Please tell me, how do I NOT drink?

I’ve spent a whole year almost not-drinking, but I haven’t a scooby how I’ve managed it. Any clue? 

Bottle wineglass

Why is it so hard to see drinking clearly? © Laura Eades 2014 all rights reserved

I wanted to have a break for years. From my half-a-bottle-of-wine-per-night guilty habit. I found temptation almost impossible to resist. Last year, I just did.

Before

I worked nights and would swig any old thing that was in the cupboard standing at the sink before bed (oloroso sherry is nice for cooking Moro recipes, less as a pre-sleep mouthwash). Or have a massive snack in front of the Mad Men on iPlayer, washed down with wine, before dawn’s peeking chased me to the bed quickly before my husband got up. When I left on maternity leave, my team gave me an engraved hip flask embedded in a little diary, which I treasure, though it is empty.

Now

I hardly drunk at all in 2013. I held my own drink in my hand three times (a wedding, new year, and when C had a cold). I’ve sipped my husband’s beer numerous times, just to check out the flavour, which still holds huge refreshing appeal. But I haven’t really drunk an alcoholic drink, and I certainly haven’t been drunk. I’ve accepted that I’m not, and had a big glass of fizzy water. Perhaps most importantly, he accepted that I wasn’t too, and hasn’t pushed me.

How?

That’s the thing: I’m not sure. I started without any announcements last new year. It was easy because I’d had my fill for a bit. Then, a pregnancy (that didn’t work out) came soon after – well, it’s a whole lot easier to stop something when medical expertise advises it. So that bedded the habit in. And I kept going all year.

I never had to justify to it to anyone, except people occasionally raised the pregnancy question in a tentative way

What helped?

I’ve learned to say “I’m not really drinking that much at the moment”. That seems to cover it. Nobody seems to give a crap whether I’m drinking or not, frankly. Contrary to my former belief.

Another useful phrase for No is “I think I’m alright actually”.

Fizzy water’s nice. Alkohol-frei beer was too, until I looked at its calorific value, but it got me through the first bit. Sometimes if we go to a gig together my husband buys me one, then we feel like we’re off on the adventure together.

What’s been hard?

Sometimes my husband has politely and occasionally not-so-patiently (mostly, credit to him, the former) reminded me that I’m not naturally very relaxed, as a person, and need to chill out a bit more and rediscover my sense of humour. Yes. May that facility come to me.

Sometimes meals where everyone else has got drunk have been a bit challenging, listening to everyone else not listening to each other.

I get tired quicker at parties.

What’s been gained?

Lack of guilt. Lack of dilemma. Not to be underestimated.

I get to trust my perceptions, as much as one ever can.

Less drunken arguments and irritations. Booze made me a bit narky.

The search for true relaxation has come to the fore.

How are you managing it?

Lots of people stop drinking, especially in January. I’d like to know the secrets of kicking this utterly tempting habit, which has challenged me for years, and may do again yet. In it probably lies the secret to kicking other bothersome lures and full-on addictions. Click on the comments section by using the pale grey circle with a plus sign under the post. I’d love to hear your thoughts.