Britain is experiencing a heatwave and I nearly cracked yesterday…in the gym, of all places.
I have form for this. I once started smoking again after a 10 month spell of quitting DURING A BODY COMBAT CLASS. Literally just me, upper-cutting and jump-kicking my sweet heart out, suddenly snapping and being overcome by a mental shout of “screw this, I’m off to buy 20 Marlboro Lights.” And I did, too: I left the class before the cool down, threw my sweatshirt on and walked to the nearest supermarket, bought cigarettes and a lighter and smoked my first cigarette in nearly a year at the bus stop, with the exercise sweat still dampening my hair.
So yesterday’s “WHY am I doing this to myself? It’s hot. It’s so very hot. I want cold dry white wine in a glass with ice in it, goddamnit, and I want it TODAY, and ow, these kettlebell swings are hard” moment was no real surprise. Psychologically, maybe it’s something to do with my reward mechanism built of years of habit: do hard thing, reward self with alcohol. It’s also almost certainly tied in with this being my first dry summer, and living in an environment where I see summertime sloshed-ness on every corner.
My parter B. and I live in HipsterSuburb™ and whilst millennials may well be spearheading the alcohol-free renaissance in demographic terms, the ones living in my trendy-pavement-bar-littered neck of the woods don’t seem to have got the memo. Take a walk down to the centre of the neighbourhood and it’s pretty clear that it’s IPA over Iced Tea every time.
Summer sometimes makes it worse. We’re just not well-equipped for it in rainy, mild old England: summer, to the English, means rain delays at Wimbledon, 18 degrees and slightly drizzly, making jokes about the one sunny day two weeks ago – “well, I guess that was summer, then!” – and wondering whether to keep your big coat on standby, just in case. Extended heat sends us all a bit mad, as anyone who has ever seen Brits abroad on a Magaluf bender can tell you.
Added to that…*whispers in guilt-riddled tones*…I don’t like heat. If you read my earlier post about my sober slip-up just over a month ago, I was subjected to searing heat and a lack of personal space at a wedding, and it made me extremely frazzled. Like…I drank. That kind of frazzled. I’m very pale and quite chubby – the polar opposite of the tiny-sundress, sun-kissed summer girl – so I burn and over-heat and go red and get very, very stressed when it’s hot. When most people are luxuriating in the sun’s rays, I’m probably hiding in a dark, air-conditioned place. How have I tended to deal with this?
Drinking till the bad feelings go away.
Three ice-cold Gavis and I don’t care about not being the thin, fashionable one in the beer garden any more. Three huge bowls of Gin and Tonic and I feel less miserable about my skin feeling like it’s being blow-torched. Three long vodka and diet cokes and it’s all just about manageable.
But three cold alcoholic drinks leads, with crushing inevitability, to seven cold alcoholic drinks. Or ten cold alcoholic drinks. Which leads to passing out and crappy sleep. Which leads to mornings that are still just as hot, but now they’re hungover and sweaty too. Which leads to looking even worse, feeling worse, eating worse…
And seven ice cold large white wines equals 1400 calories. Then add poor food choices when drunk, and THEN add hangover food choices whilst sobering up…
And seven cold alcoholic drinks means not exercising the next day, because of the hungover malaise.
It’s a vicious circle.
And you know what? I STILL want to drink an ice-cold glass of white wine. I really, really, really do.
I’m not going to. I’m going to remember my sober toolkit; I’m going to remember that everyone who quits drinking hears the Wine Witch, Booze Bitch, Wolfie, whatever you prefer to call it; I’m going to keep on preparing my soda-and-limes and pre-reading the drinks menus when we go out so I know what I’m going to order by the time I get to the bar; I’m going to keep on ensuring that my house is alcohol free; I’m going to the gym to get dem good endorphins flowing once I’ve finished this blog post. I’m getting to 90 days in LITERALLY FOUR DAYS’ TIME, damnit, and nothing is standing in my way.
But if you need me, I’ll be over here, dodging the sunshine and wrapped in a big old summertime sobriety sulk.