Day 13 and it's a Saturday. In the old days I would wake up feeling ropey and trying desperately to go back to sleep while the dog and the children all take turns piling in under the duvet, excited about a new day - their enthusiasm equally matched by my despair. I would then try and get through the morning of chores, ferrying children to activities and so on, counting the hours and minutes until 12pm when I could reasonably open a bottle of wine 'to go with lunch'.
Today my eyes snapped open at 6.30am and I had that fabulous slow realisation that 'something is different. What is it? Oh yes, I'm not drinking. Yay - no hangover. I feel fabulous!' I greet the onslaught of dog and children with open arms and equally matched enthusiasm. I have a whole, glorious day ahead of me to fill. I feel like a child.
I'm doing a lot of reading right now, as well as writing, and I came across a beautifully written and really funny piece by John Cheese on Cracked.com entitled 'Seven things you don't know about addiction until you quit.' I was nodding along happily until I got to #6: You Will Lose Most of Your Friends. Wait John Cheese - STOP RIGHT THERE. I want to get off. I have spent thirty years building up my circle of fabulous friends and if this journey means losing most of them I'm going straight back to the Chablis. Is this really true?
John's argument is that most of your friends are bound to be 'drinking buddies' and that - without the alcohol - either they won't want to hang out with you or you won't want to hang out with them. Or both. Now I like to think that I chose my friends for far more profound reasons than that they drank. I thought I chose them (and, I hope, they me) for their kindness, wit, intelligence - not their fondness of a sauvignon blanc. However, it is possible that the friends I've seen more than others (and therefore grew closer to) were the ones happy to spend hours over a few bottles setting the world to rights.
I haven't told any of my friends yet that I'm intending not to drink again, ever. Or my family. Instead I've said that I'm 'giving up for Lent, and to give the liver a break.' This is seen as entirely appropriate and laudable (if a little boring) in my circles. I'm hoping that by the time I 'come out' they will have seen that I'm actually a better person when sober, and quite happy for them to carry on imbibing around me so I won't be dropped like a hot potato.
But a niggling voice tells me that John may be right - at least to an extent. I bumped into a Mum friend outside the school yesterday and she said "Why we go out for a bottle of champagne next week since I missed your birthday party?" (The birthday party was the last time I drank alcohol). I said "Great, but I'm not drinking - giving up for Lent. Give the liver a break, you know how it is?!" She looked crestfallen and said "When's Lent finish? Give me a call then!" I shouted after her "I can go out anyway!" But she'd gone.
Is it true that in our messed up society if you're not getting messed up on a regular basis you're deemed boring? Perhaps in going alcohol free we make others question their own habits and feel uncomfortable. Will I have any friends left? Please advise!