I’m trying to think what I’m going to do with this here blog. I’ve been intensively writing out the minutae of my humdrum life for the best part of a year, but it feels as though that’s drawing to a close for me now.
I don’t know if that’s for good or if it’s just a side effect of novel writing at the moment. (It’s notable that I had a bit of a pause before even referring to it as “novel writing”. I wanted to say “story writing” or something like that. Like how I used to refer to it as “making pictures” when drawing or painting or engaging in visual art. I sometimes like to claim I don’t suffer from imposter syndrome, but I guess that’s a lie. Or maybe it depends on the arena.)
On Tuesday it will be a year since I started the blog and a year since I gave up drinking alcohol. I’ve gone back and forth a number of times on “going public” since I made that decision. In the end, I don’t think I’m going to share the URL to this blog with the wide world – I mean, of course, it’s already public, right? But there’s a different kind of publicness that comes with sharing the link across my social medias with a big neon arrow pointing and saying “go here to read all my uncensored thoughts”.
Mostly I think people would just be surprised how boring it all is.
All the same, I do have a thought to go public about no longer drinking alcohol on the year anniversary.
This is also something I’ve been considering at different junctures across the days and months of the last year. Here’s what I think I’m going to say:
On this day last year I started an experiment. I decided to refrain from drinking alcohol for 100 days. I got to the 100 days and felt so good I just decided to keep going. It’s now been a year since I started the experiment and the biggest differences I’ve noticed is in my daily anxiety levels. I feel like a less anxious, more patient person. Oh and I’ve also lost more than 2 stone of weight, which doesn’t hurt my motivation.
Some people have asked me if I’ve given up for good, or if I’m every going to drink again. I don’t really know how to answer that question. It doesn’t really feel like I’ve given anything up. Anytime the question of alcohol comes up, I think about the value of what it brings over what it takes and it comes up short every time. I suppose if that equation got reversed then I might. But for now? I guess it just isn’t something that I miss.
I’m sharing this with people because I kind of wanted to normalise the choice. There seems to be the idea that you have to have “a drinking problem” in order to stop drinking. It’s the only drug society makes you explain yourself for *not* taking.
Hmmm… to be honest I’ll probably leave out the last paragraph. I think it comes across a little bit judgemental. Or else a bit “the lady doth protest”.
I mean, I think I would categorise myself as having had a drinking problem in that it was a problem for me. The way I used alcohol, I didn’t like to stop. It made me eat lots of really unhealthy food. Hangovers stopped me enjoying parts of my life. My anxiety skyrocketed and then I treated that anxiety with the drug that had caused it in the first place.
I’m not suddenly perfect without it, of course. The levels of anxiety I was carrying around yesterday alone would speak to that. Elyan was sick and I wasn’t sure how sick and wasn’t sure if we should leave Kerry early and I got all tangled up in myself and overwrought and failed to sleep and all of that.
I thought about drinking actually. I thought about how that would be an easy way to shut up the voices and the mind spinning for a while, and anyway, why not? A little never hurt anyone.
But then my thoughts turned to the idea of “escape” and how I really really don’t want to be trying to escape my life. If my life so badly needs escaping, then I’ll need to change up some stuff in it, not numb myself out so that I can tolerate shit I shouldn’t be tolerating.
And I totally mean tolerating from myself. You can’t get better from an unknown baseline.
I’m nearly a year in. I don’t know how much “better” I am than last year. As I said above, I’m more patient and less anxious. But the bar was low, dear readers.
Let’s see where I am next year.