I have this habit of saying stuff like “oh, I don’t really drink” usually while I’m drinking something alcoholic. I’ve been doing a bit lately, and have also caught myself saying “I don’t really eat much sugar” while I’m scoffing some amazing diabetic-inducing dessert, and “I don’t really drink coffee” when I’m behaving like a mad-ass after my regular one coffee every day.
So here it is. I don’t really drink alcohol. Unless I’m drinking alcohol. Which isn’t often. But does happen. Here are some photos I have of me ‘not really drinking’. Kind of looks like I’m drinking.
This was actually brought to my attention by my new au pair, when she was my friends’ au pair before she started with me. She was new, and I had only just met her properly and we were all away for a weekend in the beautiful coastal town I love and that weekend involved black sambuca (and white sambuca too I think). So as a way of excusing myself from calling her at 10.30pm to save my drunken ass from the party, and take me and my children home so we could eat toast in bed and watch late night TV – in the car I said “I’m sorry for being so drunk, it’s just I don’t really drink” and she smiled at me indulgently and said “oh except for today and yesterday?” and in my drunkenness I was still clear enough to recall that the day before when I met her for the first time I was drinking a refreshing afternoon cider. Whoops. And then the weekend after, when I dropped into my friends’ house and we had an impromptu Sunday Session with red wine. And then on Friday night when I went for a beer with my friend after work.
So it’s not actually true. I have had many years of being a crazy, mad-ass drinker and then many being the pregnant or breast-feeding designated driver and then I hit the phase of non-drinking. When I drank a lot, it was really fun and really funny and sometimes really self-destructive and often followed by time-wasting regret. I didn’t mind that so much when I was younger, but although my first daughter was totally flexible around her mum the party animal, my second daughter would not have a bar of it. She woke at 5am for about 3 years, no matter what. Her day sleeps were erratic, and she wanted attention and action every waking minute. It was basically hangover hell. As if a bad hangover isn’t bad enough, but this was like hangover torture. I only tried it once or twice and then gave up because her dad was way more determined and capable of sleeping through her demands if he’d had a few too many.
So I am admitting it wasn’t necessarily my choice, but after enough years of that, it was so much better not to ever have a hangover. And I kept having more children, and hangover hell just got more hideous.
But somewhere in all of that I made a choice about alcohol, and being the responsible one – so in my marriage I was always the one who took the kids home to bed, and did the morning thing, and the same in my last relationship. I used the excuse that the youngest kids were mine not his, so it would never be his responsibility to have them in the morning anyway. And then, near the end of our relationship (only a bit before I really realised that we were going the way of my marriage), he said a few comments about me drinking and not being fun, or not wanting to do certain things because I didn’t drink and I was so affronted. When really I had been choosing not to drink, because actually we weren’t that fun anymore and if I drank with him, I’d probably tell him that with my loose lips. Instead I was the sober one, who drove us all home from parties and tried to prove I was fun by not suffering in hangover hell the next day.
Anyway, I’m not sure what the point of writing all that is, except the truth of me is that I drink sometimes. And I like it. And whether I drink or not, I’m really fun. Letting go of the whole “I don’t really drink” thing was like letting go of the person I became to manage everything. Which is no wonder now when I have had a few drinks everyone likes to remind me how fun I am.
So just letting you know, I haven’t forgotten. How to drink or how to be fun.
The thing I have learned is they are not mutually exclusive – so drinking is sometimes not fun and I can have fun even when I’m not drinking – but mostly when I have some drinks I have fun and I have fun when I have some drinks (that’s when I’m prepared to admit I’m drinking them) and sometimes I just have fun when other people are having drinks around me. I am though, a REALLY SLOW DRINKER, and that will probably never change. Perhaps I should just say “I don’t really drink very fast”. I’m not condoning any particular behaviour here, I’m just suggesting it’s best to be honest with yourself about where things like alcohol sit in your world. And sugar. And coffee.
Next I’m going to have to have one of those late-night alcoholic coffees with a scoop of ice-cream in it and see what happens. That would really blow my mind!