Listener, you have before you a virtuous Becky. A wholesome Becky, a saintly Becky. A Becky so pure, so unsullied by evil, that I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel a trifle overwhelmed. I feel a little overwhelmed at myself.
Yes, most admiring Listener, I have given up booze for an entire month. I have been on the sobriety wagon for the whole of November. Not a drop of alcohol has touched my lips, tickled my nasal hairs, or been dribbled down my chin. I am, to quote my good friend Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.
Why did you give up alcohol for a whole month, Becky?? I hear you cry. Fear not, inquisitive Listener. I shall tell you.
Aside from the rather alarming realisation that since alcohol became a regular feature in my social life at the age of 18/19, my body probably hasn’t gone more than about a week without saying hello and howdy to a drop of the sauce, I wanted what I was promised by other people who had given up booze for a month; namely, boundless energy, less tiredness, stunning youthful looks, dewy fresh skin, a reinvigorated zest for life, and a newly developed penchant for soft drinks.
Considering the above, I shall present you with a series of statements that should be pertinent to my month-long sobriety. I shall also present you with a truthful account of whether these statements are in fact truthful.
Becky gained more energy, and wasn’t tired. Once.
I shall ask Stickman to demonstrate how I expected to feel during my month abstinence from energy-zapping alcohol.
And now I shall further ask Stickman to demonstrate how I actually felt during my four weeks without one single milligram of energy-zapping, fatigue-inducing, body-poisoning alcohol in my bloodstream.
Listener, this experience led to my discovery of one of the greatest lies of our time: Giving up alcohol gives you more energy and makes you feel less tired. This, Listener, to put it bluntly, is a giant, hairy, stinking, heinous lie. I have never been more tired in all my life. Waking up in the morning was like dredging a pond of scummy water. For most of the four weeks I have sat slumped over my desk in a lethargic funk, wailing pathetically to my keyboard that I SHOULD FEEL AMAZING!! WHY DO I NOT FEEL AMAZING???
I had a vague energy surge in the first week – no, surge is the wrong word – more a slight energy incline, like a small wheelchair ramp – the second week was appalling, I felt like my head had been stuffed with soggy teatowels and I was actually reduced to tears one Sunday whilst staring at my novel that I wasn’t writing and realising that I couldn’t even see it, never mind write the frikkin thing; the third week was becoming boringly energyless, and this fourth week – well. On Monday I stood at the bottom of a flight of stairs on a station platform during rush hour and contemplated asking a fellow commuter if they’d give me a piggy back.
Verdict: A revolting lie. A lie the likes of which has rarely been seen by humanity.
Becky looks years younger and her complexion is dewy and amazing.
Within about four days of my body not receiving alcohol, I noticed that I had alarmingly pronounced wrinkles under my eyes which, infuriatingly and devastatingly, were not there before. Excuse me, I said to the God of Sobriety, I thought giving up alcohol was supposed to reduce wrinkles and make me look healthy and youthful, not worn and decrepit.
Well, replied the God of Sobriety, alcohol can cause puffiness of the face due to increased water retention. Perhaps – just perhaps, Becky – your face has been consistently slightly puffy during your years of regular alcohol consumption, and now that sobriety has lessened your water retention your face is less puffy and has resulted in uncovering the fact that you are actually quite old and haggard and have wrinkles which were previously stretched out due to your terrible puffiness.
So, God of Sobriety, it’s a bit like sweeping a dusty floor and discovering a really shitty worn carpet underneath.
Yes. That’s exactly what it’s like.
I will admit, Listener, that I have noticed an improvement in my skin tone. It is less red, less blotchy, and less dehydrated-looking. And do you know what? I should f*cking well hope so. A month of nothing but water, soda water, drinks made with water, and water, should f*cking well improve my f*cking skin tone.
Verdict: Mostly a lie with a thinly veiled compensation.
Becky had a reinvigorated zest for life and enjoyed observing things she hadn’t previously noticed, like the gentle gleam of a drop of dew on a fallen leaf.
In the first couple of weeks, O inquisitive Listener, I did, despite the fug of fatigue, feel a strange lightness of being. That is to say, I was less irritable. I was able to maintain conversations that I would otherwise have found bothersome, and I was able to tolerate people to whom I would otherwise have taken umbrage.
I also achieved more. Due to the fact that I wasn’t monstrously wasting away my life spending evenings sipping cool, relaxing, soporific wine and indulging in vibrant and witty conversation with my closest friends whilst sitting in the cosy, amiable atmosphere of a warm local pub………….sigh……….. I actually spent a lot more time writing. I worked on my novel. I wrote blogs. This is my fourth blog post this month. YOU, most fortunate Listener, have benefited from my month-long abstinence. It’s okay. You can thank me later. (An incredibly large bottle of gin will suffice.)
And guess what – I enjoyed sitting at home and being industrious. I felt creative, I felt productive. True, some evenings I was too RUDDY TIRED to do anything particularly creative, and on those evenings I angrily watched documentaries on YouTube (Most Extreme Airports and The Truth About Killer Dinosaurs were particular highlights), but most of the time I was being productive. And that made me feel quite good.
Verdict: Almost true. A welcome motivational boost, occasionally punctuated by useless facts about stegosauruses.
Becky developed a keen penchant for soft drinks and realised that alcoholic beverages are really not that great.
I want to make this clear, Listener: my evenings at home drinking cups of tea and hot milk were fine. I didn’t miss alcohol. At all. I didn’t even think about it. But sobriety did not turn me into a hermit. I did venture out into public houses. (Come on, there’s only so much creativity a girl can take in a month.)
To learn of my experiences of abstinence whilst in a public house setting, observe the following accounts of a typical evening:
6.07pm: Approach bar. Stare yearningly at alcohol. Order pint of lime and soda.
6.09pm: Guzzle lime and soda. Relish, for about 49 seconds, in its pleasingly refreshing qualities.
6.19pm: Refuse offer of glass of wine from friend. Order second pint of lime and soda.
6.33pm: Go for a wee.
6.35pm: Return. Guzzle lime and soda. Get caught staring at friend’s bottle of lager with ‘manic look’ in my eyes.
6.40pm: Go for a wee.
6.44pm: Return. Eye spilt droplet of beer on the bar, and quickly tell myself that licking public surfaces would do me no favours whatsoever.
6.46pm: Go for a wee.
6.50pm: Finish second lime and soda. Get asked if I want a drink. Stare hopelessly at range of soft beverages in front of me, all of which will pump me full of sugar or caffeine and rob me of precious sleep. Fear third pint of lime and soda will cause irreparable bladder malfunction. Order tomato juice. Cry a bit inside.
6.56pm: Go for wee.
7.00pm: Return. Fail to laugh at a joke that I would’ve laughed at had I had a glass of wine.
7.10pm: Descend into a sober-induced paralysis in which I watch people around me getting merrily crapulous, sip wincingly at my tomato juice, every quaff of which is like a mouthful of chilled snake venom, and contemplate asking if anyone has heroin.
7.20pm: Go for wee. Tomato juice has quashed bladderly urges slightly, thus reducing frequency of toilet trips.
7.31pm: Have someone say ‘Becky, do you want a large wine? OH NO SORRY YOU’RE OFF IT HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.’ Plot violent and monstrous revenge whilst becoming fixated on the dregs of white wine in a nearby glass.
7.45pm: Push empty tomato-smeared glass away. Mutter a weary farewell to the merry folks around me, go home and cry into a mug of warm milk.
Verdict: If I ever see a tomato juice or a lime and soda again I will personally remove the foreskin of every man within walking distance. Alcohol is great.
The best thing about giving up alcohol for a month?
Buying alcohol is expensive. I bought no alcohol. For the mathematicians amongst you, the relevant formula is something along the lines of:
sobriety x the square root of my purse / 30 days in November + a couple of boxes of teabags = BECKY SAVED A LOT OF MONEY.
This, my friends, was the best thing about giving up alcohol. I enjoyed not spending my hard-earned cash to fund the slow decline of my liver, and I enjoyed spending it on other things, like a new pair of shoes, a new dress, and a haircut (no I wasn’t previously some bearded hair-covered wino, I just had a few split-ends, okay?).
Second best thing, the increased productivity. The extra pages I’ve added to my novel. The extra time I’ve spent with you beautiful people.
The rest? Lies.
But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. See if you feel invigorated, full of energy, rid of fatigue, dewy complexioned, and fly through life being positive and fresh and clean and ALIVE.
Alternatively, do take my word for it, and pour yourself another massive glass of wine.