I would also like to add that I did not lose any weight or gain abs from this new fitspo life-style. Prior to taking this on, I was sure that without my 4a.m southern fried chicken wraps or garlic cheese chips, I would become equally fit to an Olympian as I have been trying to since 2013. I was really hoping for this, however, at least we now know that drinking or not drinking along a healthy life-style will probably not make a difference unless you’re really willing to commit. I will be attributing my current lack of Summer body to this freezing weather and its subsequent requirement to hibernate.
Only drinking TWICE in one month for me would be a similar definition to not at all for someone else so I am still proud of myself. Each weekend usually sees me making potions and putting on high heels. When I considered this segment of the project, it felt as though it was going to be the most daunting part because my social calendar generally involves alcohol, whether it’s at a gig, a restaurant, a bar, even just sitting in for a movie night, all of these occasions involve gin. Writing about this experience today, I am proud of how many times I did say: “No – I’m being a nana” when my friends tried to persuade me to come out. It was the second most enlightening experience, after giving up social media.
You don’t know how many social crutches you have until you completely take them away. My gin and tonic on a Friday or lack-there-of really stung during the first week, by the second week, I was dying to be dancing in a club and getting up to mischief, even if it was in Coppers. Last weekend was my first weekend back on the booze, or officially, back on the booze guilt-free.
Today, I’m sitting in work with the fear sitting on my shoulders and a foggy head. It’s day two and I feel like this hangover is never going to pass. I get notoriously bad hangovers. Whether I have had three glasses of wine or three bottles, I am floored for days after.
My nana never drank. They didn’t have the disposable income and it wasn’t something my nana or grandad had a particular interest on. With a big family, I doubt they would have ever had the time. This left space for more diverse hobbies for my grand-mother, like reading and going to dances. Back in the day, Nana said their group of friends used to take turns of going to each-other’s home for tea and treats. They would sit and chat and sometimes read books aloud to one-another.
Today, socialising is not so serene. Maybe it’s been my time away from drinking and clubs or maybe it’s just maturity rearing its wise old head but I’m starting to find the eco-system of clubs a little off-putting.
If you’re in your early twenties, you are more than likely to have prinks (pre-drinks) at your house which will most likely end up in you and your friends being drunk before you get to town. By the time you get to town it’s half 11 or 12, you have about four hours to dance/get the shift or drink some more.
I’m interested to know how this can come under the category of “Social Life” anymore. There is nothing social about drinking yourself silly before you have even gotten to the bar, yet that is the way it just is for so many.
A sober by-stander in a club may also notice the predatory nature of night-clubs. Scantily clad girls (usually including me) dance, while the majority of our male counterparts stand on the outskirts of the dance-floor. If one male is feeling confident, they may approach a girl and touch her inappropriately but apparently, she was asking for it because she’s wearing a dress that is above her knee. This is, also our current social life as we know it and yet we live for these weekends.
The social skills of our age-group are fast diminishing because we don’t know how to talk to certain people unless we have some Dutch courage to rely on. Life is more complicated for us now because you have your “core friends”, your “going-out friends”, your “people-I-only-talk-to-when-I’m-drunk-friends”, your “Instagram friends” etc. etc. etc.
Back in my Nana’s day, you had your friends, and that was it. You all behaved relatively normal around each-other most of the time, but if you did act irrationally, everyone was sober and could account for their actions. There was no drunk crying or puking or verbally abusing each-other. People’s ability to talk to one another was more impressive because they didn’t have to worry about what they might have said to someone in a smoking room when the details are foggy due to their alcohol intake.
My quiet weekends of February helped me to read three books, go to a museum, concentrate on my writing, hang out with my family and appreciate feeling fresh going to work on a Monday. I think this mindfulness is something that will stick because going out should be for a special occasion, not just because. My nana used to take pleasure from the simple things and I think there’s an art to being able to do so.
For Irish people, in particular, I think there is also an art in being able to stop drinking when you have had enough. Think about how much you drink on a night out, like really think about it. I did this recently and realised that I had 25 units of alcohol in one night in the form of gin, vodka and wine.
We are supposed to have 14 units in one week and I’m talking about having 25 units in one night which is not counting the other nights I went out that week. We are completely clueless about how much we should be drinking and it’s affecting our ability to function, at work, at home and amongst friends and family. It’s affecting our synapses and our serotonin and our smarts. We need to look after our heads and that starts with what we’re putting into our body.
One unit of alcohol equates to one small glass of beer, one small glass of wine or 25mls of spirits. This means that if you have a naggin (or 250 ml) of say gin or vodka, which is a commonly purchased pre-drink, you have had 11 units of alcohol before you have even left the house to go to a bar or a club. Our tolerance for alcohol continues to reach dizzying heights when we continue to pre-drink recklessly.
My taste for alcohol at the weekends had left me by my third week. I just didn’t have a desire to go out. I was thinking about putting on sweat pants and reading my book to celebrate the weekend. I was thinking about bringing my younger siblings to the cinema and getting on top of boring adult things we all have to do. Most notably I was clear headed and content. They say it takes three weeks to get out of a habit. I no longer need to go out but it’s good for the soul, maybe just in moderation or the realms of 14 units a week.