So, that was Dry July 2013.
I hardly drank alcohol at all until i was 27 (it was the job). I haven’t had a week off since, and the last few years working with musicians have involved a lot of drinking. I know it’s good to have an alcohol-free day once a week, but I’ve started redefining that as “a day when the alcohol is free”. And i often have more than one of them per week.
So here is what I learnt:
I’m not an alcoholic
I didn’t crave it. I didn’t have any sneaky drinks, i didn’t have just one sip of the excellent cab sauv Cathy was drinking at Selah last night. And most surprisingly, for a person who has a history of eating stuff way past it’s use by date so it won’t go to waste, when I saw half a bottle of wine left behind I didn’t feel it was my duty to drink it. Because I wasn’t drinking, it wasn’t my problem.
We live in an alcohol-dependent culture
We all know this. It’s why alcohol-free days and months were invented. but sheesh, there was hardly a day where I didn’t have to actively turn down drinks, and two or three days a week I was offered free beer or wine as part of the art/music/work environment. If i actually was addicted, i just would have had to stay home. I’m a person who tries everything and rarely denies myself, so it was good to identify with people who have ethical/religious reasons for saying no to things all the time.
It didn’t meet my expectations
I hoped to feel richer, thinner, and healthier by today. I read some amazing facebook posts at the beginning of July from people who said how much more clearly they could think, how their weekends had become productive again, how they had continued not drinking for weeks or months. Not me. I got some spewing virus in the first week, which made me sicker than i have been in years. I had the usual amount of colds. Getting up for work was still too early. I don’t feel fitter or thinner. Although i would like to know if that GP i saw a couple of years ago thinks my liver has shrunk.
There were a few late nights where i was pretty conscious that the people around me were a lot drunkier and incoherenter than i, but it didn’t bother me. There were a lot of nights where i looked at the price of the beer and the wine and was happy to keep my cash in my pocket. but it turns out that alcohol is a drop in the ocean of my budget, and I spend more on the occasional case of Really Good Wine (like the ones i bought at Curly Flat on the last day of June) than a month of Young Henry’s and Little Creatures.
I met someone this week who had an “only drink the good stuff” July. and a bloke who went to bluesfest last year and didn’t drink at all because they only sell two beers and they’re both crap. that seems like a good idea. next time i want to drink less i’m just going to raise the standard.
PS i’m two meals into the first of August without a drink. I expect I’ll open a bottle of wine with my friends at Colbourne Ave tonight. I’ll see if my tolerance has been reduced.
PPS three years later, i haven’t had a single dry week – but i have raised my standards (which reduced my intake). And my doctor says i should have two alcohol-free days per week, which is easier since i’ve been in the music business… so now i try to have at two days a week where i only drink alcohol that is free.