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Monday, 24 November 2003

Cancel Crissmuss, Please

I've been trying to write distant, objective, non-toomuchinformation blog for a long dull week now, while my sleep average racked back up to near normal, and while I came to grips with stage one in the latest challenge. For someone who didn't percieve themselves as drinking very much at all, it was a bit of a shock when my doctor told me to stop. After splitting up with Wickedex I was drinking about three, maybe four bottles a week of wine in total (and that's including nearly every weekend out on the piss). The week before last (the waking up with head in the cat litter week), it went up to seven bottles. The doc helpfully pointed out that what with all the other stuff going on at the moment (oooh, being poor, getting dumped, having nowhere to live, and all - that sort of thing), perhaps this was putting an unreasonable strain on myself. And on my sense of reality. When I 'fessed up about the seven bottles he shouted 'oh my god! you are killing yourself! do you want to lose your job?!' in that typically vague, calming Sri Lankan tone of understatement that he has.
So last Monday, I decided to give up the booze.
This precipitated a fearsome bout of hysteria that ended with me puking up a KFC dinner outside the Edward Lear Hotel in Marble Arch at midnight. But let's not get into that. (If that's your hotel, I apologise. It tasted really minging, you know.)
He told me to stay dry for two months. My conversations with everyone for the past week have thusly reiterated: 'Two months! Two months! Christ! That includes Crisssmusss....... New Year! I'm going to be LITERALLY Bored to Death. Ah shit oh shit oh shit' ... you get the idea. A Crissmuss without even a tot of Bailey's? Jebus wept, it'll be one long round of Ken Dodd on telly, inedible stodge, and slitting my wrists.
Turns out he was letting me down gently - tonight he revised his prognosis to 'a minimum of six months. And then some!' Fuck.

I thought about throwing away all the alcohol in the house. Then I didn't.
It was like losing a mate, somehow. People would ring up and invite me out. 'Wait. I can't drink.'
I brightened up a bit when I realised it also meant I could drive - no more #70 taxis from improbable places for me or any of my mates. But that only ever happened when we were bladdered anyway.
Cripes, maybe I'll be so bored I'll be giving lifts back to Brighton, or York?
Hurrah for the steadfast true friends who responded with 'okay, you're coming here at Crissmuss then.' Or alternatively, 'You won't mind if I get bleeding trollied though, will you?'
As I said the other day, HarvardBoy recommended leaping back in the dating scene. Quite apart from the ridiculousness of the casual sex suggestion, the idea of meeting unknown dykes without some dutch courage terrifies me.
Hey, I'm not a weed - I spent half the summer going out and making mates out of women I barely knew, and who terrified. I was rimmed to the eyeballs every time. I've never *seen* the dyke scene work without copious quantities of drugs AND alcohol.
So that's it, I'm reduced to quietly wondering if exes of exes will go for a mercy fuck, till next July. Aargh.

I had once tried to cut down on the daily glass or five of wine before - I was on the only diet I've ever done, and had lost two stone, then 'plateaued'. If I dropped down by one glass per day, then my calorific intake would reduce to that of Starvin Marvin, and my body would be shocked into losing the rest of the blubber I needed to shed at the time.
Trying to drink just one less glass per day had unbelievably disastrous consequences. After four months of regimented rabbit food, suddenly I had the self control of a puppy in a field of ADHD gerbils. I would gorge on two or three tubs of ice cream a day, usually interspersed with whiskey and jaffa cakes, before a nightly pizza snack.
Trying to analyse - through the crumbs, choc ices, and smears of cream - what was going wrong, I realised that I was able to cut my food intake by maintaining focus on the goal (losing weight), but if I tried to drop the alcohol intake, I automatically felt I was *denying* myself something. And all the normal barriers dropped in defiance of the injustice of it all.
I started back on the glass of wine a day, and *poof* (fnarr fnarr), the diet became easy peasy once more.

This Thursday my efforts to eat vegetables or at least one meal every other day toppled to the ground, and I ate fifty seven cream cakes instead. Jeez. At this rate, I'd be alcohol-free but thirty stone heavier by next summer.
The weekend was the worst. I knew I'd be shattered on Friday night. Shattered, cold, menstrual, worried about money. I thought maybe taking up teev again would help - possibly with the help of a blanket and some wintry elaborately prepared tasty dishes. No such luck - Children in Need, (a godawful UK annual telethon) was on. No way was I switching that crap on and watching people pretend to be happy when *they* were okay, they're in the meeja and are all quite patently Charlied up to their eyeballs. Anyone over the age of 14 shouldn't have to endure that sober.
The alternative was a long bath with a book.
Or sleeping. (But drink-induced coma is a fun way of sleeping!)
But.Not.With.Wine. (awwwww...)
I ended up making excuses to open the fridge door just so I could see the light glint as it refracted through the fucking bottle.

Saturday I went out with yidaho. Being a good-natured sort, she agreed to go to a comedy club, with food, and then clubbing after. All of which are Things To Do that use up your mouth or your hands so you're not drinking. I drove, so I'd have to stay sober.
The comedy was great, and the evening was fun. But I knew the point where everyone is too pissed to dance straight was coming. The point where the real comedy starts, during bar five of 'YMCA'. The point where it doesn't really matter how shit the talent or the music is, cos you've drunk so much that you suddenly think doing the conga with midgets is hilarious.
I knew straight clubs were godawful, but bloody hell - a straight club full of stag parties - older men stag parties - on the night of the England Rugby win, when you've drunk nothing but mineral water is a sight to behold. The only thing that kept me from stabbing them with my chicken kebab skewer is that I, at least, didn't have to see the pigeon-toed rhythm-deficient torpid old wankers naked.
I rewarded my self with large amounts of chocolate eclair toffees and coffee, and got home around 6am.
For society's sake, and in the total absence of any medical hangover requirement, I spent the entire next day in bed. All twenty four hours of it. That'll stop me from downing the four quarts of gin in the cupboard, oh aye.

Strangely, it's made all the other things I have to do - pick up the phone when it rings, get up and go to work in the mornings, open the mail, restrain urges to stab memebers of the public, sell the house, communicate civilly with Wickedex without screaming - even harder.
The most alarming thing is that there's no excuses left for me; if I'm boring, it's me who's boring, not the Drunk. If I'm stupid. If I'm annoying or rude - no hiding behind anything and blaming it apologetically the next day. (My Telling People to Go Fuck Themselves Quotient has risen massively within that one week.) If I'm too crap to get out of bed that day, it's not a hangover. It's me. I'm crap.
I'm surprised that the Doc was right, and this is actually already a difficult habit to break.
Presumably, he was also right, then, that given the circumstances, it was going to get worse.
It's scary to lose my crutch, though. Real scary.
It's unadulterated me, for weeks and weeks and weeks and fucking boring bloody weeks and fucking fucking weeks of it. It feels like someone's died. Like the interesting part of me has left. They say the devil has all the best tunes, but I've got enough stupid racy stories to tell - I don't need to down some more of them.
And that bottle's still in the cupboard.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:08 PM GMT
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Monday, 24 November 2003 - 11:47 PM GMT

Name: Lettuce
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Sounds like a bloody marvellous idea. Not that I think you're a pisshead (Coming from me! Ha!) but just because totally giving up addictive stuff is a Good Thing. Stop that talk about the interesting you (though I do know what you mean, but it's crazy talk) Look on the bright side - at least you're not contemplating giving up tea, that would be a shocker.

Mind - I know what the Bad Thing is - you are going to be all sodding joyous and evangelical within a couple of weeks. Aargh!

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 12:12 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I did think that if I joined one of those happy clappy churches now it might circumvent years of torment. Probably none of the rest of them believe it either.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 1:35 AM GMT

Name: fridgemagnet
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It is true, giving up the booze means you start to realise that actually, a lot of the things that you blamed on the booze (not getting up on time, not doing what you said you would that evening, not working) really aren't the booze, never were the booze. They were you. And that's nasty. I hate it.

Doctors always assume that any alcohol figure you tell them is half what you actually drink, incidentally.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 7:08 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Oh bugger, so he thought I was on two bottles of wine a day?! That makes his reaction make more sense, actually. I shall remember to round down in future. Cheers!

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 8:57 AM GMT

Name: yidaho
Home Page:

"Oooh, Fame! Let's dance for Leroy!" is far more "interesting" coming from the mouth of a sober person, dontchafink? ;-)

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 11:13 AM GMT

Name: ThePimpress
Home Page:

6 bloody months without a single drink? actually i suppose in the grand scheme of the universe (that conspires against you and me as i write this) it's not that long really, is it? i mean you could compile lots of wonderful stories as the sober person. watching you friends get pissed off their arses while you take notes. think of the blackmail and the extortion money you could get later (at least 10 or 20 p).

after a month you'll probably miss it less and who know you may not want to drink ever again (okay it's a thought anyway). think of all the quid you'll be saving too... i'm just trying to be positive... i'm new here so pardon me for not knowing you were a lesbian. i'm bi i think that means we're supposed to distrust each other or something.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 11:37 AM GMT

Name: jatb

I'm pretty sure you'll continue to be interesting. (After all, you were the most interesting person I knew before you bathed with wine, and the alcohol didn't change that.) But now you're sober, you might realise how lacking in entertainment-value the rest of us are by comparison. Particularly when we're drunk.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 11:42 AM GMT

Name: Pan
Home Page:

Alas I have now reached the conclusion that if I'm going to drink at all I'm going to be pissed, so have to assume the worst for the next day. What this boils down to is being essentially dry Sun-Thurs as anything else results in waking up at 1pm wondering why I'm not in work given that it's only Tuesday . . .

Believe me - better to do this now rather than have your boss ask (and believe me this was humiliating) if you've ever thought of getting some councelling about your little problem. Obviously this Sun-Thurs rule is often observed in the breach rather than the observance but still. And there are many good reasons for not drinking - aka feeling like hammered @#%$! all the time, lack of money, bad health, tardiness, paranoia, insomnia, blackouts, UDIs (Unidentified Drinking Injuries), the list is endless.

I don't however envy you 6 months without any kind of drink at all - it sounds horrible but don't worry about Christmas. As my parents are, if not absolute teatotallers, very abstemious and particularly anti drunkeness I have spent many Christmas days not even slightly pissed, and it's really not that bad - there's loads to do including lots of washing up. And jigsaws. I'm not really selling this am I?

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 12:34 PM GMT

Name: Martin Sewell
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Take the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (MAST) (I scored 35), read the official NHS Direct Online Health Encyclopaedia: Alcohol misuse and then come out and get sober with me. :-)

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 2:34 PM GMT

Name: NC

Bathed with or bathed in...? I think you'll find that milk works much better for the skin, according to cheesy legends of Cleopatra etc:-0

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 3:21 PM GMT

Name: jatb
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I meant bathed with wine, in the sense of being accompanied by. Obviously, if skin-moisturising properties are a priority, one would bathe in Bailey's, or a White Russian, or some other milky, alcohol based liquid.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 3:46 PM GMT

Name: Vicky
Home Page:

Brilliant writing :)

Booze is really hard to kick - whilst in a previous job, in which I was getting a lot of @#%$!, I was drinking a bottle of wine a night (or, one evening, a bottle of vodka) Drink makes me morose nowadays, which is a shame 'cos I love a nice glass of red or three.

Good luck!

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 5:06 PM GMT

Name: Kat
Home Page:

Trying to quit drinking is a tough thing to do... And, the commenter that said your doc probably thinks you're drinking twice as much may just be on to something as well.

Just do what you can do.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:01 PM GMT

Name: Pan
Home Page:

35! - that's actually pretty impressive.

I love these tests where the intention is to make everyone come out as an alcoholic / drug addict / whatever (I scoreed 11 btw - poor).

And the best bit it that all comments like this can then logically be dismissed as denial.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:03 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

@#%$!, I'd hoped you were too drunk to remember me saying that. Damn yer eyes!

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:05 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I think it means I have to throw old clammy spaghetti at you while naked, or summat. I have the bolognese ready, as it happens.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:07 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Oh dear - but I know how weak the competition was. 'Missy' Elliott? The Watkins?
Anyway, my boss ritually humiliated me in front of twenty people today for being bad at taking a compliment (gee, thanks), so i spose I better say, why thank you! etc.
And no, while sober, I do find pissed people very very funny, actually.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:09 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Whereas bathing in p|ss, cat or otherwise is a bad idea.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:18 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Try imagining Christmas with a family who really enjoy drinking. Arrrrgh. They flick peanuts at me (like baaaaad Superman at the bar) if I don't drink with them!

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:21 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa


Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:23 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Well that made me feel better, because I was actually honest about how much I drank, so if he's assuming I drink double that, then I'm less of a total fuc|k-up, yeah?

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:24 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I don't think I generally drink that much, over time, though, I've just been drinking a lot right now. It's the having to find a new habit to hit when you feel stressed that's so damn inconvenient. I almost wish I smoked.

Well, no, actually, I loathe smokers.

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:40 PM GMT

Name: NWJ
Home Page:

Ok well I scored 2 on the test.

Was that an offer to drive people around after meets?

I quite like straight clubs... I must be weird!

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 6:53 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Yup, alright then, seeing as it's you!

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 7:47 PM GMT

Name: NWJ
Home Page:

Fank you muchly.

Bless yer lickol cot'on sox!

Yer a diamond

Tuesday, 25 November 2003 - 9:18 PM GMT

Name: ThePimpress
Home Page:

Super :) It's a date then - hehe.

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 12:42 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

And if Sarah or Lemonpillows or Creepy try to muscle in on the act, they're not allowed - there's a strict lesbian 'dibs' system that mustn't be disrupted with the spaghetti flinging.

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 12:46 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Took me twenty minutes to work out who it was, though! ;-)

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 4:15 AM GMT

Name: ThePimpress
Home Page:

righty then no butting in to the spaghetti flinging activities! check.

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 6:31 AM GMT

Name: yidaho
Home Page:

By rights I should've been, but this particular comment stunned me into temporary soberness. :)

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 10:46 AM GMT

Name: NWJ
Home Page:

One likes to keep people on their toes!
An air of mysticism does me, not that it lasts for long :(

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 6:20 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Poor Leroy..... :-)

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 6:29 PM GMT

Name: Sie

I got six but I think I would be lower if the questions specified past or present. Then again I only have a drink a few times a year these days.

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 8:39 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Unless they have macaroni.

Wednesday, 26 November 2003 - 9:48 PM GMT

Name: Looby

That's a very inappropriate URL for a serious test - "suavelicious"! :)

7, btw.

Thursday, 27 November 2003 - 7:24 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Suavelicious is the new NHS name for foundation hospitals, surely?

Thursday, 27 November 2003 - 7:50 PM GMT

Name: sarah

Good grief, our family doctor drinks in the same pub as us. I once went for a smear test and then alter the same day had to serve him drinks, which I'm sure is against the hypocratic oath or something.

Anyway, if you want some crappy advice, do something with your evening. My straight-mate has to do something every night (Swimming, ballet, running, rock-climbing, and theatre if I recall, not that I've ever stalked her, honest) after work in order to maintain her sanity. Also, mind you don't get addicted to the wobblies.

Thursday, 27 November 2003 - 8:18 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Ahhh, but then I wouldn't be able to scoff loathingly at the sort of people who fill their evenings with outdoorsy hobbies if I did that.

And I do love a good scoff.

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 12:50 PM GMT

Name: sarah

what, the bloke who invented radio?

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 10:14 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Yeah, the guy who played the mamba. Don't you remember? They built this city on rawknrolllllllll. etc.

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