I don’t always drink to get drunk.
I don’t and I didn’t. Before embarking upon my Year of Living Sober I could sometimes drink one stubbie of beer and then a couple glasses of wine and then stop.
But not often.
More often than not, back when I was drinking alcohol regularly, I’d drink until I was pretty tipsy, man. Maybe not always drunk but close—v. close, as Bridget Jones would have said in her diary.
If you haven’t heard of Bridget Jones—and though she would find that both ‘intolerable’ and completely understandable—she was (is) a fictional character created by English author, Helen Fielding. Bridget Jones’s Diary was a v (for very) successful novel and film* and come to think about it I’m sure you HAVE heard of it, so I shall continue…
I liked Bridget Jones’s take on self-control and alcohol. She endeavoured to be self-aware while using humor to monitor her self-‘medicating’. And apart from her unique West London nineties patois (I moved to London in 1998 and caught the end of that v. fun pre-millenium meltdown time) maybe, as I begin my 200th day (in a row) off booze, there’s another reason Helen Fielding’s fictional character comes to mind this morning?
When completing her diary, Bridget had a habit of documenting her intake of all things proof, even adding the number of shots, or measures, she’d downed in any one day. In some ways that novel could be seen as a kind of antecedent (as they say in publishing circles) to this YOLS blog; Bridget Jones’s diary being full of references to ‘alcohol units’ and their relationship to her ever-in-flux self esteem. Take this excerpt (from the front cover of my paperback copy) as an example:
Monday 17 April 8st 13, alcohol units 6 (drowning sorrows), cigarettes 19 (fumigating sorrows), calories 3983 (suffocating sorrows with fat-duvet), positive thoughts 1 (vg).
Like many people I saw the movie version of the novel. I loved it. Then, some years ago when I went back to study ‘Professional Writing’ (v. fun—for about 9 months) we were required to read the novel as part of my course. I’m not sure I finished it (the book that is, being sure—as I am—I dropped out of the course to finish writing my first novel) but flicking through my paperback copy just now I noticed almost every diary entry includes Bridget’s booze quota.
Here’s another example from near the end of Bridget’s story:
Monday 25 December 9st 5 (oh God, have turned into Santa Claus, Christmas pudding or similar), alcohol units 2 (total triumph), cigarettes 3 (ditto), calories 2657 (almost entirely gravy), totally insane Christmas gifts 12, number of Christmas gifts with any point to them whatsoever 0, philosophical reflections on the meaning of the Virgin Birth 0, number of years since self was a Virgin, hmmm.
As you can see, by Chrissy Day, and even with the temptation of Christmas feasting, Bridget has cut down on her boozing. At the very end of the book she signs off with a complete summary list of her total indulgences in a long list of ‘vices’ (including boyfriends). In case you’d like to read the novel yourself I won’t include that list here but I will add my own, inspired by hers as it is.
Ben Mitchell’s Diary (of a year of living sober—so far)
Alcohol units – 0
V good. Wouldn’t be v. good to write a blog about committing to being stone cold sober for 12 months and be anything other than 0. Even 1 would be v. bad.
Cigarettes – 0
Don’t smoke and even years ago when I did was only one of those annoying people who didn’t admit to being a casual smoker and so would scum fags off friends. Like I said v. annoying.
Calories – ?
Not sure but do have an app on my iPhone which could probably tell me.
Fat units – ditto with the calories
However many though it’s a few more after those two slices of orange jaffa cake I scoffed down last night. V. yummy.
Weight gained – negative 6kg
Yeah, stopping drinking has helped me lose weight. As long as I keep an eye on that jaffa cake habit that should hopefully continue.
Correct lottery numbers – 54
Which is just a wild guess, though I have won a couple of Division 7’s and enjoyed putting the $15.40 winnings straight back on another ticket.
Incorrect lottery numbers – 388
Another guess. Likely way too low.
Total Instants purchased – 4
In Australia we call Instants ‘Scratchies’. I used to buy them a lot but have stopped because I hated finding the scratchy ‘dust’ in my jeans pockets. Plus BIG waste of money.
Total Instant Profit – 0
Since I always re-invested my meagre winnings!
Valentines – 1
Love my wife.
Christmas cards – ?
Shit, that reminds me, I still haven’t replied to all of them.
Hangover-free days – 200.
I actually started my year off booze one day earlier than my official starting date of 11/11/2011.
Boyfriends – 0
Like I said, I love my wife.
Nice boyfriends – ?
I do have some good mates though. Unfortunately a few of ‘em live in Blighty.
Number of New Year Resolutions kept – 1
All in all an excellent 200 days progress. Now bring on the next 165 days of booze free living
My name is Ben and I am a social experiment.
Today is Day 200 of my Year of Living Sober.
Little Booze Joke
This horse walks into a bar and the bartender says “Hey buddy, why the long face?”
HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF HOW MUCH ALCOHOL YOU DRINK? ARE YOU A BIT OF A BRIDGET TOO?