I have often wondered why I drink. I mean literally why I ever allow alcohol to pass my lips. Orange squash, lemonade, orange juice, apple and blackcurrant, orange and lemonade and probably milk all rank higher than any alcoholic drink in my personal list of favourite tipples.
I now loathe being drunk, and hope never to be so again, which should of course mean that I never will be. I got over the fascination with being hog whimperingly drunk at university, and I see no need to return (although I have done on a few occasions since). Being in control of my brain is particularly important to me now that the OCD is under control, and being shitfaced just isn’t fun any more.
Saturday brought this home to me. I spent the evening, night and small hours with my friends Nick, Adam and Oli - and Oli’s estimable colleagues and Gemma. And we bumped into the unutterably awesome Arky, with whom I was at college. The company was first class, and as always I had an excellent time.
And as always, we had a lot to drink. I ratcheted it down somewhat, but if I was to tot up what I consumed, it would be quite a bit. I didn’t even get much of a buzz, as if I eat a meal when I am out drinking, it takes a heroic amount to get me tipsy. The next day it occurred to me that I had engaged – in terms of the drinking, not the socialising – in a wholly pointless exercise.
I never crave a drink. I hardly ever drink alone, and rarely at home. So alcohol isn’t really my thing (nor is any drug). So the only reason for drinking was to be sociable. And that, dear reader, is sophistry.
There’s no doubt that if I went out with the lads when they were on the lash and drank lime and soda or orange and lemonade they might ask me what’s up, or make a joke. But I’m not a fourteen year old girl – that shouldn’t bother me at all. I’d happily buy them a drink, although I am very much of the view that the whole buying rounds thing is a bit fatuous, and I am sure no-one would expect me to keep buying rounds if I was not partaking myself. If they do, they can f-k off frankly.
And there’s another point – if you’re out with five or six people, you inevitably drink an absurd amount if you are all buying rounds for everyone. Ten or eleven drinks (in fact I didn’t have that many last night) may not make much of a dent in my comprehension, but it sure isn’t good for the wallet or the liver. For a non-alcoholic it is an extraordinary thing to do. And yet extraordinary isn’t the word, as it is very commonplace.
So what’s the main point of this post? The main point is that I have concluded for the first time ever that I have been drinking too much – even though I thought of myself as a light drinker. (Undoubtedly I am in comparison to many others, and I drink no more frequently than every three days, if that.) I really don’t like it that much, and the fact that others might think that odd shouldn’t matter a jot. And if they desperately want people they’re with to be drinking too, they are probably either a) an oaf or b) a problem drinker.
Nor do I need a drink before doing stand up. I had nothing alcoholic to drink last night (well, a swig of Adam’s lager to clear the throat, but only because that was the drink to hand), and it made no difference. And it would be awful to think I had to drink to be funny. (Or that others had to be drunk to find me funny!)
I don’t think I’ll take the pledge. The odd drink will be nice, to get a little buzz and aid conversation. But I think I’ll make it much more infrequent. As I have started a new eating and exercise regime that I believe is going to be sustainable, it makes no sense to suck down empty calories for such little reward, and for so much unnecessary financial pain.