Tuesday, 3 February 2009

This Not Drinking Thing

Two days, no alcohol, no problem. I haven't felt like drinking, partly because I had a fairly boozy Fri/Sat with an old friend and a couple of days off after a weekend like that is normal for me, and partly because I've had a slight head cold, nothing requiring commiserations, but enough to leave me not wanting the dehydrating effect of alcohol in my sinuses. But today, a busy busy work day, I've found myself, a couple of times, thinking 'hmmm, glass of wine tonight?' and having to remind myself that it's not going to happen.

Despite my days off, the evening glass of wine has become habitual, and that's what I want to change. It is something I really enjoy, a treat to look forward to at the end of a hectic day, a punctuation marker between work and relaxation. But it's also not good for me. And I'm not comfortable with habits unless they're beneficial. I gave up smoking; I stopped biting my nails. I like habits that make me feel better - not that I'm some kind of Puritan, I'm anyone's for a luscious piece of cake or a chunk of good-quality chocolate, but most of my diet is healthy, and I also have an exercise habit, and I feel better as a result.

The trouble with alcohol is, it is enjoyable and makes me feel better in the (very) short-term, but it makes me feel worse in the (slightly) longer-term. As in, a glass or two of wine with my dinner tonight would be lovely, but the quality of my life for the next 24 hours would be worse if I indulged than if I didn't. I would sleep more lightly, quite possibly lying awake for two or three hours during the night; feel more tired and hungry in the morning; and the sluggishness would, to a greater or smaller extent, stay with me through the day. I could banish it by drinking the next evening's glass of wine, but only temporarily.

The trouble with not drinking alcohol is, I sometimes suffer from insomnia on non-drinking nights, and sometimes feel dozy and hungover on completely sober days. Which I have to say I think is horribly unfair.

I'm hoping that taking this month off will help me to change my relationship with alcohol. I'm not sure what I want to change it to, so I hope I can find that out as well.

I've booked an acupuncture appointment for tomorrow afternoon. I love acupuncture. I don't think it works for everything, and I don't think it's right for everyone all the time, but for some things, for some people, at some times, it's tremendous. I sometimes go for quite long periods between treatments - I think it's about a year since I last had one - but it feels like the right time to start again. One thing I know it's good for is supporting the kind of change I'm trying to make, and I expect it'll see this wee cold off too. Don't ask me how it works, I haven't a clue. But those ancient Chinese people definitely knew some stuff we don't know.


HelenMHunt said...

The acupuncture sounds interesting. Hope it works for you.

JJ said...

Good luck with the acupuncture... I had it a few times here (in Bangkok) and it's definitely interesting. I had the oddest response to it, but haven't kept on with it.

Jumbly Girl said...

I had a month of drinking last year for pretty much the same reasons as you. I found it tough and had to face some horrible truths about me and alcohol. I considered doing the same again this year but am too weak! Hope you last it out (I found some non-alcoholic lager that fooled my body enough into feeling quite chilled when I drank it butcan't remember its name as I haven't touched the stuff since.)

I remember being disappointed that I didn't feel better for it at the time but looking back it was an incredibly productive month writing wise so probably worth it.

Good luck with the acupuncture

Queenie said...

Hello, folks, it's interesting indeed, only three more hours till my appointment, it feels like more of a treat than a glass of wine so something's going right! It costs more, though... JumblyGirl, is 'a month of drinking' a Freudian typo by any chance? ;-) Oh dear, maybe I'll have to face horrible truths. I already know I'm more productive with my writing when I'm not drinking, dammit. Dylan Thomas wrote wonderfully while being an old soak, why can't I? 'Snot fair!

PI said...

I've never tried acupunture - and I'm up for anything that helps - but are the pricks painful? It would be wonderful to have a shoulder that doesn't make its presence felt.

womagwriter said...

It's not easy, is it Queenie? A few years back hubby and I were horrified to realise we were drinking about 10 bottles a week between us, on a 'normal' week. That meant £50 to £70 a week on booze. The ritual of a glass of wine once the kids were in bed had snowballed into a bottle or two every night.

We did what you're doing - cut it out completely for a while. Going teetotal I found I couldn't sleep, and then couldn't wake up and get going in the morning. Then when I started drinking in moderation again, I found I couldn't sleep after drinking!

But it was all worth it in the end. Since then there've been occasions when the consumption has increased a bit, but usually now we only drink at weekends, or the occasional weeknight (she says, sipping a glass of really nice chardonnay).

Good luck with it. Your liver will thank you!

Queenie said...

PI: some of the pricks are painful, others not. It would be no good if you were needle-phobic but you can't be, you were a nurse! None are too bad and I have found it really beneficial. I've had a cronky knee for a couple of months and she seems to have sorted that out. If you decide to have a go, you need an acupuncturist who is accredited by the British Acupuncture Council at http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/ - they list all their acupuncturists on the site. Good luck.
Womag, thanks for that, it's really interesting, and I'm glad to know it was worth it in the end! Sadly the Paramour shows no interest in joining me, but still, as you say, my liver will benefit. (And he'll die young, and I'll inherit all his money, bwahahahaHAAAAA!!!)

PI said...

Thanks for that.