Those of you who follow this blog regularly know I never give up. I keep going as long as I possibly can, and I’m not known for accepting defeat, slowing down, or crumbling in the face of a challenge. However, the time has come to step back, breathe – and give up alcohol, for the foreseeable future. I’ve managed to sort out a lot of things just recently, and now I’m no longer spending every day running to catch up with myself, it’s time to make this particular change.
I’ve always liked a drink, for all the usual reasons – tastes nice, warm feeling, socialising, relaxation, and so on – but I do have a tendency to drink more when I’m bored. Right at the moment I have a lot of free time, and so rather than fill up that time sitting in front of the TV with a bottle of wine, I am focusing on fitness, writing, acting, Getting Things Done, reading, sorting out my hands and wrists and other health problems. Drinking alcohol doesn’t make much sense in that context, and so it’s time to knock it on the head. It’s the sort of thing I’d never do if pushed, because I’m contrary by nature, but as part of a wider goal that’s self-motivated, it fits in with what I’m trying to achieve.
It is a habit, and so I expect it to be reasonably difficult to break. Most of the socialising I do is in pubs, I enjoy the wide variety of real ales, a glass of cider goes down well after a hot day’s slave labour, and a glass or three of wine with dinner is all too easy. When I’ve done this before, it’s been quite a challenge to find something that’s a reasonable substitute. Fruit juice and soft drinks tend to be far too sweet for my tastes, non-alcoholic beers just taste like soapy dishwater, and let’s ignore the fact that alcohol-free wine exists at all, it’s hideous. I’ll tend to stick to water or the occasional cup of tea at home, but I’ll probably be sampling things like ginger beer, fancy lemonade and other concoctions when I’m out with other people. It may be interesting, taking a walk on the other side of the fence – or I may just be that annoying guy down the pub who sits with a glass of tap water and asks for a lemon in it. Sorry, publican friends.
Initially I’ll be going completely dry for six months, as of today. That gives me long enough to establish a clear comparison, and I’ll be taking blood tests before and after so I have some data on the benefits, real and perceived. After that initial six month period, I’ll revisit whether it’s reasonable to have the occasional pint when I’m out. The standard request goes out to my friends: please don’t offer me a drink while I’m out, until at least February next year. It’s not that I lack willpower, but why make things more difficult than they have to be?
I do still intend to do other things that are deleterious to my health, don’t worry. I’m still Matte, and still quite likely to be approaching the world with teeth bared and a flaming torch in my hand, screaming round the corner at high speed on two wheels, and generally being an affront to nature. I’m not suddenly going to give up on life and spend the rest of my days reading Facebook and doing crochet. But the aim is to be sharper and more effective when I do the things that have made me who I am. To be physically stronger, mentally more agile, more capable of walking along the edges where most people fear to tread.
Still insufferable – just sober and insufferable. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in my favour.