An Alcohol Free Christmas

I am very overdue an accountability post.  In my head I have been keeping up this blog, but in reality I haven’t.  But the good news is that I am still Alcohol Free and its been a great few months.  I have gone to weddings, parties, and holidays (admittedly with my teenager so probably easy enough to avoid the booze there), and I have never had really strong urges to drink.  Even when I got stranded in Liverpool during Storm Ophelia, and was feeling really stressed, it didn’t really cross my mind to “drown my troubles.”

The biggest challenge I faced so far, was when we had some friends over who had recently got married, and my husband opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate with them.  I have always loved champagne so this was a test.   It was hard to raise my glass of sparkling water in a toast, but I did it, and I was so glad I didn’t give in afterwards.

I was nervous about Christmas Day because the bottle or champagne or prosecco would always have been part of my tradition on Christmas Morning.  So I did the safe thing and bought AF Sparkling.

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Alcohol Free Sparkling. Bit disappointing!

The bottle looked kinda the same as the real thing, the pop of the cork was fantastic but the beverage itself was disappointing….. it is just carbonated grape juice, which I would have known, if I had read the ingredient list!  However it served its purpose, looked nice in a champagne glass and got me over the bump.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch.  I drank lots of sparkling water with elderflower cordial (this Bottle Green one is good) and I really didn’t miss wine at all.  In fact after a long dinner, I didn’t feel bloated and sleepy as I normally would, and I have to believe that is because I was sober.

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bottle green cordial

Looking forward I am feeling stronger about this decision, and I know I will carry it through for at least 12 months.  I am almost afraid to say it out loud, but right now I think I might continue to do this forever.

One thing I am really grateful for is that my friends and family largely respect my decision, and don’t make a big deal of it.  This definitely makes it easier for me to continue.  People are interested and some want a story or reason for my decision, but most accept that it is a positive thing not a negative one.

 

30 days… I am not an addict

Yesterday I read an article on One Year no Beer, that said if you can’t give up alcohol for 30 days, then you are addicted.  I never really thought I was an addict, but I am pleased to have that confirmed for me.

Read the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ruari-fairbairns/stop-drinking-addiction_b_9110896.html

The funny thing is I grew up in a family of non-drinkers.  Neither of my parents ever drank alcohol, one sister and one brother never did either.  I didn’t drink until I was almost 18, which by today’s standards in Ireland is old.  I am a bit long in the tooth now, to still be resisting the idea that my parents knew best, because it turns out that maybe they did…..don’t they usually?

So after 30 days, I haven’t had any physical difficulties with the exception of one evening when I took a delicious home made goat’s cheese pizza out of the oven, and it smelled so good, that I desperately wanted a glass of Malbec to drink with it.  But I just thought…..No I do not want that, I only THINK I want that. So I replaced the image of the big glass of wine in my head with a nice refreshing sparkling water with ice, mint and lemon and I was Ok again.  I was enormously pleased with myself; It is hard to beat the smug bastard feeling that goes with this new way of life.

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I have told some friends what I am doing, and I have had a range of reactions, from “I want to do that” to “I would throw myself off the pier if I couldn’t drink again”  I’m not trying to make a statement or tell anyone else what to do, but some people do seem to take it personally.  There are some friends who I haven’t told yet, and I am not really looking forward to it, but I feel the best way for me is little steps, just one day at a time.

When I look forward to the next few months, I see a wedding, a Ball, a weekend away with my hill walking buddies, and lots of Christmas nights out alchohol free to work through.  I don’t know what I am more focused on: the lack of booze, other people’s reactions to my not drinking, or putting in long nights looking at other people getting drunk.  However, I am feeling strong and hopeful that I can keep going.  I am doing lots more walking and even took out the bike a few times, which is always something I resisted.  I am waking up earlier, feeling less tired and reading more too, so its all good.

Hold the Gin, I don’t want it.