Yesterday I drank alcohol for the first time since completing 100 days without it.
On day 100, I was torn between remaining alcohol-free and seeking to drink in moderation. By day 103, I had decided I’d go for moderation and set these rules for myself (admittedly, unwritten rules until right now):
- No drinking alone
- No drinking whilst watching TV (a cup of tea or glass of sparkling water will do just fine)
- No getting drunk
We visited friends for a barbeque yesterday and I joined the others, drinking prosecco. Over the course of the afternoon, I had 3 small glasses. Weirdly, reintroducing alcohol wasn’t that much fun. Here’s why:
I was aware of alcohol the entire time
Throughout the afternoon, I was either congratulating myself for going slowly enough, thinking about whether I could have some more or thinking about whether I needed to slow down.
I watched my glass like a hawk and watched the others drinking to ensure my pace was slower than theirs. I don’t remember a moment – until after the alcohol stopped flowing – when I wasn’t focused on it for one reason or another.
I was less relaxed
My vigilance around alcohol drew my attention away from enjoying the day and I had to work hard to try and shift my focus away from it.
I could feel the demons prowling around in my head, waiting for me to do something stupid, scanning constantly, judging – and also a little bit hungry, a little bit excited about the possibility that the reigns might come off.
That feeling put me on edge right until we reached the point where nobody was drinking anymore and I no longer had to listen to the whispers of, “you could have another one if you wanted, you know. Everyone else has had more than you and they’re not big drinkers, you’d be fine!”
My morning exercise felt more like punishment
The excesses of yesterday (there was a Malteser tray bake as well as the prosecco) led me to feel that I had some damage control to do when I woke up this morning. I felt like I was clawing my way back to the starting line after taking 10 steps back.
It wasn’t a good feeling and was in stark contrast to the feelings I’ve become used to – where my morning exercise was something I did because it was a pleasure and made me feel strong.
I’d like to continue the experiment with moderation
After yesterday, it seems obvious to me that an alcohol-free life would be easier and would certainly line up with my other life goals far more successfully, yet I’m struggling to consider that option without giving moderation a go first.
I want to experiment with it because I’ve never really tried it before and I have no reason to believe I can’t master it – though I confess, after re-reading this post, I have my doubts!
I think it’s wise to prepare myself for the probability that a life of permanent abstinence awaits.