A Dry Spell During The Holiday Season: Smart Or Stupid?


Is the true definition of insanity cutting down on alcohol during the Christmas/New Year’s Eve holiday season?

I strongly suspect so, for I’m in my second week of a self-imposed mid-week alcohol ban and it’s making me quite cranky indeed and occupying far too much of my thoughts.

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While my loved ones overindulge, as is the norm this time of year, I’ve been left staring into my mineral water, willing it to be vodka instead, with a face like a dropped pie.

It ain’t no fun being sober, while everyone around you is tipsy. And I’m a lush from way back – I love me a drink, always have, indeed it’s an occupational hazard of being a journalist.

Y’ know in the old movies, when the journalist character (almost always a man, Lois Lane aside) is wearing an old hat, drinking hard liquor from his hip pocket and chain-smoking as if his life depended on it?

Well, many many journalists still do this even today, if a tamed-down version minus the millinery and cancer sticks. It’s the stress of the job – or something like that – at least, that’s what we tell ourselves and each other.

dry spell, alcohol issues, New Year's Eve

No one is making me cut down on the demon drink – it’s just that, after a very long and loyal relationship with it, I’ve decided we need to break up, if only Sunday-Thursday.

On the other two days of the week, I shall heartily enjoy a few glasses of my beloved red wine with gusto, in a tidy and contained fashion, unlike days of old when I too felt like I was positively swimming in a champagne glass, ala burlesque star Dita Von Teese (pictured below) – OK, not quite.

My reasons for mid-week sobriety – or drinking more in moderation – include: the horror of turning 40 earlier this year and the awful, accompanying realisation I can no longer party like I’m in my 30s; the sobering health impact of excess, such as a few minor health scares this year and the fact that I’m really bloody determined to shed 5kg in order to be my best self.

I also realised – like many mothers, as is completely understandable – I was perhaps overdoing the “I’m-a-stressed-out-mum-of-toddlers-I-need-a-drink-or-two-to-unwind routine.”

And when I – gasp – actually somewhat stupidly answered my GP’s: “How many alcohol units do you consume a week?” question honestly (who does that?!), her raised eyebrow and stern warning about the health impacts of alcohol were enough to see me abstain, and fast.

dry spell, alcohol issues, New Year's Eve

So, instead of using alcohol as a crutch to unwind, I’m now exercising my arse off even more than I did before and I’m giving mindfulness and meditation a red-hot go.

My new Sunday-Thursday alcohol ban is also saving me lots of unwanted calories and so I’ve already lost weight as a result.

What’s more, I feel empowered and strong and quite proud of my dry-spell efforts, even if – yes – I did give in to a glass of Moet at Christmas, as you do.

I’ll never completely give up the demon drink, but I really need to take stock of my drinking so I’m still around to see my children’s children. What’s more, I’ve only really grasped, at 40, the importance of living your best life.

So, for now, it’s learning to temper my short-temper when family and friends around me are still partying like it’s 1999 and striving to love my mineral water, with a twist of lemon.

What do you think? Have you ever cut down on alcohol during the silly season? Any tips?

Main image via dyersoundworks.com; secondary image via www.2gb.com and final image via www.dailymail.co.uk.