I wrote a post last week explaining the greatest challenge of my life so far. I am on some medication from the doc which, if I drink alcohol, will make my arse fall off. Not a problem normally, but this weekend I had to face a two day wedding weekend with............gulp..........free booze!!
lets start with the most positive aspects of the weekend:
- First of all, I made it. It didn't kill me. I'm not saying I came through the ordeal unscathed but I am actually still alive. I know this because I just spilt coffee in my lap and it really hurt.
- Weirdly I got some perverse enjoyment out of having to abstain. Just like when I had a tattoo recently, for the first time, I found the process a little exciting in a weird way. I've always enjoyed a challenge, perhaps that's it. Or maybe there's an element of masochism somewhere in my subconscious. Tea total now, next stop gimp mask, a big nappy and an aggressive women who charges by the hour.
- I felt a weird sense of clarity. Being in a room full of outrageously drunk people I felt clear and lucid. Every sense seemed to be more alert. Every smell, every taste, every sound, every sensation was magnified by 10. At 11 pm I stood in the fresh air outside the marquee. I noticed every single star and every single sound in the still air. I felt the cold breeze on my skin. It was quite magical.
- The things I thought I would struggle with were not an issue at all. Conversation flowed naturally, I made people laugh, I made people smile. I enjoyed the interactions.
However there were some very strange results from my weekend of abstinence. I wouldn't say negatives as such, but there were clear themes that I had never been presented with before:
- I got bored very quickly. When you are drinking, as opposed to having a drink, you have always got something to do. Once the first few glasses are sunk you are continually replenishing or, in my case, going to the toilet. Either way there is always something to do. When you are drinking soft drinks you tend to consume if you are thirsty rather than consume for the sake of it. Of course as you get more and more bladdered there are many more things to occupy your time. These include dancing, falling over, being inappropriate and laughing at objects that are shaped a bit like a willy. These are removed from your agenda if you are sober. Except the willy one which is always on the agenda.
- By the end of the second day, every guest at the 200 strong wedding, knew I wasn't drinking and why. The word got round like wildfire. As I sat down to dinner on the second day someone tried to fill my glass. I politely declined at which point he said, "oh shit sorry mate, someone said you were on tablets". Bare in mind that I knew next to nobody at this wedding and after a few hours they all knew the contents of my medicine cabinet. This happened because everyone felt the need to 'excuse' the fact that I wasn't drinking. It wasn't enough to say that I wasn't, or indeed not mention it at all. It was such an outlandish concept that people needed a reason just to compute the information without their head literally exploding.
- I was the only person in the wedding party paying for drinks. The wine was completely free. All the wine you could drink was available at the click of a finger. There was some elder flower cordial supplied for the solitary pregnant woman but I had to pay for anything that wasn't tap water. There is nothing more surreal than having to pay £2 for a ginger ale when the person next to you helps himself to 6 bottles of Chateux Arse Faced without having to pay a penny.
- I went to bed staggeringly early. This may have been because I had just run out of stuff to do, or because I missed that period of boundless energy that keeps you going till the end when ur drunk, just before you fall asleep on the toilet.
- I wouldn't say there was a stigma as such. However people were curious. The fact that I wasn't drinking was so alien that I was asked about it. I guess that must be what it's like being a vegetarian. So much so that people who know me well were actually worried about me. They know I'm a drinker and were genuinely concerned about my welfare without alcohol. How weird is that? They were more concerned about my welfare from not drinking that consuming 8 bottles of wine in one sitting. In fact one particular guest, no names and no details mentioned, drank all day and all night and got in his car at 1am and drove home. This seemed to attract less interest than the fact that I didn't have anything alcoholic in my tonic, ice and lemon.
Anyway. I got through it.
The fact is I still can't hang weights from my penis, but with my newly found masochistic tendencies, I might actually want to.
Have a great day one and all (raises glass of elderflower cordial)