Tuesday, 9 March 2010

How not to drink

As well as being on a diet for the wedding I'm not drinking. Well, I'm drinking LESS.

I'm always a bit freaked out by those "Are you an alcoholic?" surveys, because whenever I do them, and answer them honestly, it always turns out that I ought to get myself to the Priory immediately. Do I drink by myself? Yes. Do I drink to forget my problems? Of course. Do I find it difficult to stop after one drink? Who doesn't? Do you scour the house in a rage for alcohol after a particularly trying day? (Ok I made that one up. But the answer is yes.)

There are two times in my life when I've realised that I am going to end up actually an alcoholic if I didn't stop drinking immediately. There are alcoholics on both sides of my family, so I'm as "at risk" as a ming vase on the M4.

The first one was when I was about 23 and working in a seriously lowly job and then my boyfriend ran off with another girl. Which I was doubly pissed off about because before he went out with me he was GAY - running off with a boy I could take but a girl was just beyond the pale. I would come home to my parents' house from work and sit at our kitchen table while my father, god bless him, would pour red wine down my throat until I passed out. I must say, it worked, because I didn't feel nearly so much like killing myself when I was drunk.

In fact, I wrote 40,000 words of a really excellent comic novel, mostly in those evenings when I was drunk. Well, I say it's excellent but the first agent I showed it to hated it and the second didn't even write back. Bastard. And the restraining order means I can't EVEN push a molotov cocktail through his damn letterbox.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, then one day my parents went on holiday and I was left in the house by myself. I wasn't so crazy about cooking and shopping back then and so after three days there was no more alcohol left in the house and I RAGED around it trying to find something to drink. As I stood in the laundry, contemplating a bottle of cherry brandy, I realised I needed to stop immediately.

The second time was when I was working as a reporter for the Londoner's Diary, which is the gossip column in the Evening Standard. I was, for weeks at a time, either drunk or hungover. When I found myself slipping out for a Bloody Mary the second the afternoon edition had been sent (back when the Standard had different editions) I thought I should stop.

I mean, I was hardly Anne Robinson, or George Best, but you don't need to hit rock bottom to be drinking too much, or too regularly. Anyway, my point is that stopping drinking is really boring, but I learnt that it's basically all about replacing the FIRST drink of the evening. (Not a new concept, but I'm pleased with how well it works).

If you want to have an alcohol-free evening, all you need to do is replace the first drink you would normally have of the evening with something else. The plain fact is, I'm normally just thirsty. I'm not one of those people who drinks 18 pints of water a day. I would, but I'm too busy drinking 18 cups of tea. So, my dummy evening drink is usually a virgin Mary or a plain tonic water with ice and lemon.

My brain is so incredibly stupid that it totally thinks it has been given a little drinky and Giles' stash of Chardonnay is left untroubled. If I can just stop Giles from pounding down the stairs at 6pm, rubbing his hands together, doing a little dance and shouting "Let's have a BEER!!!" then I might even make it to the altar sober.


  1. Lovely! When I went on 18 pints of water a day, I dislodged a kidney stone. Worst pain I've ever been in. Stuff that.

  2. Yikes, kidney stones!! Everyone says as painful as childbirth but to be honest, comparing reports, the stones sound a lot worse and no baby at the end

  3. I think you'll find it's always us MEN who say kidney stones are as painful as childbirth. My Mum, of all people, told me a funny joke about men, women and labour pains. It's too long for here. I'll tell it to you another time :)

  4. Giles says that he wants to say that it's not a stash of Chardonnay, it's a stash of something or other more expensive and much nicer. He can't post a comment himself because he can't work out how to do it.

    1. Hahaha - if he can't even work out how to post a comment then you can misrepresent his wine choices however you like :-)

  5. Please reassure Giles that, when you wrote Chardonnay, I presumed you were talking grape variety only and that his stash therefore consists entirely of Chablis and Champagne, as we would expect of him.

  6. Diet = Boo.
    I disagree with Ian, I am certain Gilles is a Chardonnay man. Nothing wrong with that at all.
    Good tip on the first drink. I am going to have to try that.

  7. I know. Diets are dull. But it's only temporary!!! How do you turn a fox into a whale? MARRY HER.

    First drink of the evening works like a charm. Do it. Also post more on your blog you lazy bastard.

  8. This is really brilliant valuable advice needed at a desperate, desperate time. Where I draw the line is as long as I'm not vomiting over policemen (at lunch time) or punching pregnant women in the ovaries I'm not an alkie. However, I'm on a detox. It started on Monday and I feel like an absolute saint already. It's my best friends wedding in 4 weeks and I am bridesmaid. She keeps denying this fact, "Lora I'm not having any bridesmaids" Pah ! that's what she thinks, wait till she sees what I'm wearing. I am bridesmaid hear me roar.
    I need to loose roughly 3 stone so not to be mistaken for a heavy pine table in the photos. The bride is the diametric opposite to me in looks but separated at birth in ability to consume which pisses me right off. Me tubby 5'9 Blonde, her 5'2 slim Brunette. I nick- named us Yogi and Boo Boo, always on the hunt for pic a nic basket.
    Four weeks to go we've realised we have to give up our weekends together of swaggering around South London eateries in fake fur coats caning 5 bottles of wine at lunch before wrestling with a bread knife and a wine box and singing Karaoke till 2am. Because we can drink far too much. Note we don't drink too much..we are just ABLE to..therefore we do. 4 more weeks to go....shit....post more support.