On ditching booze…

On ditching booze…

Me! 2

Anyone who knows me well, will know that I have always liked a drink. Whether that’s a chilled wine, pint of cider, gin and tonic or a large Baileys at Christmas, booze has been an integral part of my life, and that of most of my friends since we were 14. What started with village hall parties (oi oi!) necking Lambrini and strawberry 20/20 (vom), graduated to alcopops and vodka & orange in generic Yates that accepted forged birth certificates as valid forms of ID (who were we kidding?!). Then came Uni, and with that the endless pub crawls, raves and house parties that took place over the 4 years I was there. Our shared house of 6 girls was notorious for some hardcore partying, and we regularly turned our empty basement into a dance floor, complete with decks and strobe light to enhance our ‘quiet’ nights in. Post-uni and living in Camden, it was all bustling pubs and gigs, ‘Pissed Tuesdays’ after work putting the world to rights with friends, and Friday night bevvies with colleagues, ‘unwinding’ from a hectic week working in The City. All of this interspersed with a plethora of boozy occasions, celebrating all manner of events occurring within our crowd- birthdays, promotions, break-ups, redundancies, the start of a new series of Mad Men etc etc. Holidays abroad with friends were one big binge, we needed a holiday to get over them. You get the picture- booze featured in almost every event going. I was having ‘fun’, there’s no doubt about that, but I was also unhealthy, felt like crap half the time, unmotivated and essentially not fulfilling my potential in any way, shape or form.

Adam had a calming influence, and when pregnancy and babies arrived on the scene, it was easy to stop for those 9 months each time. No one had any expectations of me socially, and whilst I had no trouble in laying off the vino, there was always the naive notion that once junior had arrived, it wouldn’t be long before I’d be back on the sauce, carrying on normal life (ha!) and keeping up with my child-free/care-free friends and our old lives. To a certain extent I have maintained a very good social life post-children. I still go out usually once a week with my friends, and Adam and I are lucky that we have fantastic grandparents that live locally to us, and who enable us to go out a fair bit together. Even if we haven’t been out and about, we have chums over to ours, and I in particular have still enjoyed getting stuck in to the Sauvignon Blanc. It’s always been a ritual since having the kids, that cliche of ‘wine o’clock’ once they are in bed, or earlier, if you’ve been having a particularly crap day. Friday and Saturday night are licence to drink more, even if it is just you, Simon and Chezza on the telly for company. You only have to glance at your Facebook feed to see other people doing the same. Parents or not parents, alcohol seems to feature heavily (well it apparently does with the people that I know!). Statuses shriek “Bad day already with kids- is it wine time yet?!” or “L has just puked all over me” cue responses of “pour yourself a large one tonight, hun!”.

Whilst I have certainly cut down hugely in comparison to my old days (thinking about what I used to drink makes me feel queezy now!), something is telling me alcohol is no longer agreeing with me, and is stopping me from feeling good and fulfilling things I want to do with my life. So why not just have a glass of wine a few nights a week? You may well ask. If you have never been a big drinker and are therefore probably fairly sensible when it comes to moderating, you may think all I’ve written above is rather odd, or if you enjoy a few tipples guilt-free, you don’t see why anyone would quit. Well, me, I’m just not very good at just having the one or two drinks once I’ve started. I am certainly no alcoholic, but I have tendencies to go slightly doolally on the wrong occasion once I’ve had a sniff on the white stuff (not THAT white stuff, you naughty people!). I might be able to have a few weeks of having one or two drinks at home, or when out for dinner, but inevitably as past history has shown, I will eventually get a bit over-excited, and embark on some sizeable quaffing, that will make feel like death and leave me with the mother of all hangovers. Sadly I am no longer my 17 year old self who can still spring in to action the night after a big night out- these days it takes me the best part of a week to get over it. SO impracticable as a parent of a ‘lively’ 2 and 3 year old.

On days when I’ve been hungover, I am literally counting the hours down until bedtime when the children will be asleep, and I am grumpy and snappy. This is ultimately not fair on them, and no way to live. Even one night of boozing a week will set me back. I want to focus on being a good Mum, working on my little business and this blog, maintain a fitness regime and look after myself. The latter is something I haven’t achieved since I was about 14, as despite having various gym memberships and forays to the boxing gym, my hangovers always got in the way of any real progress or ability to commit to a fitness event/run. I’m sure I could have done better at uni and in past careers, if I hadn’t had been so attached to the pub.

I had 3 months back in 2007 where I decided to swap the rose for water, and it did me the world of good, but after the 3 months was up I still slipped back into my old ways. It was always just a break, I was still counting down the days until I could sup on the sauce again. There was no real commitment to any long-term lifestyle shift.

Well that is about to change, for good this time (old friends of mine might be giving themselves a wry smile if they’re reading this!), as I am about to make a commitment I’ve never publicly said before:

I am going to quit booze for a year.

A WHOLE year.

And see what happens.

That means that any birthdays, holidays, weekends away, dinners out, hen dos (including mine!), MY WEDDING (gulp) and anything else that life throws my way will be conducted in a sober manner. I am sick of feeling jaded and firing on half-cylinders after any of the aforementioned events.

However, I don’t want this to be all doom and gloom. I want to learn to socialise and enjoy life again, without the crutch of the wine bottle (I am still going to be on that Karaoke machine, goddammit!).

I want to feel fresh and productive EVERY DAY, no longer clock-watching until bedtime. I want a fitter, healthier, more toned body (which, let’s face it, needs all the help it can get now I’m 30 and after 2 children!).

I want a sharper, clearer mind. I want to be a better, more thoughtful mother, daughter, partner, sister, friend, one who isn’t too hungover to text back, or think straight. I would like some hobbies again, to find new interests. The last course I embarked on was a French evening course at the local college several years ago, but I quit because it clashed with those ‘pissed Tuesdays’ too often (I am SO embarrassed to even write that now!).

I don’t want to worry about what took place the night before under the influence. Did I say something bad? Was I a twat? Trust me, the beer-fear doesn’t get better as you get older. Anxiety, which was never something on my radar previously, has crept it at an alarming rate the day after a big sesh, and leaves me not wanting to even leave the house. BritMums in June was a case in point- the lure of the free wine stand (Oh Lindemans, what did you do to me?!) made Friday jovial, but the next day the paranoia and feeling rough made me not want to socialise with anyone, ruined the sessions for me and I legged it home early without saying goodbye to new friends. NOT cool, and so not the sort of person I want to be.

So why blog about this?

I don’t want to get all preachy about losing the booze. Drinking IS fun, otherwise we wouldn’t do it, and I think I will always be wistful about those first couple of drinks in a sunny pub beer garden, surrounded by friends and laughter. I get that most people are perfectly happy with the amount they do or do not imbibe (lucky buggers!). I guess it will help me knuckle down and make a commitment to er, my commitment. I think it will be a challenge, a new adventure, and I do rather enjoy those 😉 By blogging about ditching the booze I may help someone who’s been in a similar situation to me. You don’t have to be pouring voddy on your cornflakes in the morning to realise you and alcohol are no longer a match made in heaven, and this may encourage someone like me to also take the leap into the unknown. I will keep updating regularly about how I’m getting on, and whilst I’m sure I will find it tricky at times, I’m optimistic that for me personally, it will only be a positive thing in my life.

So if you bump into me, please don’t think me boring now- I still like a good time and a night out!  I can still provide a good line in bad jokes and will fire off the Sugar Hill Gang rap on cue. Just make mine a lime and soda (sans the vodka, natch), or a good cuppa (milk, please, no sugar). Your support will be very much appreciated.

Let’s do this!

pic above taken last year, with a glass of wine the size of my head!

 

Teaming up with Let’s Talk Mommy and Share with me!

46 Comments

  1. September 24, 2014 / 8:12 am

    “Now there’s a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to live and a time to die….A time to break and a time to chill….To act civilized or act real ill”.

    Singin’ on’n’n’on…. Eventually, I drank the value out of drinking. But that didn’t stop me from drinking. By then, I had become physically and mentally addicted. No longer civilized, just real ill.

    I applaud your efforts to stop drinking for a year. If you don’t like it, everything you don’t like about your self drinking now, is 100% refundable.

    Alcoholism is a progressive illness. It always gets worse, never better.

    I love my sober life today. My authentic self. I love my wife, my kids, family and friends; like I never could before.

    Best of luck! Cheers to you and the journey of a lifetime. On’ n’n’ on’n’n’on’…..

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 7:52 pm

      Thank you so much, and good for you and your happy (and sober) life! Please do check in from time to time to see how I’m getting on 🙂

  2. Jo
    September 24, 2014 / 9:08 am

    You pretty much described my teens and twenties. I also am not great at moderation when it comes to alcohol ( Rioja was my wine of choice). I came to the same conclusion as you last Sunday, and after flirting with sobriety a couple of times in the past 2 or 3 years I’ve decided to make it permanent.

    It’s only been 9 days, but I’m surprised that I haven’t missed the daily half a bottle (or more) at all yet. I’m looking forward to my first sober social occasion since my last pregnancy more than 4 years ago. Cheers!

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 7:53 pm

      Cheers! It’s lovely to hear from people who are deciding that a now sober-life is better for them, as there don’t appear to be that many of us! I wish you loads of luck with your new-found sobriety! 🙂

  3. September 24, 2014 / 9:29 am

    Wow becky well done you! I can totally see where you are coming from, I hate feeling jaded and hungover when I’m with the kids ! Tbh though it rarely happens for me as I mostly don’t go out and am fine on one or two glasses. If not though I would certainly consider giving up myself.

    Best of luck in your mission and don’t worry I will still talk to you! ;)) xxx

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 7:53 pm

      Thanks lovely, and thank you for still wanting to talk to me! 😉 xx

  4. September 24, 2014 / 9:46 am

    Eeek this is amazing what a huge challenge but it’s a great one!! I too am not one that can ‘have a couple of drinks’ and I usually take it too far if I’m outside the house. I’ve got better at having just one in the evening if it’s just me and the mr. But any other occasion I’m usually the one that’d had ‘one’ (ehem!) too many and being a bit of a loud mouth! Being hungover when you gave kids is possibly the worst feeling in the world as the guilt mixed in with it is just awful. I tip my hat to you lovely lady and look forward to reading how you get on 🙂 xx

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 7:55 pm

      Thanks lady! I am definitely the one to embark in some ‘lively’ behaviour when pissed, always have been- I’m praying a bit of this rubs off on the new sober ‘me’ so I can still stay out late and have a giggle, without the dire hangovers the next day! xx

  5. September 24, 2014 / 10:21 am

    I hear you re the recovery time, and the FEAR. Oh my god the fear. I’ve made an effort to kerb it a bit recently and it makes it all much more enjoyable. I’m happier limiting rather than quitting completely, but hats off to you for working out what you feel you need to do and doing it! PS you were lovely and friendly at Britmums both before and after the booze and with a naughty streak that I didn’t think was just the wine – we’ll get along just fine with or without a skinful xx

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 7:56 pm

      Aaaw thanks Steph, that’s a lovely thing to say! And yes, I am a bit naughty either way… we defo need to hang out again soon! xx

  6. Rachael A
    September 24, 2014 / 10:45 am

    My beloved and I gave up the booze for dry January this year and it was an incredibly enjoyable experience that we both got a lot from it. Even now after a heavy night the words “I miss dry January” are often grumbled. Once it was over it was kind of back to normal even though we cut weekday drinking (Thursday and Sunday nights are both weekend nights though right?)

    I read your post with interest because although I am sans children it kind of mirrors my experience. My, how brave you are though as I am not sure I am ready to give it up for a whole year! I will follow your journey with interest and will be cheering you on! Maybe it will inspire me to give up for longer than just January!

    Oh and underage drinking in Yates – I feel you!

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 7:57 pm

      God, yes, I can’t believe I used to think Yates was the height of sophistication!Thanks for your lovely comment, and please do keep checking in and reading, I think I will need all the support I can get!

  7. lifeatthelittlewood
    September 24, 2014 / 11:13 am

    This is so brilliantly written Becky – it almost makes me want to join you! I am the same, and totally feel the effects of a night on the vino for days afterwards. I just don’t think I can handle it any more! Good luck with your challenge, and here’s to clear heads and glowing bodies 🙂 xx

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 7:58 pm

      Thanks lovely- I’m hoping for a clear head, although I can’t guarantee the glowing bod! 😉

  8. September 24, 2014 / 11:15 am

    Oh I hear you. I have a mad busy set of weekends coming up with birthdays. christenings etc. It is making me feel overwhelmed as you have to factor in the hangover day but you are so right why can’t we just go an have fun and wake up fresh and raring to go. You might be on to something here. Look forward to hearing more x

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 7:59 pm

      I think that’s what I was getting sick of, the factoring in the hangover the next day i.e. planning nothing productive the day after I knew I’d be having a big session- quite wrong on so many levels really! xx

  9. September 24, 2014 / 12:16 pm

    Wonderful honest post – I think sometimes its hard to admit how much you drink until you say it out loud – it write it loud. I totally get where you’re coming from with the paranoia – thats the worst part and something i have struggled with for years. I don’t drink as much as I did but like you can never stop at one or drink when I do. Good luck and I will happily have a lime and soda with you anytime x xx Very brave and open post xx

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:00 pm

      Thanks so much Bonnie, I really appreciate everyone reading and supporting- it makes it seem a lot less scary when you have lots of people wishing you well! x

  10. September 24, 2014 / 12:16 pm

    forgot to add #sharewithme

  11. The Ordinary Lovely
    September 24, 2014 / 2:05 pm

    This is a kind of exciting change of life. I stopped drinking alcohol for roughly four of five years (sickness, pregnant, breastfeeding, pregnancy, breastfeeding) and I can’t tell how how much better I felt for it. Mornings are so much nicer when you don’t feel tired or hungover. And you really will end up with a lot more energy during the day. The only downside for me was that a small number of friends took a step back because I wasn’t perceived as being ‘fun’ any more. But, you know, that makes them pretty shallow so no great loss there. I started having the odd glass of wine or a beer here and there about a year ago and I really, really love that one glass. But, I never feel the need to drink any more. I enjoy it because it’s yummy and not because it’s a social or fun thing to do. I wish you a huge amount of luck with this and can’t wait to read about how you get on.

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:04 pm

      Thank you so much! Like you I’m hoping that after a year I’ll be able to really enjoy a decent glass of wine again when I go our for dinner, or on a special occasion, without losing control and getting wrecked!

  12. Leigh Kendall
    September 24, 2014 / 5:24 pm

    Oh 20/20 – a blast from the past with unpleasant memories! Gone are the days where we could spend a day recovering from a hangover. Now it seems like a waste of a day – not to mention the fact recovery now takes far longer than one day! Good luck with your challenge, I’m looking forward to hearing how you get on xx #SharewithMe

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:06 pm

      Seriously, my hangovers are evil now! And I don’t know what we were thinking with 20/20? So grim! I caught a whiff of it at a party a while back, and my teenage years drinking the stuff in the park came screaming back to me! Never, ever again! x

  13. Jenny
    September 24, 2014 / 8:18 pm

    Good for you for setting such a challenge and trying to stick to it. I am the same if I have one glass I want the whole bottle. I have never been a huge drinker because I know this about myself so I never start. And lately it makes me feel not so good either my insides are telling me it’s not for me. So I don’t drink like most do unless celebrating but even then I don’t like that I can’t just have one glass and call it quits. Its just so exciting like you said. I wish you the best of luck on your challenge for a year. You woudln’t want to on your wedding day no time got to be dancing and being social. lol Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again soon. #sharewithme

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:10 pm

      Thanks, jenny, it’s nice to hear from others who don’t drink that much either, yet still have fun socializing! x

  14. Not A Frumpy Mum
    September 24, 2014 / 9:39 pm

    Good for you! I have absolutely no will power once I’ve had one glass so it’s easier to not have any. I’m planning to try and stay off the booze for Stoptober, but a full year is very impressive and I completely understand your reasons for doing it. Wishing you the best of luck and looking forward to seeing how you get on.
    P.S. 20/20 is the work of the devil and the reason I was banned from our local bowling alley for well over a year when I was 16! xxx

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:42 pm

      Haha, 20/20 is indeed the work of the devil! Thank you for your good wishes, makes me feel so positive that I can actually do this! x

  15. boo
    September 24, 2014 / 10:02 pm

    Good for you becko. I’m gonna miss those drunk eyes…xxx

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:42 pm

      Aaah, I will still have yours to gaze into my dear! x 😉

  16. September 25, 2014 / 1:15 pm

    Oh honey I could have written most of this myself, especially the first paragraph!! I think you’re amazing for recognising it’s a problem and holding yourself to account. I wish you every success with your challenge. Consider me a cheerleader lovely, if you ever need some encouragement you know where to find me xxx

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks lovely for your kind words! I will take you up on that encouragement, I think I may well need it at various points! xxx

      • September 26, 2014 / 1:25 pm

        Any time hon, I know how hard it is but also how worth it it is too xxx

  17. Susanne Remic
    September 25, 2014 / 4:16 pm

    I think this is a very honest post and one that lots of us can relate to. In between babies I also enjoy a glass of wine, although I do tend to only drink at weekends, and that is enough for me really. But I can understand why you want to quite for a while. It can make you feel pretty crap can’t it? x x

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:44 pm

      It sure does, Susanne, can’t wait to feel fresher! x

  18. September 25, 2014 / 5:41 pm

    I can totally relate to your post, especially the first half. We also have grandparents nearby and we are lucky enough to also go out a fair bit drinking and socialising. But the hangover can ruin a weekend – and make me so unproductive, and lacking in patience with my son. I am, however, very good at moderating at the moment… I used to tell myself I deserved a bottle of wine after work because I have worked so hard! These days, if i want to do any blogging a cuppa will do. Good luck with your challenge, it sounds like you’re very determined so imagine you will be ace. BTW, I went round to my friends recently and her partner is on the AA programme. He’s doing really well, but it’s a dry house. But we all drank non-alcoholic wine in wine glasses and a few guys had non alcoholic beer. It was lovely. We all felt giddy, so I think a lot of it is a state of mind. And the best part, I drove home! 🙂

    • Becky
      Author
      September 25, 2014 / 8:46 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting! I follow another blog about someone who quit booze 6 months ago, and one of the posts she wrote was about getting ‘high’ from her friends, when she was totally sober- I really hope that happens to me!

  19. mummydaddyme
    September 25, 2014 / 7:00 pm

    Ooh good luck lovely! I used to be a massive drinker back in the day but since being pregnant date I say it, I have list the taste for wine and I used to have a glass most nights. Nowadays I will have the odd cocktail of glass of fizz when we are out at dinner, and every once in a while we go ‘out out’ and I’ll get tipsy, but other than that I rarely drink at home anymore.

  20. Becky
    Author
    September 25, 2014 / 8:43 pm

    Thanks so much Sian! x

  21. Becky
    Author
    September 25, 2014 / 8:48 pm

    Thanks, Katie! Really hoping I can do this! I blame Leeds and the Otley Runs for getting me used to dodgy boozing! Like I said to Jenny, it’s nice to know there’s quite a few fun people out there who actually drink very little, really encourages me! xx

  22. cariemay
    September 25, 2014 / 10:18 pm

    Good for you! I’ve never been a big drinker, I’m more of a biscuits kind of girl, but I know what you mean about wanting to be fitter and healthier so you can be a better wife/mum/all round happy person. Good luck – hopefully it will be an amazing difference 🙂

    • Becky
      Author
      September 29, 2014 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you so much Carie! x

  23. copykatie
    September 27, 2014 / 8:39 am

    Wow, well done you. I am totally with you on this and always vow to give up forever after the mother of all hangovers but never manage it. I think we are of an age where it seems totally “normal” to get wrecked and have done so since about age 14. I am at an age where I am weighing up the pros and cons of a nice bottle of white vs a great eye cream with retinol for wrinkles due to a lot of laughing ( some drink based ) but ultimately too many late nights and tight forelock the next morning. I also find since having a little one, the anxiety of a hangover is just TOO much the next day. A year sounds terrifying but that is totally awesome. I shall embark on a booze free week in your honour. PS, Can you get any more productive? You seem pretty fantastic to me! Keep us posted x

    • Becky
      Author
      September 29, 2014 / 9:01 pm

      Thanks Katie! I think we are definitely of the generation of ‘big drinkers’- I know people 10 years younger than me who have never touched a drop! x

  24. September 29, 2014 / 2:07 pm

    Good luck – I hope you have lots of support from your lovely family and friends. Drinking is such a social crutch in the UK, people think you are positively odd if you decline. Until you actually have kids, people constantly assume you are pregnant if you are over 20 and don’t drink at a social event!! #sharewithme

    • Becky
      Author
      September 29, 2014 / 9:02 pm

      Thanks Vanessa! You’re right, people do think you’re a weirdo if you don’t drink, it shouldn’t be that way!

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