July was my month without booze. Why? Well in part to prove to myself that I could, but also to change some habits that I’ve fallen into.
How did I intend on going about this? Well my first technique was to mention it to as few people as possible. The more people I tell, the bigger deal it becomes and the more I think it. This is also the reason why I chose not to partake in Dry July.
I also tried to change this habit by tapping onto an existing habit. The main one being when I’m at home, where I spend a lot of time working, the indicator of relax time is having a drink. This goes along with other things also such cooking, listening to some records, reading a book or watching a movie, but the booze was always a common denominator. So I made a point of switching off using these other activities minus the booze. If I skipped this and just spent the time that I would otherwise be drinking, working, then it would be very likely that after the month was out I’d still only be able to switch off by having a drink.
So how’d I go? Well, perfectly. But to completely honest I knew that I wouldn’t have a problem with the task. But it did lead to some observations that I made during the course of the month.
- My morning crankiness and tardiness has nothing to do with alcohol – It doesn’t matter if I’m still feeling the effects of an immeasurable amount of Jack Daniels or if I haven’t had a drink for 29days, I still like to hit the snooze button thirteen times before getting out of bed and I still can’t stand any form of all but necessary conversation before at least 11am.
- Drunk people are uncomfortable around sober people – Well maybe I just made people feel bad. Perhaps it’s the same guilty feeling I get when I’m scoffing down a Dim Sim in front of my vegan friends. Either way having people drink around me in no way made me more inclined to drink despite their guilty feelings.
- Alcohol makes a normal night feel a lot less normal – You know that pleasant night out for dinner with friends, good conversation, good food. This is normal. Everyone does it. Want to make it less normal, even crazy? Instead of stopping with a couple of quite glasses of wine and going home, get everyone to follow up at bar, followed by another bar, followed by another bar, etc, etc. You know the drill. At 10.30pm everything’s fine the responsible members of your group head home and then the next thing you know you’re waking up in bed fully clothed at 1pm the following day, you can’t quite remember how you got home and you’re too scared to check your bank balance for fear of regretting that round of shots you bought for 13 of your new found friends. This is not a normal night and the stories that culminate from it are only possible because of alcohols narcotic effects.
- The most tempting place to drink is an art gallery – What!!! But didn’t you go and check out any bands in bars during the month you may ask? Well yeah, of course I did. But I’ve spent a lot of time in bars stone cold sober from playing shows. Playing shows and drinking are two things that don’t necessarily co-exist for me. But walk me into an art exhibition with a room full of upper-middle class NGV members drinking overpriced and under aged sparkling white wine and the first thing I want to do is ask for a neat double of the cheapest whisky they have on offer. Why? Well I haven’t exactly figured this out. I think I like the shock value that I get from the bar staff and those ordering around me, plus if I then find those same people in the exhibition and make a well informed observation it’s all the more fun. Hiding the fact that you just want to get loose behind an upper class ‘appreciation’ for fine wine is no different to a uni-student chowing down on $2 spirits at a Thursday night happy hour. Let’s face it, inebriation actually takes more drinks for the latter.