Sunday, 5 July 2009

Teetotal update 1

Quick update further to my attempt to give up alcohol for 3 weeks and test the responses of everyone around me. I went to a house party last night to celebrate my friend Gail's 21st birthday. It was easy to stay off the drink because I had the car and because Gail's mum Joyce had made the most amazing alcohol free punch. I had a chat with some folk about what I was doing and someone pointed out to me that the biggest social change he has noticed is that no-one questions you drinking soft drinks if you say you have the car with you. Only 15 years ago it was often seen as socially acceptable to drink and drive. So we CAN change our attitudes if we try hard enough.

It made me realise though that I need to not use the car as an excuse seeing as nobody would dream of persuading someone to drink and drive these days. I also need to stop telling people I'm testing their responses - as soon as I said that last night we had a long talk about alcohol but of course, given the warning, nobody is going to then try to get me to drink.

So what I need to do is turn up and say I don't actually want to drink.

One last thing. I rarely get drunk but I frequently drink SOME alcohol - even if it's just a glass of wine with my dinner. Now I thought it was getting drunk that lead to hangovers but I'm beginning to think it doesn't take much at all to affect your health and wellbeing. I realise it's far too soon to judge but I often wake up feeling tired, fuzzy and like I need far more sleep than I've had. This morning however, I woke up full of beans with a clear head and loads of energy. If all I have to do to get this is NOT drink alcohol, I may last a whole lot longer than the 3 weeks.

I've also had some interesting emails from people after my posting yesterday and with their permission I'll share some of those with you over the next few weeks.


  1. I always find that if I am not drinking and I don't have the car it is not socially acceptable, so I see social attitudes as still sadly quite attached to alcohol as the norm.

  2. Yes sorry, I probably didn't explain that properly. What we were saying was that until maybe 15 years ago if you said "I am not drinking, I have the car" people would still encourage to have "just a couple". Now if you have the car as an excuse, it's acceptable to most people. What we need to do is make it as socially acceptable to say "I'm not drinking because I don't / because I don't want to".

  3. Stating the obvious I know, but there is also no social pressure to drink alcohol when you are pregnant either. I was at a wedding recently, and found it very liberating not to have to explain why I wasn't drinking - the bump was explanation enough! I've not had a drink in months now, because I stopped when we decided to try for a baby. I honestly don't miss it at all (I have barely had more than the odd glass of wine over the last few years anyway) and wonder whether I will ever drink alcohol again... Being totally alcohol-free does change your perspective quite a bit. It's perfectly possible to relax and have a good time without it.

  4. I find it interesting gauging people's reactions to my teetotalism, especially when I go off to the pub on a Friday with my workmates - my one concession to "bloke" behaviour.

    Basically, they asked why I wasn't drinking, but then said, "Oh, right, fair enough" and carried on, me sitting there with a glass of Coke while they had their Staropramen. But then, one of the gang is a vegetarian so when we're eating, we're used to one person having something different to the others and that means that if the testosterfest of the Friday pub session can withstand a veggie, it can withstand a TT.

    Having said that, there were times where it was just myself and the veggie and he did feel a little bit weird being the only one drinking alcohol (I got round this by suggesting we order food next time, so I could feel weird being the only one eating meat).

    One odd thing though: we had a temp who came with us for a couple of weeks, and he ordered soft drinks as well. So we questioned it (I asked him if I wasn't the only TT in the village anymore) and he said he did drink but didn't want to drink during the day. That did seem to raise eyebrows, as it was neither one thing nor the other. My mate thought he was a bit of a wuss even though he was drinking the same thing I was...

    But like Julie says, if it's a regular thing, if it's what you do anyway, you can have pretty much the same night out as your mates (like spending an hour and a half on a quiz machine courtesy of a buckshee pound that had gone unclaimed, for example) with the only difference being that you're sober at the end of it.

    Having said that, I always feel like I could go a kebab at the end of it, despite the lack of booze...