The Rules of the Game

It’s Day 16 of Dryathlon™, the mid-way point, and I’m bored of it now. Last night was the first night I felt frustrated that I can’t have something because the rules of the game have taken the choice away from me. And whilst I’m still choosing to play, I don’t like the rules anymore! But I’ve come this far.

I can do this.

I found myself in three very different situations over the past few days where a glass of prosecco would have been most welcome. In fact, a bottle would have been even better. I feel so sober at the moment that I think I’m almost more sober than sober! (if of course that’s possible)

1. Spending time with children. I spent the weekend with a friend and her two daughters, aged four and five. They are the most lovely, bright, curious, well mannered little girls and my friend should be super proud of the amazing job she does of being their mum. But it’s constant. After painting their nails (each toe had to be a different colour), plaiting their hair (it had to be a fish tail) and spending two hours at a six year old’s princess party at a soft play centre, I felt like I needed something to take the edge off. Something more than five cups of green tea. I honestly don’t know how she does it. And she does it every day. I also don’t know how she is doing DryathlonTM. She is amazing.

2. My stolen phone. I got home on Sunday to find that my lovely iPhone 5 wasn’t with me. It’s usually glued to my right hand but on this occasion I was busy watching last Friday’s episode of Silent Witness on my iPad which lasted literally until I got off the tube at Maida Vale. As soon as I realised it was missing I watched it painfully move further south through the New Forest as I tracked it on the ‘Find my iPhone’ app. The phone was fully charged but, on arrival at Petersfield, it was manually turned off. It has never been switched back on or handed in. All I wanted to do on Sunday was have a drink to take the edge off how I was feeling. Instead I went for a run. In the rain. I ran for two miles.

3. A networking event. I’m due to launch a pretty significant leadership programme into our business and one of the companies I’m working with was holding a showcase and networking event. They always put on a good show with free-flowing wine and delicious canapés. I spent my whole day in a workshop, had brain mush and an hour to kill before the event. So I popped into the bar in Gaucho for a drink whilst I caught up on my emails. The cocktail menu was all alcoholic but the lovely barman made me a few different virgin cocktails which kept me happy. Interestingly, rather than saying “I can’t drink alcohol”, I found myself saying “I don’t drink alcohol”. Psychologically, I think it helped. At the networking event I then drank a lot of ginger beer. I’ve always felt at ease at such events but, for the first time ever, I felt quite exposed. I felt I was less relaxed, worried I was less engaging and even, perhaps, a little boring. I managed to stay until 22:30 and had some really meaningful conversations but felt quite flat when I got home.

So in summary, whilst I am still feeling all of the benefits of being a Dryathlete™ that I outlined in my previous blog, there are three things I now dislike about Dryathlon™:

1. I feel like my freedom of choice has been taken away from me because there are rules that are restricting me.
2. I miss my social life. I’m avoiding going out and doing the things I usually do because I’m worried I’ll feel like I’m missing out. I’m just doing exercise instead.
3. I feel like I’m super serious all the time. Not on edge, but just quite serious. I want to feel more relaxed and more, well, like me.

I’m now starting to think about how things will be after this period of abstinence. I’m not sure that denying myself what I want when I want it is really for me, but hope I will have more of an ‘everything in moderation’ approach to my relationship with alcohol. We shall see.

I can do this.

Gabriella x

3 thoughts on “The Rules of the Game

  1. Interesting, and very thoughtful.

    I drink some kind of alcohol most days, even if only a rum at bedtime. The exception is during Lent (a nightmare) or for some kind of bet.

    Alcohol consumption really is ingrained in our culture – there are so many customs and routines – but it’s also fun! I like drink, I like drinking, and I like the way it feels. Yes, there’s a price to pay but mostly it’s worth it (to my mind, anyway).

    Good luck with your quest, and in look forward to hearing how it ends.


    PS I will, seriously, keep well out of your way till then!

  2. I read this post with great interest.

    I wonder at the end of dryathlon, will you be craving a drink or will you wonder why it was ever a hard thing in the first place?

    I hear in your words a craving for a drink to be the real you. Why is alcohol needed for you to be real?

  3. I very much agree with you and have had a very similar experience. It can be just very boring. Getting a drink and then having that drink with others is fun. It’s not what the Dryathlon folks may want to hear but it’s true. Anyway, it’s mostly done now so hey ho!

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