I don’t drink very much. At least, compared to a lot of people I know (students, borderline alcoholics, wine merchants and publicans) I don’t drink very much. Or so I thought until this week.
I woke up on Monday morning after the Secret Surprise Weekend feeling really rather sluggish. I’d had a lot of beer over the weekend. Beer is a new experience for me. I never drank it in the UK, but really rather like here. It’s less fizzy, a bit sweeter, costs about 50p per litre and doesn’t give me a white-wine hangover. It does however make me feel a little slow. Especially when combined with red wine, white wine, gin, cocktails and cobra beer, which is the lovely combination I treated myself to last weekend.
So I woke up on Monday morning and thought “I will not drink this week“. I have a friend’s hen-do next weekend, which is likely to be a fairly heavy one, so I thought I would give myself a week “off”. But then I remembered that I have no will power. This is how my week of non-drinking has gone so far:
Monday: Valentine’s day. We don’t really “do” valentines as I think most going-out options are commercial, overpriced and unoriginal (like New Year’s Eve but with a compulsory pink and red colour theme) but we did have a nice dinner at home. And…oops, a large glass of wine. I had only just opened the bottle when I remembered my pledge. I caved immediately. It was Valentines Day, there was nice food, I’d had a hard Monday at work. It would have been rude not to.
Tuesday: With a strengthened resolve I tried again. Somehow, a G&T found its way into my hand…More concerning perhaps, I told my husband that it was just tonic.
Wednesday: I went out to meet a friend for a drink and a catch-up. I almost ordered peppermint tea but got my words muddled up and ended up with a large glass of wine. I tried again later that evening to order a soft drink and the same thing happened…weird… (That is my story and I’m sticking to it)
Thursday: I can hardly bring myself to say it but we went for dinner last night with some friends and I had a considerable amount of wine. My head hurt this morning and I am not proud.
So today, at the end of my week of not-drinking, I am feeling a little sheepish, a bit pickled and not at all like the restored healthy person I thought I would. In a last-ditch effort to redeem myself, I am in the process of cancelling all of my plans for the weekend. If you need me I will be either in the gym or at home drinking hot water with ginger.
I may even go to Bikram yoga – which is one of the few things as outrageously overpriced in Prague as it is in London. 360 czk per lesson (that’s about 13 pounds), plus extra for water and a mat – are you having a laugh? The reason that everyone that does Bikram (sorry…pretentious yoga speak required…practices Bikram) is so thin is because it’s so expensive that they can’t afford to eat afterwards.
None of these people are Madonna...
Bikram in Prague is also frequented by the same pious lemon-sucking-please-don’t-talk-or-laugh-or-breath-or-smile-whilst-I-do-my-yoga people who go in London. I appreciate that hot yoga has a number of health benefits, is a hard-core excercise class that requires participants to really push themselves, and requires a certain amount of concentration. But there may as well be a sign at the door saying “Leave your sense of humour here“. At least the people at Pilates let you giggle, and don’t pretend that they’re doing it for any deep-zen-spiritual reason. I spend most of the time at Bikram wanting to shout out “You’re not going to turn into Madonna – so stop trying!”
I was thinking about giving up alcohol for a lent, but this week has made me think better of it. I like a drink every now and then (read: most evenings) and it’s not like I end up in the gutter. Although I did read recently that the modern middle-class/professionals attitude to regular drinking is potentially as damaging in its long-term health effects as binge drinking.
I gave up wine for lent two years ago, which is when my gin habit really took off. Last year I gave up gin, and remembered how much I like Malbec. This year I thought I would give up Bikram, on health grounds. I am told that laughing has a number of health benefits, but it’s not allowed at Bikram.
Arriving at Bikram. It would be much more beneficial if you were allowed to laugh...