Feeling 3-6-5 SOBER
I’m a girl who is rather partial to a G-and-sugarfree-T. A glass (ok, goblet) of Pinot. A ladle of Poor Man’s Sangria (red wine with ginger beer and cubes of pineapple and apple floating about). So it’s not all that startling that upon saying I am doing 2019 Alcohol-Free, I on the oft get one of three reactions.
- A laugh and, “You’ll never be able to do that!”
- The, “Why?!”
Let me enlighten you.
I’ve always been (aside from a brief hermit stage early-Uni) a bit of a party girl. I have somewhat of a rep for being a little “wild”. The one that would never be asked to Sober D, because on reaching the destination I would be encouraged to let loose, and well, let loose.
Plus, I love (loved?) how alcohol makes me feel. Concernless, blithe, free.Especially throughout the intense eating-issues-era of my life, when it was the only time I wouldn’t agonise over what I consumed (until the morning, that is). I had a list I wrote a few years ago of my favourite feelings, of which “tipsy” featured at number three. But along with that “freedom” more often than not comes recklessness, carelessness and sometimes thoughtless word and action.
We don’t need examples; I’m pretty sure anyone that’s had a big night in their life could say the same and knows exactly what kind of things I am referring to. (A night incarcerated, anyone?).
Plus, I’m a bit of a blacker. That being that after three drinks or so, my mind decides to blank and in the morning it’s a barren space of no memory. There’s been many a time where a four-hour window has me completely conscious at the time, but renders no recollection later. The next day when people talk about happened, and what I said and did, it’s like they’re talking about someone else. When I was 19 to 23, it was funny. Now I see it as scary – and rather stupid.
It’s been a few years in the making, but especially as of the last six months I feel I’ve really changed. Something in me has shifted. I guess in learning from less-than-ideal action, minor and major mistakes and getting to know myself more and gaining in self-awareness, I’ve realised and come to accept that alcohol and myself just don’t mix very well.
I don’t really like myself when I’m on the wines.
I have what started as a mere idea and has now come to be a great goal of mine: to be elevated from the inner, not a synthetic means. Meaning using modes and means within myself (yoga, mediation, breathing, so forth), rather than an external source that gives you a fake, false and temporary sense of being happy. I want to be comfortable in situations without the need of alcohol to qualm nerves; I want to be amusing and interesting without the buoyancy of a drink or two; I want to not have to rely on being under the influence to have a good time.
When I first said I wasn’t going to drink for a bit, I felt a little sad. A little sad about losing my identity as “Poppy – the fun one”, about missing the delicious cloud that surrounds my busy mind and calms it down when taking in a big gulp of Merlot, of being anti-social and not part of fun things. But then I realised that over the past two years, mainly six months, I’ve already been slowly pulling away from that side of myself with the rark ups getting fewer and further between.
January wasn’t hard to get through with saying no to glass of wine or mojito mix here and there. But February has held a few occasions where alcohol has been quite forefront, and – at times – almost forced upon me. At one of my best friend’s Hen’s night, I drunk kombucha out of a wine glass. At the wedding, I went and got blackcurrant cordial and ginger beer and made a medley so it looked like I was downing red wines (saluti-ing all over the show with my bogus beverage; when I went to leave someone tried to take my keys off me, until I showed them the truth of my concoction). I went for a drink with some friends and had an iced tea in a pint glass and told them it had vodka in it. And weekend just been, I straight up said I just wasn’t drinking.
I don’t know why for the first three instances I pretended I was partaking in getting pissed. A little embarrassed? To play pretend I was to myself? Fear of judgement? So that it wouldn’t dampen the good times of the others to know I wasn’t? Maybe all the above.
It makes me sad I felt I had to lie. I know in the drinks-with-friends situation, I should’ve just said – they’re the kind of people who would never ever judge me for it. But something held me back from telling of my time-off the tipples.
Drinking and being drunk is such an accepted act in New Zealand; being bladdered and “having a good time” is considered a social norm. Passing out from too much is funny, being sloshed and falling over is hilarious and, “Sarah was so wasted last night! She was vomiting everywhere” is just a totally tolerated thing.
Case in point, Saturday night. I was getting cans chucked at me, bottles pushed under my nose, comments like, “You’ve become so boring”, “The old Poppy would’ve”, “Just have one! Promise I won’t let you get out of control.” In the past, such a situation would end up with me giving in. But last night I just kept saying no. No, no, no.
And I was actually a little fucked off that some people couldn’t seem to accept that and respect my No. But then I realised that many a time in the past, I was the one shoving a can under another’s nose.
But do you know the massively surprising thing?
I don’t even want to drink.
Not at all. It’s almost like I’ve become a little scared of it.
I don’t like the person I become when I’m drinking and getting drunk. I believe it enhances my error-making, showcases my shortcomings and brings out my bad bits. Plus, awaking in a state of anxiety about what I may have done or said the night before isn’t overly appealing. I get asked about if I crave it, if I miss it, but it’s the total truth in saying no – it’s pure JOMO, in the Joy Of Missing Out. I LOVE waking up with a clear head, clear conscience and just all-round clearness about myself.
I’m not saying never. I’m flirting with the idea of Sziget this year, and I kind of can’t see myself in that seven-day situation without consuming a cup of something. But then again, I cansee it; I think I’m a better person without alcohol in my life.
I’m not saying everyone should stop drinking – don’t worry, I haven’t gone all self-righteous and think the world should go sober. Mate, if you love your savvy, go hard! I just believe for my personal self, it doesn’t sit well with me.
I think it’s going to be a very interesting year. Cheers to that (with my glass of almond milk).