Tuesday, 19 August 2014


“Aaaaaaa Ya Ya Ya Ya, Ya Ya Ya Ya

Drink Yourself More Bliss
Forget about the last one get yourself another
Drink Yourself More Bliss
Forget about the last one get yourself another”

Bliss – Th’ Dudes

For as long as I can remember, alcohol has been a part of my life. I, like most people, grew up with alcohol being served to adults and I would get the occasional sip. As a teenager I dabbled with different drinks at parties, though I was never considered to be a wild child who got drunk at parties every weekend. In fact, my parents still laugh at how little my tolerance can be. A doctor once described me as a binge drinker; it sounded terrible at the time but I guess he was right – I hardly drink during the week, but now and then I will have a big night on the booze.

After my trip to USA, where nearly every night involved drinking, I decided to take a much-needed detox for the last two weeks of June. The detox turned into an unofficial Dry July and my abstinence has continued into August, apart from one very drunken night on my birthday a few weeks ago. I haven’t even participated in a Friday night drink or been tempted by a glass of wine after a long day at work. My drink of choice lately has been the classic orange juice or a soda water with lime. In terms of health I have felt great – my weekends have been much more productive without a half day hangover. And, to be honest, I much prefer the way I act when I’m not on the booze – lately I have felt I am just one drink away from saying or doing something I will very much regret.

Over the past few months it has been interesting monitoring the thoughts of others when I tell them I’m not drinking. Their reactions ranged from “good for you” to “fuck that” to “do you think you can not drink for that long?” and, my personal favourite, “you should drink tonight anyway”. It seems many people could not understand why I needed to abstain from drinking and seemed to think one drink couldn’t hurt. And they are right – one drink really wouldn’t hurt. But it was the attitude that I needed alcohol to have a good time that really got me thinking.  

I very deliberately picked a song that says get another drink for this blog. When I was in Arizona a few months ago someone said to me “where’s your drink?” I said I had finished it and they said, “so get another one, that’s what people usually do in bars”.  Here’s the thing about our society: every function, every work event, every party from a raging to 21st to a civilised dinner party includes alcohol, because that is what is normal. I am not starting a crusade to change this – because I know I never will - but what I wish would change is the way people react when you say you aren’t having any alcohol. I feel like I am being unnecessarily judged for choosing to abstain, like it’s a really big deal and people think you are either a hero or crazy for sticking to the orange juice. And I felt like I had to explain myself every time someone asked what I was drinking and saying something like “I’m doing Dry July so I just have my bottle of soda water!”

I don’t know how long this abstinence will last – it started out as a health thing, then turned into a personal challenge, and now I rarely feel like an alcoholic drink. I’ll most likely start drinking again at social occasions, but I’ll do it because I want to and because I want the taste of that particular drink, and not because society says should have some booze in my hand. The best bit of the past few alcohol free months is that I really have proved to myself I can have fun without being on the piss.  

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