Today I decided that I was going to give up drinking – for real (this is not a drill).
Anyone who knows me, the eternal party girl, will be aware that this is going to be a pretty massive change of pace for me. Although I’ve tried to cut down a few times in the past, placing certain limitations on myself (“never at home alone/only once a week/only classy booze that doesn’t come in a cardboard box”), I’ve failed spectacularly every time. Why? Because I have zero willpower and poor self-negotiation skills – so I have to do it cold turkey, or it’s just not going to happen at all. Drinking is a really difficult thing for me to give up, considering I am a product of Dunedin and thus grew up with a comfortable acclimatisation to the binge-drinking normality of teen and student life here. And as a party-loving adult who is child-free, I have never really had a good enough reason to be responsible or stop drinking – not to mention it’s fun as fuck, and I don’t have a problem!
Well, yeah actually – I totally do. Over the last couple of years I have been drinking by myself at home all the time because “why not?” – and frankly, “why not?” isn’t a good enough reason to drink (or do many things, for that matter). I started with the notion that I could get some decent artwork done after a few drinks, which always resulted in me being completely hammered, whilst my easel sat in the corner collecting dust. Alcohol lends me no productivity or creative motivation whatsoever, and it’s immature and futile to keep pretending it does. I can’t even fool myself into thinking that alcohol is a way to unwind or relax at the end of a stressful or busy day, because I am hands-down the least stressed and/or busy person that I know.
My sister and I recently started using the MyFitnessPal app, and it’s opened my eyes to exactly how much of my energy consumption is solely alcohol, or junk food consumed due to drinking. On days that I don’t drink, I struggle to even eat two thirds of my daily energy needs. On days that I drink, however, the alcohol puts me over by almost double, and on days after drinking I eat nothing but junk – no wonder my weight shot up when I started flatting and drinking beer by the crate! Drinking also saps all motivation or energy to do other things, so many past endeavours have ended up on the backburner while I continued to prioritise getting fucked up. These days however, I have lofty concrete goals that I want to achieve, and being drunk all the time is not going to make those things happen – especially considering they are of the academic and fitness variety. Simply put; I can no longer coast through life being drunk all the time when the expectations I am placing on myself are far more complex than “shower, get dressed and get to your easy job selling dildos”.
Thankfully I’ve always been a fairly happy drunk, so my alcohol consumption hasn’t resulted in any estrangement of friends or family, but I’m sure that it hasn’t done me any favours, either – I routinely arrive at family events already pissed, and I’m pretty sure nobody expects much better from me after so many years of being like this. I’ve also come to the realisation that I lack self confidence so badly, that in order to go on dates with dudes, I have to be almost legless before I even meet up with them (let alone doing anything else with them). How is that any way to be a human? The lame truth is that I have way more stuff to deal with before I can really be with anybody, and continuing to drink is not going to solve those issues for me. I guess the major thing that worries me is that without alcohol, I’ll have to actually be my sober self all the time, which may result in withdrawing from social situations due to a fear that people won’t like me, and (sob) never getting laid again.
As I started writing this blog post, I did a shout-out on Facebook asking others who have ever given up drinking to give me their insights on why and how they did it, and suddenly all sorts of cray bitches came out of the woodwork – people I didn’t even know were sober! Sobriety (something that I had always assumed was reserved for only the cripplingly religious and the painstakingly boring) as it turns out, has become increasingly common in my peer group. Many of these people had decided to give up for health reasons, to improve fitness, or to just undo many years of increased alcohol tolerance. Due to the binge-drinking culture of the 90s-00s, we were all coming of age at a time where a bottle of Kristov vodka split between two fourteen year old girls was as commonplace as an expired condom in a boy racer’s wallet.
A number of mates have quit drinking for reasons similar to me – they realised that they were unable to stop at one drink, or hid behind being drunk, and decided that this probably meant they had a problem. Some had given up after seeing the adverse effects drinking was having on loved ones (ie turning them into total cunts), while others were trying to increase fertility/had gotten pregnant. But mainly, most of us just got sick of being the poor man’s version of ourselves, much like when Dante’s Peak just casually decided to cast Jeremy Foley in the Joseph Gordon-Levitt role, thinking we wouldn’t notice.
But we did notice.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt or not, I am overdue to sort my shit out – and what better place to do it than Dunedin, where the clubs are full of 17 year olds, the drugs are non-existent/awful quality sold at an astronomical mark-up, and the parties for 31 year olds are scarce? Henceforth, I can be found at the library, in my bedroom, or at the library, and in all cases, sober. If you see me, don’t offer me a drink. Cheers.
Love, Chelle xoxoxoxooxxoxo