…for plenty of reasons, but lately because of my recent dabbles with temporary teetotalism.
You see, this two year adventure is actually fresh off the back of a one year adventure which finished less than a month ago, having decided to give up alcohol for 365 days straight (or actually 366 as it turned out, damn that sneaky leap-year).
Not a drop of alcohol passed my lips for the entire year, and I’ll be honest: it was hard. I spent the first six months religiously counting how many days had gone by, and the second marking how many days there were to go. The anticipation was killing me. I built up that first sip of drink into something monumental: a nectar for the gods. I could hardly stand the wait. Each day crept by more slowly than the last; it seemed that life could only begin once I was drinking again.
It’s only in the last month or so that I’ve realised how misplaced that anticipation was. The first sip of champers was nothing special. My first thought was: is this it? Have I really spent the last year looking forward to this? And it hit me that the ‘forbidden fruit’ syndrome I’d experience was just that. A psychological trick. Dieting makes food seem infinitely precious, after all.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an evangelical born again teetotaller – I will miss drinking and all the rituals and contexts that go with it. A glass of wine with dinner; a pint of real ale by the fire; a cold lager in the sun; the warm glow of a brandy on a cold night. But I think it is a worthwhile pursuit for any drinker to spend time socialising, relaxing and celebrating without falling back on an addictive drug. (As a psychology student and a general brain geek, I’m fascinated by addiction, which is something I’ll bang on about at some point no doubt).
I will be raising money for charity (Alcohol Concern, appropriately enough). And I will also endeavour to appreciate the many freedoms and pleasures offered by a stint of teetotalism (saved money, lost weight, no hangovers, clear thinking, etc etc). I’ll blog here about the difficulties, pleasures and insights (if any) offered by the experience.
So, until this whole thing kicks off on 1st Jan, I will be spending the next few days glugging on wine, beer and anything I can get my hands on. Until then, cheers!