forget and blame it on the booze, or does this present the opportunity to face my feelings; something alcohol so often helped me avoid.

Who thought clarity could be so confusing?