Day 3: It’s oh so quiet


I say, Clive, it’s quiet. TOO quiet.


In 1939, right slap bang at the start of the Second World War, there was a period which historians refer to as the Phoney War. War in Europe had officially been declared but at the beginning there was…nothing. Nada. Zero occurring. (Unless you happened to live in one very particular borderland area of France/Germany called The Saar, in which case it was ALL KINDS OF BUSY, INVADEY AND SCARY, but we are not, for the purposes of this analogy, living in The Saar. Désolée.) There was an awful lot of planning behind closed doors, and plenty of paranoid glaring at the horizon, and everyone knew that very bad things were very much coming. But just not yet.


You can probably see where this is heading…


I feel like this week is Andie’s Phoney War. Day 3, bing goes the NoMo message, well done me, good girl, no drinking. Sip my tea, check the news headlines, check my email, check my blog (oh my goodness, HI, six people!! I honestly thought I was talking to myself, and seeing you out there has made my freakin’ WEEK, so thank you more than I can say!) and run some errands: it’s just another very normal Monday.


And that’s great…but…nothing hard has happened yet. I’ve been doing my research like a good student, and I know from everything I’ve read thus far that things are going to get hard and they’re going to suck and I’m going to feel lost without a drink to turn to. Just not…yet.


Much like my running style – good at sprints, sucky at distances – I’ve always been a binge drinker, not a daily drinker. (Not for nothing, and we’ll come back to this in due course, but binge drinking seems to be THE huge and growing problem for women in developed Western countries. We’re not necessarily hiding hip-flasks at work and needing drink to get us through every day, but we are abusing the hell out of alcohol in very determined short bursts.) And much like many of us who struggle to control drinking, I’ve had a wide range of rules to keep things in check.


You might recognise some of the rules. They work really well. (narrator voice: they do not work remotely well.)

  • No drinking two nights in a row
  • No drinking on a week-night
  • No drinking alone
  • No drinking at home – bars and restaurants only ok wow that’s expensive
  • No drinking at bars and restaurants then, only at home
  • No beer, only wine. Okay, no wine, only beer. Only gin-and-low-cal-tonic, then, because it’s better for me. But bottles of gin are huge and oops, down they go, so maybe not that much better than wine, then. Okay fine, wine, plus a nightcap of whisky. One nightcap. Maybe two. Damnit, who drank all the whisky?


The thing is, I wouldn’t have been drinking on a Monday anyway. Or a Tuesday. Probably not a Wednesday. Thursdays were a different matter, of course: Thursdays are basically Fridays, just still in their work clothes. Fridays actually ARE Fridays and Saturdays may as well be dressed in full Mardi-Gras kit and handing out free tequilas, and as for Sundays, they’re the reason god invented the pub and Sunday lunch and Sunday afternoon football. But Mondays? Mondays were never a drinking day.


So this here Monday isn’t hard. It’s just…weird. I’m spending an awful lot of time thinking about coping mechanisms and strategies and distractions, but right now I also don’t need to rely on them to get me through. It’s the Phoney War, and I suppose I should just put my head down, get some work done and enjoy the normality of it all.


Ask me again on Friday night, I guess. By then I have a hunch that the guns in the distance may feel a whole lot closer to home