The other year, back when I first thought I should challenge myself to limit the amount I drink, I decided to sign up for Febfast - a multi-charity fundraiser that happens in Australia, where they challenge you to give up alcohol for the month of February, all the while getting people - your family, your friends, your colleagues etc - to sponsor you. A bit like the 40 Hour Famine or MS Readathon. Only in Australia, we have the hard thing that this actually seems like a massive deal.
Indeed, I remember going into it, 2 years ago, thinking that it might well be nigh on impossible for me to accurate complete it. Even in that time, i bought the two “Golden Tickets”, a $25 donation that gives you a free pass on two of the days during the month. I used one of them at the Soundwave Festival, as the thought of going to an all day metal show, culminating with a performance by Faith No More, without a beer? REDIC! I can’t remember what I used the other one on, but I can tell you I know I didn’t save it for the time I needed it most. During that February, I moved house, and if anyone knows anything about moving house, its that the single most delicious beer you will ever have, is the one that follows that all day jaunt. It just is. And yet, I waited til March to have that.
So, last year I did 100 days off the booze, as this blog will attest to. I got about 10 or 12 weeks into blogging it, but then gave up - I guess I had enough of naval gazing about what I was doing, and my civic duty to document my experience for others fell away. After that 100 days was up, my therapist suggested I keep going with it. I didn’t.
Those first few times drinking again were stupid - insane - i could easily measure the effect any and all alcohol had on me, and for the most part it did something that commonly is thought to occur the other way - the more the alcohol filled my bloodstream, and altered my mind, the more my self confidence got sapped away. It was jarring, and even though I noted this widely, I ignored it. In September, my living situation fell apart, and I had to move house : ultimately ending up with me making the decision to move back in with my parents at the ripe old age of 31 (now 32).
In that time, I have slipped into old habits - drinking to excess most times I dj, or host trivia, or meet with friends. An old friend of mine, P - a young father, with another on the way - suggested that in 2012 we both take a year off the booze, and I agreed. Now, I haven’t spoken to him about this, but the first 7 days of 2012 have been, for want of a better term, completely off the rails for me.
It started on New Years Eve, where I had already consumed 6 beers before 4pm, on a relatively empty stomach. Drinking more, and taking ecstacy, I found myself DJing badly to a club I knew very few people at. I drank all my drink tokens (so another 6) and stumbled to another party, where playing wine sweeper I drank til well past sunrise.
On New Years Day, coming down, at 5pm we had sunset beers and mexican in Surry Hills.
On Monday the Second - my friend D, over from the UK, and I met up for a pub dinner, 12 schooners and a gig.
On the Tuesday, I stayed in
On the Wednesday, I had 8 beers at the Jean Grae gig down at Goodgod with my friend L, and then met up with M&E, also visiting from the UK, for beers between 1 and 3am.
On the Thursday, on top of a pill of ecstacy and tab of acid, we drank heaps. I woke up in a strange bed, and couldn’t speak properly.
On Friday night I had a date with S, and made sure it was nice and chill. We got pizza, and sat by the harbour and ate it with longnecks. I probably had the equivalent of 8 beers that night.
On Saturday, none of my friends were picking up their phones. I bemoaned their terribleness - we had organised to meet for sunset mexican and beers before the show at the Metro that evening - a gig with Pharoahe Monch and Jean Grae and GZA from the Wu Tang Clan… And just knew that all of them were mad hungover from big nights before. Sure enough, P&A didn’t awake til 5pm, B&N til 9ish. I was pretty miffed - B is my best friend, and in all this going off the rails, I have really been needing a friend in the down times, and I have only seen her once, briefly, on that monday the second.
ANYWAY, as the paranoid, delusional alcohol fueled, or alcohol withdrawing throughts swirled around my brain in my downtimes last week, I thought often as to how I had said to P I thought taking a whole year off the grog might be a good idea.
G asked if I wanted to do FebFast again, and I signed up for it - nothing motivates you to take a month off quite like the middle of a massive bender you know isnt stopping any time soon without a smidge of restraint…
So here we are. I haven’t had a drink since 2am on Sunday morning. I noticed yesterday some of the things I noticed at the beginning of my 100 days last year - touch is slightly different, waking up far easier, thirst for hydration goes through the roof, and my internal organs will start to ache. Today, they are starting to. I figure I should ride this out. I figure we should make a serious effort to be sober for a long while.
Yesterday when I was in Newtown, patting myself on the back for not having drunk anything by Tuesday afternoon, I had a meeting, and then by virtue of being in Newtown, was about to get on twitter and ask if anyone in the ‘hood wanted to meet for a beer. I forced myself on a bus instead. And as I drove away, I thought - I have no self discipline. But putting an arbitrary number on when I will drink next really helps. So there we are. Sat 3rd of March is my friend Tim’s Bucks Party, and I think thats my next beer. Lets see how we go.