Wednesday, 20 February 2008

The Happy Teetotaler

Well I never thought I'd find myself saying this, but I'm becoming a happy teetotaler :)

I first tried the no alcohol experiment during Lent last year and it was, quite frankly, one of the most psychologically horrendous experiences of my entire life.

Counting the days and hours to go before I could next indulge in my preferred tipple, I wound myself up to the extent that I was conscious 24/7 of what I was missing out on.

Then I'd fall off the wagon, have a couple, feel guilty, and fantasise some more about the day there'd be no arbitrary limit to my G and T consumption...

Of course, come the end of Lent there was a counter-reaction of major proportions.

All the pent up desires for champagne cocktails, Belgian beer, single malts, or a simple pint of ale, resolved themselves in a six-month long fiesta that probably inflicted more damage on my poor liver than if the month and a half of abstention had never happened.

Notwithstanding last year's false start I decided to do the same again, if only to attempt to break the cycle of receptions and dinners that was adding metres, not centimetres, to my waistline.

And I'm pleasantly surprised to find it's a lot easier this time around.

Perhaps I'm just more self-aware, more mature, or just tired of over-indulgence. Perhaps it's because the calorie count of a glass of Chardonnay has finally been rammed home. Perhaps it's just because I hate hangovers even more than I love alcohol.

Whatever the reason, I feel like I don't want to go back to those old ways. I had a beer the other day - cheating I know! - but I didn't feel guilty unlike last year, when I mentally chalked up all my black marks and flagellated myself with them. I want to be in a position where a drink is just a drink, not two, three or four.

And as I was sitting in a Sushi place last night sipping green tea with a friend who's the life and soul of the party but a confirmed teetotaler for well over a year now (black outs and bad boys put an end to that apparently) I realised I was actually a lot happier like that than rolling into bed after my traditional 'few'.

If only I could transfer that attitude to my smoking habit. But noone's perfect, right?


Tristan said...

I've had a similar experience.

I tried giving up for lent once and found it really difficult. Now I probably go a month or so without drinking and I don't notice it.

Living with a teetotaler probably helps though :)

I've known quite a few teetotalers who are more the life and soul of the party than most drinkers as well.

Consider This said...

Drunks always think they are the life and soul of the party - but few others would tend to agree. Unless puking on your host's shoes or chatting up their girlfriend is considered an estimable party trick.

So I agree - staying sober saves face as well as money. Having said that, the experiment is certainly less than flawless.

Had two shots of Ukrainian vodka last night to chase down a dinner of borst and sauerkraut - to authenticate the experience of course.

My friend was winding me up about it but the point, like you say, is to get used to cutting down, not flagellate yourself for every little indulgence...

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