Thursday, January 26, 2012

I drink, therefore I am.

I was so smug when January started. I had quit sugar, wheat, alcohol and, consequently, fun. I was following a strict detox, as masterminded by this chap.

He warned the first week would be the hardest. Codswallop! It was easy. I flew through it. A doddle. I delighted in the oatcakes and the brown rice, I didn’t miss sugar and I certainly did not miss alcohol – I’d had enough of both in December to last a lifetime.

This is my December diet.

This is my January diet.

The first weekend of January, I met up with my mum and sister. I didn’t drink. I didn’t do my usual weekend habit of eating a lot of pudding. This will be easy, I told myself, I might even do February too. Smug as an arrogant bug.

The second weekend of January was a harder task. My beautiful friend Amy came to stay and there was no way I was going to be Little Miss Soft Drinks when I had friends giving up their weekend to spend time with me.

Surprisingly, we were relatively well behaved. A few gins, plenty of water. I didn’t get rowdy or accidentally break a plate, glass or vase, as is my usual want upon intoxication. Okay, I made the world’s best Nutella Cheesecake and had so much of it that I almost cried, but it was Saturday night. I was happy.

The third week of January, I broke. I started dreaming about sugary food. Cheesecakes and ice cream consumed my every thought – I was never like that (much) before the detox, so it was in fact the detox’s fault. Restriction led to downfall.

My cake making friend Adam cruelly emailed me this picture and this note: 'Can I make you a battenburg the size of your head as your wedding cake?' It was as much as I could do not to eat the computer displaying the image to me.

I met my sister for dinner in London for the third weekend in January. Tammi surveyed the menu – what an admirable array of cocktails, she declared.

As if I was going to have a tonic water. Pur-leese. I looked at the menu. But what I really looked at was myself. Suddenly, it felt okay to fall off the wagon because the wagon was beginning to look increasingly boring. I didn’t want to be sober. I didn’t want my sister to have less fun because I was sober – which, let’s face it, is true. When I’m out with someone who’s not drinking, I roll my eyes, write them off and talk to someone else. No one wants to be that guy. Least of all me.

And besides, I told myself as I eyed up a vanilla vodka, apple juice and berry concoction, it’s not wine. Wine has lots of calories and makes me shout at my boyfriend. It’s a cocktail, basically a few of my five-a-day and twice the fun.

So there I was, convincing myself that one cocktail increased my charm, wit and like-ability. Then the next thing I know, Tammi and I have sampled pretty much every cocktail on the menu and spent £185.

I didn’t just fall off the wagon, I bungee jumped off it and landed in a muddy puddle of alcohol and sugar. And je regrette rien, as they say in booze loving France. In your face, detox.

Any abstainers reading who think I should embrace sobriety because it really is fun and you don’t spend as much on taxis… don’t be ridiculous. Just stop talking.

Having successfully convinced myself that drinking is cool, I emailed my ‘I’m not drinking in January or February’ best mate Cesca.

‘Yes, er, I’m not doing very well at that,’ she reported back. ‘I’m totally shit at not drinking.’

And that’s why I love her and I love cocktails and spending a week’s wages in one night. I am no longer friends with tonic water. Because drinking makes my world go rosy. My detox has gone from the saintly avoidance of sugar, alcohol, wheat and, consequently, fun, to just avoiding wine. Much more feasible and, consequently, achievable.



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