In fact, at the time of publishing, I’m about seven hours away from Glory. A month of self-imposed prohibition, in aid of Cancer Research. After a period of sustained indulgence over the festive period, I was feeling all a bit, well, toxic, and it had become oh so easy to open a bottle of wine with every passing day of that particular silly season. Something had to change, and thanks to a chance comment from a friend, it struck me that I could go sober for January, for charity.
I signed up on 31 December, and had enlisted support from Pete. I didn’t expect him to stick at it with me, but he said he’d support me. He’s actually ended up being my partner in prohibition, right throughout, and it’s been invaluable support. I’m sure that his iron will have got me through a couple of evenings, but on Day 31, I’ve done it. We’ve done it.
I have had numerous conversations over the last month about alcohol. We love sharing wine. Pete loves beer (it would be his desert island luxury). We celebrate with alcohol, commiserate with alcohol and socialise with alcohol (especially in the yacht club!!!). What would we do without it for a month? How would the habits be redefined? I never thought we were alcoholics, no dependencies, just some ‘bad’ habits. Many of my friends seem to be able to take it or leave it; I’m not one of those people. I wondered if I would envy them, but I don’t. I’m pretty sure in February I shall be enjoying my glasses of wine, but I hope that I shall be more mindful about taking a glass just because I can.
Have we missed it? Yes and no… We always seeming to be talking about it! We’ve both had ‘killer’ occasions. Pete’s have been in the pub, mine have been when I’ve made the effort to cook something out of the ordinary – fish that called for a glass of Viognier on day 3, a rare steak that was crying out for a glass of Rioja. Those are the times when I’ve really missed it. Thank goodness we didn’t sell our house in January, as I would have been looking in the face of The Demon himself to wrestle over a bottle of champagne. Similarly, there hasn’t been anything so bad to want to numb the senses. The habit-formed ‘it’s 7 o’clock’ moments pass. You can distract yourself, but the momentary challenge has been there.
Did I say that I actually hate the feeling of being drunk? Merry; lovely. Drunk. No thank you. I hate the morning after feeling. It’s not as if January has been liberated from a month of bleary mornings, as that’s never really been the point of alcohol for me (in recent years, I hasten to add). Have we seen any upsides? Except raising money for Cancer Research… Nope! No change to our sleep, no noticeable improvement to skin, Pete hasn’t lost any weight – I have, but I’ve been watching my diet very carefully under the influence of my personal trainer… Have we cracked some habits? Well, I’ll only know that when the embargo is lifted.
I’ve thought a lot about the people I know who have lost their battle with cancer. Each have inspired me to make keep on going with my paltry sacrifice. My dad, and his dad. My aunt. The mums of two of my dearest friends. The dad of a new friend here in Cornwall. The work that Cancer Research does will hopefully mean less of the many personal tragedies. Everyone knows someone touched by cancer.
Particular thanks have to go to Jackie M, for putting the idea in my head. Sue R for being a virtual partner in abstinence. Annette M for her support in the biggest hurdle – a girlie night away in Bristol. Barbara T for a Strictly experience without the addition of bubbles. My mum for her admiration, and of course it was OK that you didn’t do it too. Most of all, my husband, Pete, who has been a complete rock. Our wedding anniversary celebrations next week are going to feel very, very special.