New Year came and went and I had no intention of giving up on any of the stuff that made my world go round… drinking, smoking, rock n roll, tasty sandwiches, etc. So it was belatedly that I joined the party (so to speak) with the tiny inkling of a feeling that my life might be vastly improved if I tried to give up some of these things. Drinking and smoking to be precise. And takeaways. And Coca Cola. Alright, it was a vague list. I was hungover at the time.
Weirdly, for an ‘I’m never drinking again’ moment, it has actually happened. One too many days lost to a hangover, and the terror of finding receipts in my bag that said “£30.00: WHAT?” was obviously Not A Good Thing. I set myself the entirely arbitrary goal of 6 months without any alcohol or smoking, and here’s how that went down.
I’m now 1 month in, and I’ve had a blast. I’ve come to a few not-earth-shattering realisations. My skin has (just) started to improve and my bank balance is as heartbreakingly, bafflingly awful as ever.
1. A confession: my smoking days were pretty much behind me (except when I was drunk) so without drinking in the picture I knew this wouldn’t actually be ‘an achievement’ at all. But I added it in there for maximum smugness.
2. My first attempt to join a dancefloor in a cold, sweaty-palmed state of sobriety probably looked hilarious. In an awful way. I flailed around, excruciatingly awkwardly. I sat down briefly on an empty chair by a speaker. I tried to convince myself that nobody cared. As the night wore on I got too tired and happy to care anymore and I joined that dancefloor like tiny stylish Prince The Musician. I was hoping that giving up tasty beer wouldn’t mean giving up extravagantly terrible dancing, and the moral of the story is: it doesn’t! You can still dance sober. You just have to sweat through the fear, my friends. Sweat through the fear and think of Prince.
3. Having believed I’d ‘mastered’ sober dancing, I was strutting my stuff (read: waving my arms) at a party amongst a bunch of people when somebody asked me ‘just to check’, if I was sober-dancing. A little deflated, I tucked my arm-waving move away for good. I made myself a cup of tea.
4. Often a Friday night looked like this:
5. I started to drink really strong coffee. I took coffee in a flask everywhere just in case there wasn’t coffee where I was going. I felt a little anxious if there was no clear path to coffee at any given time. I’m fine with that. Life has to have some (caffeine) ups and downs.
6. I was painfully aware of how I had scoffed at sober people in the past (not to their faces. Uh… much). I was also incredibly glad and grateful that nobody scoffed in my face. I made a mental note not to preach to anyone that my weekends are so much better without a hangover. I used to hate those people.
7. Unfortunately, for anyone thinking of giving the booze a rest for a while, the following discoveries were made. I didn’t feel any more energetic (hence the bowl of berries. I am now trying to see if vitamins live up to their outrageous claims). I actually slept more. I enjoyed parties exactly as much as I always have. Not more or less. Mysteriously, I didn’t manage to save any money. Sorry. No ecstatic high-on-life moment occurred. But maybe my liver is secretly glad.
8. Mystery solved – erstwhile booze money got spent on shoes. Here’s a little peek below.
I got these Irregular Choice sweeties for £3.50 in a charity shop. Cons: they’re actually a size too small. They’re bonafide man-repellers. They don’t go with anything. Pros: TURQUOISE BOWS! I’ll chop my toes off, whatever.
I also got some super cute ‘brogues’ as Vogue might say. They’re dorky. I’m dorky too.
So there we go. One month in and it seems pretty alright. I’ve shouted ‘EROTIC’ at somebody in a nightclub, I’ve danced to Let’s Get Ready to Rumble, that PJ and Duncan classic, I’ve slept a sound 14 hours in one go, and I’ve bought things I don’t even remotely need. So no change really. Except I look a little less bedraggled, I think. And I fall over in public 90% less than I used to.