Socialising without booze is not as easy as you think
So I might have a problem. FebFast is over. Am I worried about what’s going to happen next? Yes. Very. So will this be part of some lasting change? Or will I revert straight back to old habits?
Reverting back to bad habits is exactly what happened the last time I did FebFast. At the start of March I went on a bender, and lost a girlfriend and an iPod. I couldn’t say which I miss more, but I definitely miss both for different reasons.
Before I began not drinking this time around, I was more aware of my issues with alcohol. One of my main reasons for doing it was to break my dependence on drink.
For years I never saw it as a real problem. I’ve worn my ability to drink like a badge of pride and often in our society, that’s exactly how it’s seen. There are different badges, based around the speed of your drinking, and the amount of time you can keep drinking, but it’s always something to be revered and I reckon I’ve collected them all.
Among many I know, being able to remain standing after consuming buckets of alcohol is seen as a sport, and it’s one that I’ve always been good at. For years I’ve constantly been out and always with a drink in my hand, as well as constantly finding new ways to smuggle alcohol into my everyday life. It sounds like fun and it is.
And who doesn’t love a larrikin? Bob Hawke’s still our favourite Prime Minister because he sculled a yard glass. Tony Abbott runs a marathon then swims from Darwin to Nauru towing a boat of asylum seekers, and he gets laughed at for what he wears while he does it. If Julia glugged down a few glasses of vino, her approval rating would only go up.
During this February, I’ve discovered that I’ve used these visions of being the good times guy to cover up a bigger problem. That without alcohol, I don’t know how to socialise, and I still don’t. I’ve tried going out and hanging out with people who are drinking in a pub, club, and at the dinner that extends into the early hours and I just get bored.
Talking to girls has become something I used to do. Without alcohol in a social situation, I’m rubbish. I find other people boring, however I find myself by far the most boring of all.
So that’s my problem. I’d really like to be one of those people that can have just a few drinks on a night out. This month I’ve learnt how to say no to a drink, but the wider problem of how to have fun without one remains. I’ve handled my abstinence from alcohol the same way as I handle a painful breakup. By deleting every trace of her from my life.
On March 1st when that temptation is back, I wonder what’s going to happen and I already have my suspicions. Last night someone asked me, ‘Are you going to have a drink on Friday night? Or are you going to keep this non-drinking thing going?’ ‘Neither,’ I replied. ‘Why wait? As soon as it ticks past midnight on Thursday, I’m going to get stuck straight into the beer.’
Me and alcohol – it’s a work in progress I guess.
It’s over, but there’s still time to sponsor me
Come see me at the Adelaide Fringe, until March 1.
Or the Melb Comedy Fest, March 27 until April 9:
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