Over Christmas we booked an easter holiday and I vowed that I would get myself ‘California-ready’ by April. I thought a good place to start would probably be cutting out alcohol and upping my exercise and since January has its own social media event for that.. I decided to join in.
On New Years Day my timeline was filled with pictures of pints and glasses of wine with captions like ‘lasted 12 hours’ or ‘not so dry january for me’ – funny – but just a few days in I noticed that there seemed to be a stigma to cutting back/giving up altogether.
I saw one particular tweet which suggested that anyone who saw giving up alcohol as a real challenge must have a problem. That riled me a little because the subsequent responses from this tweeter revealed that she wasn’t really much of a drinker and never saw the appeal. I personally could take or leave desserts but I’m not here preaching to those of you who can’t give up chocolate for a month that maybe you have a ‘problem’ *head tilt, condescending eye-squint*
Part of me was irritated because I’d made a healthy choice and was being judged for it. Part of me was irritated because I live with a man who rarely drinks and I’ve often felt like he’s silently judging my drinking.. and so perhaps I was a little sensitive.
I’m more than halfway through as I write this and so far the biggest pro has been the possibility (I haven’t actually done it) that I could hop in my car and go somewhere at any time. If I fancy something at 11pm and the shop is open.. I can go (again.. I haven’t but it’s nice to know I could) without bothering anyone else. This is kind of redundant, however, because my husband (as previously mentioned) doesn’t really ever drink and is fairly amiable when it comes to popping out for late nigh cravings anyway.
I’ve had a b*tch of a cold all month and so I haven’t felt as energetic and fresh as I’d imagined I would (far from it) and I’ve lost a total of 2lbs.. most of which can be attributed to my illness and lack of appetite because I haven’t done a scrap of exercise.
We’ve just booked a night away for our anniversary next week and there’s no way I wont be partaking in a celebratory glass of something while we’re there so I’ve decided to pack in now and there’s a bottle of my favourite wine chilling in the fridge for this evening.
I thought I’d feel great giving up alcohol for a month but instead I felt judged for choosing to do it and miserable for depriving myself. When I go out out (which isn’t often) I can end up with some pretty hellish hangovers but in an average week I can stretch a bottle of wine over several evenings and I don’t feel groggy on a Sunday morning so I don’t think it’s a huge benefit for me to give it up.
I enjoy the ritual of pouring the drink, holding the giant glass (a quarter full) while watching TV signifies that it’s time to relax. I’ve tried to replace that ritual this month with other things. Hot baths with essential oils, tea, my night nurse habit may or may not be back.. just give me that glass of wine.
I felt as though admitting that I wanted a drink was admitting that I had a problem but really, I don’t care. Perhaps I do. Maybe feeding that habit has created a problem.. but if this is it, I’m cool with it. I realised that I had been shamed – by strangers on the internet – and as such had lost sight of the positive in what I was doing and once you’re doing it for someone else more than for yourself.. the whole thing is a lot less empowering.
So, I’m out. It’s about to be a whirlwind of celebrations between our anniversary, my birthday, valentines and my book finally being released.. and so I’ll eat, drink and worry about my california body when I get there.