I sniffed a bottle of red wine. Not in a passing it under my nose in order to assess its musky aroma way, no. I plugged it to my nasal passages and inhaled deeply as if I was taking in the memory of a lost loved one. Warmth prickled under my arms whilst my mouth flooded with saliva and my heart palpitated rapidly. Briefly I’m left feeling a little bit wobbly from the surge of this yearning desire. For a single moment there was the “what if?” Quickly however I move on, evolution made, I poured the luscious cherry liquid over the 600 grams of cubed beef, raw onions, garlic and diced celery and popped it in the oven. Cork in wine for husband to enjoy later.
“Are you still not drinking?”, “What’s it like not drinking?”
“Yes” and “its fine, I don’t really think about it”
But I do think about it, I think about it a lot.
There’s a going out night, let’s say a party with a bar; I’ve managed a couple so far. My initial thoughts are what am I going to drink at the party? I’ve come to the conclusion that when surrounded by people drinking alcohol I at least like to give the illusion I’m partaking, fooling myself more than others. So non- alcoholic beer suites me best, a Becks Blue if they have it, which they probably don’t in my experience. So I hope for a ginger beer and at the very least a lime and soda. Being surrounded by alcohol at a party is actually easier than sitting across the table from a friend nursing a goldfish bowl of Chablis. I’ve discovered that parties have many distractions, numerous guests, sometimes food and often dancing. But an intimate chat with a friend and their wine, no I’m not really comfortable with that, add food and I’m good to go. Come round for a cup of tea, even better.
At home there are beers, with and without alcohol content, in the fridge and an occasional bottle of wine, for drinking and more recently for cooking. There is half a bottle sat on the kitchen side now but it’s not calling me and it has not crossed my mind to engage with it, even though my husband is away! Six months ago the scenario would have been very different. My longing to envelop myself in the fuggy and forgetful world of alcohol has somewhat dwindled and instead a sudden moment of lust, sparked by something on the television, or a memory just passing through is more likely to leave me with a brief pang for the past.
But this is not me thinking about it a lot. The panic of whether I will be able to enjoy social engagement has subsided and as for what to do in an evening, a weekend, why blogging, twittering, crocheting and other hobbies and activities have easily allayed that worry, oh and there is always a family to interact with. No I think about it more first thing in the morning. I wake from my slumber with no regrets, no shuddering gut wrenching loathing, no digging deeper into the duvet hoping the outside world will disappear and forget about me and there are no more derisory thoughts of “oh you didn’t, not again” “You idiot”. Honestly I am extremely thankful every morning that I didn’t drink the night before.
Every day I think about not drinking alcohol, because not drinking alcohol has seriously started to change my life. Not in an I’ve won the lottery sort of overnight changed my life, more a slow and considered reveal. Peeling back the layers, pulling back the dead and dirty leaves to unearth the soft sweet goodness within, the tired years of alcohol dependency shed, leaving a person I have started to recognise again, it’s me.
The person I’ve met is what I remember of myself, glanced occasionally but sadly often absent. Last at her best in her late teens, yes I feel seventeen again. Those days of creative passion a desire for the world and a refutable belief that the universe could be conquered are returning. Add to her some years of worldly experience, emotional development and an increasing understanding of responsibility and this baby is damn near a pretty amazing grown up. Drum roll please, finally I feel that it may be possible to be the person that I’ve always wanted to be.
So whilst I explore all the possibilities that a hangover free life seems to be offering me, thinking about alcohol and how it’s absence is improving my existence tenfold. I bask in my own sensibility which in turn is fertilising my growing self esteem and occasionally I wonder if I should celebrate my brilliance with a glass of red wine, what do you think?………I agree, considering the sniffing incident, not ready yet.