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I have heard it a million times and sometimes I have said it myself, that when you stop smoking you miss the action of smoking, of bringing the cigarette to your mouth and having it in your hand…you start not knowing what to do with your hands when you do not have a cigarette to light up.  I have never been a heavy smoker, but have smoked on and off for years and I am almost always a smoker when I have had a drink socially (and to be fair if there was a packet in the house when I had been drinking I would smoke those too)  Thing is I hate smoking, its horrible it stinks and tastes disgusting and I always have worse hangovers when I have smoked on a drinking night (I used to call them nicotine hangovers and whatever anyone think these do exist!)  Anyway, as per normal I am getting a little away from the point..

The thing is (and I only really noticed this after my festival weekend), that I also do not know what to do when I don’t have a drink in my hand when I am out.  My hand is missing something just like when giving up smoking.  I think the reason I didn’t notice this at the last social gathering I attended was because I took a bottle of non alcoholic wine and drank it out of a wine glass so apart from it tasting different and not getting drunk I didn’t notice that I was doing anything different to normal or to anyone else for that matter.  I did notice however that I drank it like it was wine, I poured myself a large glass, I walked around with it when talking to people, I had photos with me holding the glass up and as soon as my glass was empty I poured another just as I would as soon as my wine glass is empty (in all fairness I don’t normally let my wine glass get empty its one of the reasons I never realise how much I have drank)..so as you can see physically it seemed like I had a ‘drink’ the whole time!

The festival day was completely different, there was no BYO alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, I wouldn’t have been allowed to bring a glass bottle into the area, bags were checked and everything had to be brought on site.  The options were bottled cider, beer or small wine at £3 or bottle of water or can of coke at £1.50.  This was fine, I wasn’t expecting anything else, it was a small festival in Barry, I was not expecting lots of choice.  I went for water and drank a bottle in about ten minutes as it was baking hot and pretty much as soon as that was finished I found myself finishing out change to go and buy us more drinks (yes of water).  This time I changed things up a bit and put it in a plastic glass…I felt a bit better after that, like I was one of the crowd.  As I looked around (people watching) I noticed I wasn’t the only one not drinking, but we were definitely in the minority and I was overcome with jealously of everyone else sat around with their drinks in their hands.    I mentioned this to one of the people I was with, I explained that that was the part I loved, the start of the day/evening, just chilling out having a ‘few drinks’,  having a laugh and enjoying a bit of banter,  but that it was the next stage that worried me when I drank; when it became not just chilling out having a drink with friends but something else,  when the balance tips over and I become too drunk when I as people have put it (mother included) just ‘suddenly go’; my eyes go, I start to slur and usually – more often than not – I do something silly or fall asleep! of course even if I don’t fall asleep or do something idiotic, I cant normally remember the good time I had anyway because I have ‘black outs’ of the night before the next day.

H2O!  In a plastic glass..exciting stuff

Going back to the water….again I’m sorry I digressed.  After I finished my second water I felt a bit lost, I had no bottle, no glass, no nothing.  I was just sat there.  I honestly felt very strange, like I was missing something, like I should have been doing something. My hand was missing a glass or bottle! and I hate to admit it but I smoked, I smoked so I felt like I was doing something.  (and I must admit this is something I also did at the wedding a couple of times when I didn’t have my glass of pretend wine to hand the other week).  As I have already said I hate smoking….so WHY did I do this?  Why did I feel the need to replace drink with something else?

I honestly am intrigued as to why I always feel the complete and utter need to  “do something” when I am out; why I don’t feel part of the gathering or event if I do not have a drink or a cigarette?   I was sat there in the sun with good company and a band playing but all the same I felt lost without a drink in my hand and the stupid thing about it was that I wasn’t even remotely thirsty as I had just drank about 1 litre of water!.  I looked around and everyone had a drink in their hand, even the non drinkers with water or cans of coke and it made me ask, why do we feel the need to have drinks with us at all times on social occasions? why when one drink is finished are we straight back up to the bar? And why do I find it so hard not to just relax and enjoy myself with nothing in my hand?

Who knows!!! maybe I will find some of the answers about these sorts of habits in the book I am reading at the moment. (Alan Carrs how to control alcohol) but then again maybe I wont.  But I am hoping that during this year I will learn how to just enjoy a nice day or night out without feeling the need to hold a wine glass (albeit fake wine) or run to the bar every time my lime and soda is finished and without nabbing anymore crafty fags!

Does he really have all the answers...we shall see...

Does he really have all the answers…we shall see…

And for anyone thinking why didn’t you just have a drink and only have one or two (and don’t worry it crosses my mind a lot on these occasions).  I know I could go and have a drink at anytime, I know that I have not been told to stop drinking by doctors and I know that I didn’t drink as much as an actual classified alcoholic but if I did that I would just be letting myself down.  You see even though I have stayed away from any alcohol for 45 days now, I do not trust myself to only have one or even just two or three.  I have tried that on so many occasion and it has always left me drunk and asleep on my sofa; not knowing how I got home after a night out; waking up on a friends sofa not remembering going there; leaving my phone at a pub and not even knowing we went into that pub; it has left me pouring wine from friends bottles without asking (because I didn’t bring enough with me in a bid to drink less while out or away for a weekend) and it has left me starting another vicious circle of drinking three or four (or more lets face it) evenings on the trot each week.  I am doing this for me and no one else and anything I write about is just about me and my habits.  I want to change my life, i am changing my life, and in all honesty the last 45 days have been amazing, my head has never been so clear and I cant imagine going back to how it was before.

It took me a long time to accept that I knew my drinking habits and behaviors were not really normal.  I had to do it when I was ready to acknowledge that it was making me unhappy.

It took me a long time to accept that I knew my drinking habits and behaviors were not really normal. I had to do it when I was ready to acknowledge that it was making me unhappy.