I am tee total and have been since Dave’s wedding where I had a glass of champagne, prior to that I have drunk very little since diagnosis of stage four. I’ve not always been tee total and in actual fact my birthday present that people donated to, very shortly after I was diagnosed was three expensive bottles of whiskey which I’ve shared at times and drunk sips from early on are now firmly left on the shelf. However the choice of gift does show that I used to drink a reasonable amount in my past and quite enjoyed it too, particularly single malt whiskey.
Something has happened since reducing alcohol and later completely giving up. I’ve realised quite simply, it’s completely pointless, to the point where I suggest you giving up. It’s clearly a very toxic drug, I went to brunch the other day and reflected on times in the past where I may have been eating brunch, typically in Bar Dos in Leicester with the boys, and not be feeling great because of a hangover, probably having forgotten the night before and struggling to get my food down. Ok on this occasion I did not feel perfect because I’m unwell, but I enjoyed it more than those previous experiences, where you’re going through the healing process of eating and refuelling as opposed to enjoying the food and everyone else’s company. There is a degree of camaraderie in this healing but why not enjoy that feeling as opposed to the solidarity of a painful sobering up experience.
Personally alcohol never really made me happier on a night out, perhaps obviously, less inhibited but there would be frequent times when I would fall asleep on a sofa or worse the toilet. Then getting home and thinking I should have been here a lot earlier. Plus most of the times I can remember being very grumpy were when in the grip of a hangover.
For many people drinking is in their history. They feel it is part of who they are. They are drinkers and have never found a reason to give up or really think about changing. Alcohol is part of their social life, but actually it really does not need to be. It’s a bit annoying when I’ve gone for Afternoon tea with Georgie and find we are paying for the champagne that is part of the deal (first world problems) but that’s life. Georgie barely drinks either. Most of you will know the effects of alcohol and know that primarily the government guidelines for safe drinking are now 14 units per week for both men and women, with two days off booze. That’s approximately 7 pints of beer a week. It becomes a scary prospect when you realise the number of nights out where you have had more than that. Then there’s the money. I think the last drink I bought was a £6 pint for Matt Smith, totally absurd. Half the problem is the alternatives are not acceptable to everyone. One there’s no effect, two, most soft drinks can be finished too quickly, three, many soft drinks are too sweet and not very adult.
Personally Schloer is a favourite drink for me to share with Georgie, particularly the white grape variety. It’s also got a great name. If you sit there and say “Schloer” a couple of times hopefully you won’t think I’ve had too many steroids and start to agree. Or in restaurants I’ve started getting milkshakes, if they are available, for something thicker which takes longer to drink. You can get some great flavours too, even peanut butter. Georgie sometimes buys me non alcohol lager either Beck’s or Cobra. It’s a good alternative but both are quite fizzy. Whilst trying to buy it for me though, to celebrate my birthday and finishing her exams, Georgie had the rather bizarre experience of being asked for ID in Morrison’s. ID to buy imitation alcohol! When each bottle clearly says “Alcohol Free”. Yet it caused a problem on the self-service checkout and Georgie got asked for identification. She was not carrying any because she was traveling very light to her exam. Despite Georgie’s pleas that she is 27 and she is not buying alcohol, (like someone a decade younger), she ended up needing her friend to buy the non booze!
The choice is yours of course and this is not a nag, but maybe give it a try. I have a strong feeling that many of you would not miss it very much and you might notice how much better some of the rest of your life is. Along with giving up or not starting smoking and of course NEVER USING SUNBEDS the decision to give up alcohol could be the best lifestyle advice you can take on.