Dry January Update #2
When you quit smoking there’s one cigarette above all others you just know you’re going to miss. The after dinner cigarette. And you do.
When you work from home it’s the 5pm wine you treasure - the signal that your work is done for the day. And of all the 5pm wines you drink, it’s the Friday night end of the week wine that is the greatest of them all.
The end of the day. The end of the week. Signal of two days off - or at least two days where no one but you is influencing your work schedule.
In January 2016 I'm going without alcohol. This is the report of my second week of abstinence.
Last Friday I found myself wondering something I haven’t really considered since I stopped smoking about 15 years ago:
“What do these people do for fun?”
Pure cold water is nice but it’s not celebratory. Turning to sugary drinks like lemonade or fruit juice is out of the question. Besides I don’t think you move on by such direct substitutions. It’s too easy to slip back to the real thing.
For me what seems to work is transference.
It’s been a kind of a natural progression: Friday night drinks used to be about drinking, smoking and snacking. Then it was about drinking and snacking. . . and now?
I suspect that I transferred my oral fixation about drawing in smoke directly to wine. I think that’s why I love the acidity of sauvignon blanc. It’s all about mouth feel.
And Now: Snacking!
So I think if I didn’t drink at all ever again I’d mark these occasions by eating sharp-tasting snacks.
Luckily, last Friday I was prepared - I’d bought some great crackers and a gourmet dip - artichoke - which I happen to love. And I had feta and nuts. It was OK. I didn’t consciously plan for the snacks to have a sharp taste, but now that I recognise the pattern I will.
It’s not too drastic a change - I’m not even putting on weight. I’m losing a little, if anything. I’m now officially 10 kg lighter than when I ‘quit’ sugar in September 2013. And I didn’t quit it entirely, I just stopped using products with more than 5% sugar. No more chutney, no more tomato sauce. Citrus fruit would be my primary source of sweetness now.
So yes - my original source of inspiration Elettra Weidemann warned that the first two weeks are the worst, so let’s hope it’s simple and easy from now on.
To be honest I haven’t been anywhere I’ve really had the option to drink - well technically there’s the Irish whiskey in the cupboard and the brandy and Chinese cooking wine in the kitchen if I was truly desperate. But I haven’t been to a bar.
The only place I’ve been close to wine for sale is the supermarket, which has been surprisingly easy to resist. I’ve met up with friends during the day for tea or coffee but not in the evening.
As for effects - well compared to the inspirational Elettra’s list, mine is still a little paltry.
I’m beginning to notice I have a bit more energy, or at least, that my periods of peak performance are lasting longer. But no change in sleep patterns - drinking more water may have something to do with that.
However, if my gut bacteria have anything to contribute to this, the next week should be fabulous!
So, something for you to look forward to. in next week's update - along with . . . the airline lounge after 5 challenge and the barbecue episode.