It’s an interesting process trying to write every day for a year. It seems I’m not as committed to the regular routine as I thought I could be. There have been a few occasions since I last wrote when I’ve thought to myself: I’ll pass tonight. No one cares really. No one will miss it. Those moments have been a little like the one I had this morning sat on Hither Green Station platform staring at my shoe through the glass of my new phone.
What brings me back to the writing tonight? Guilt, determination, and defiance.
Oh, and a new regime, almost on its third consecutive night, of having avoided booze.
I don’t want to give the impression that I think I have a problem with drink. I think I have a habit, but not a problem. Habits are easily broken. Problems — dependencies — are considerably more challenging, I understand.
Monday and Tuesday night this week, I actively chose not to have a glass of red when I got home. The impact on my night’s sleep was remarkable. A much deeper kind of sleep and, interestingly for me, whilst still subject to repeated interruptions to go to the bathroom, I noticed I managed to get back to a deep sleep much much quicker. Yay.
Tonight maybe a little different. I’m in Bristol staying at a hotel, cracking through some emails and some leftover work. I go for an early supper and take some notes with me. I notice on the way down to the restaurant that there’s a moment — nothing more than a split second — when I think: Oh go on, just have a glass of something.
I resist, citing disappointment with myself that I will dirty my now cleaner insides with something which has only limited benefit on my mood.
“I’ll have a tomato juice please — a Virgin Mary,” I say proudly to the waitress.
She obliges with a smashing serving of my favourite non-alcoholic cocktail, usually reserved for special airport trips, but one which hasn’t been had for a very long time. I could get used to this, I think to myself as I suck on the straw, this is lovely.
A few notes scribbled down in my notebook, a salad, and then the bill. “Contactless?” asks the waitress, “It’s under £30”. “Yes,” I reply, “that’s fine.”
It’s only as I leave the restaurant that I actually look at the bill (another habit I need to break) and discover that the total includes a £3.60 for a ‘Smirnoff Red’.
“What’s this?” I ask the waitress, “I asked for a Virgin Mary.”
“Ah, I’m terribly sorry,” she says sheepishly, “it appears we’ve given you a Bloody Mary instead.”
I must have looked disappointed, because its as this point in time she asks whether she can do anything to make up for things.
“Would you like me to refund you the entire meal?” It’s a genuine request and one I cannot sanction. “Absolutely not. I’m just disappointed I’ve had alcohol tonight. I didn’t want to have any alcohol.”
“There’s always rehab.” I think she was joking.