Day 1

I drink too much so I’m not going to do that anymore.

 

*hysterical laughter, wiping away tears, god I slay me*

 

It’s…not quite that easy, is it? I mean, that sounds simple. Logical. Sensible. The sort of thing that a person with common sense would shake their head at, slowly, and say “well, OBVIOUSLY, yes. Quite. Spot on. That seems like the thing to do.”

 

I feel like many of us people who drink too much spend an awful lot of time with that sentence playing around in our brains. We side-eye ourselves and tut in exasperation, because that seems so damn easy and reasonable, and we were TOTALLY going to have a quiet weekend and keep a lid on it like the sensible people this time, weren’t we?  And so, for goodness sake, why, again, yet-a-bloody-gain, are we here crawling out of a stale bed with our eyes bleary, our blood-sugar somewhere in our boots, our heads thick and woolly, our thoughts sluggish, and our hangover food of choice lurking guiltily on a greasy plate nearby?

 

And there’s more. And worse. Oh god, why are we beginning The Calculations again? You know The Calculations. They go something like this: right, last night. Any major errors? Any “accidentally do serious damage to a friendship/really upset a loved one/have a pointless-and-yet-somehow-in-the-moment-vital-and-cataclysmic row with a partner/wooops-there-go-my-bloomers and hello where am I and who is THIS lying next to me now” majors? Any minor errors? Phones lost, wallets left in cabs, coats and hats abandoned, a friend who got fed up with some drunken and overbearing or overemoting nonsense we inflicted on them (again)? After the diagnostic check comes the fixing: the grovelling whatsapp message, the shame-faced apology, the prodding of the unidentified drunken bruise and the stopping of the bank-card. Have we done enough? Have we fixed it? Can we get brunch? I really need brunch.

 

(Did you think The Calculations were over? They are not over.)

 

Can I suggest a drink with brunch?

 

I mean, I was pretty steaming last night.

 

Will they think I have some sort of…problem?

 

How do I phrase this?

 

I mean, everyone has a drink with brunch.

 

Everyone knows a hair of the dog is ok.

 

How can I persuade them to get a drink with brunch?

 

Is anyone else going to…oh thank god, yes please, a Bloody Mary. Strong as you can make it without losing your job, Dave. Cheers.

 

(With the first long, deep slug of your Bloody Mary, as the vodka hits your tattered and twitchy system…now, NOW The Calculations are over. And you think, quietly at first, wow, thank god I only drink at the weekend. Well, mostly at the weekend. If things were like this every day, I’d have some sort of…problem. I mean – another slug of sweet, hairy-dog-vodka – imagine if I had some sort of…problem! And then you think, much more noisily, right then, lads: now we’re drinking, which bar are we going on to after brunch?)

 

There is a small logo at the bottom of gambling websites and advertisements in the UK (where I now live) that says: “When the fun stops, stop.” It’s a good logo. When it comes to drinking alcohol, I am one of an increasing number of people in the UK and around the world who have been looking around at the fun slowly stopping. Many of us are, like me, in our thirties, in good jobs, with good friends and partners and with no dramatic Ernest Hemmingway/Zelda Fitzgerald/Oliver Reed/Amy Winehouse-esque (pick your preferred drunk of reference) crash-and-burn scenario going on.

 

But we don’t have an off-switch. We drink too much. And it’s been a slow realisation but it’s just not working very well any more.

 

So, where was I? Ah, yes. Hello. This is my blog. My name is Andie. It’s my Day 1. I am not going to drink alcohol for the next 365 days, at least.

 

Because I drink too much so I’m not going to do that anymore.