24 January 2021
Since the start of the pandemic, I’ll admit I’ve got a little sucked in to reality TV. Before I might occasionally watch a show, but not religiously and I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t and don’t watch all of them, even now.
I think it’s the escapism for me. The break from reality. Watching ‘The Great British Bake Off,’ and I’m not a great cook, is just nice. There’s no drama, unless a cake burns, and no arguments. In the world we’re living in right now, with all the worry and illness and death, it’s just nice to enjoy something safe and happy.
On the other side of it I’ve also enjoyed a bit of ‘Love Island’, I think mainly because I like the romance of it, and hope everyone will end up happy ever after. I know that’s unlikely, but it still makes me smile.
Just recently we’ve started watching ‘The Cabins’, and while I can’t say I was too fussed, I said I’d watch it with my daughter and it sucked us in a little. The idea is two people get matched and put in a cabin to see if love blossoms. There’s three couples on the site at once and they don’t see each other at all. It sounds random, but in some ways it’s quite sweet seeing people getting to know each other, a kind of socially distanced ‘Blind Date’. The thing that surprises me is that how much some of them drink. Now I know they’re young, and most probably nervous, but I really don’t know how healthy it is to encourage that sort of behaviour. That possibly sounds a little high and mighty and I don’t mean it to, I just worry that by showing people who seem to need to have a lot to drink just to be able to talk to someone they like, I feel we’re reinforcing the need to drink. One couple seemed to really suit each other but I really felt for both of them when one drank so much he was sick in the bed, leaving the other to tidy up the mess and sort the dog out.
It’s hard viewing to see someone drinking so much for dutch courage that they spoil their night. It was even worse to see the other being so kind and generally picking up all the pieces. I’m not sure which one I felt more sorry for.
I’m not saying that we should remove all alcohol from TV, I just worry that by showing characters, whether fictional or real on it, relying on drinking then we’re showing our youngsters that is what we should do. We’re also reinforcing the behaviour for people who struggle to regulate, because I know full well I would have loved an excuse to make my drinking seem normal.
The other thing that was interesting was seeing one or two of them wake up with hangovers. It really reminded me of how I used to feel, and I tell you what, it really made me think how grateful I am not to feel like that anymore. Ever.
It’s funny how things change isn’t it? It’s nice to look back and realise how far I’ve come. It’s refreshing to see the odd person on the shows admit that they don’t drink either. It reminds me that I’m not the only one in the world who doesn’t drink. It also reminds me that it doesn’t have to be a choice because we have no other. Some people are just wise enough to not need to start drinking in the first place. In some ways I’m envious, in other ways I think I had to walk the path I did to get to where I am now.
I can’t say seeing people drinking to excess is enjoyable, but at the same time, it’s easier than it used to be and if it serves as a reminder of how I was then I don’t suppose that’s a bad thing.
Thank you as always for reading.
Getting sober was a massive challenge for me as many of you probably know. I was afraid to admit I had a problem with alcohol, because by doing that I was effectively saying I was going to do something about it and I didn't know how. Back then I literally didn't see the point in a life without wine.
Fast forward four years and four months and I can tell you it's a different story now. I'm not saying getting here was easy, because as anyone who's ever been addicted to anything will tell you it’s not. Is it worth it? Yes! 100% and that is something I never thought I’d say.
Let me tell you why - in no particular order of greatness...
- No hangovers in the morning. I don’t miss that foggy headedness one little bit!
- No regrets about drinking the night before, because I haven’t!
- No worrying about whether I’ll be able to drink later, because I won’t.
- No random illnesses, worries about illnesses, or concerns about illnesses (all drink related).
- The ability to concentrate on something I'm reading or watching, to get to the end and generally be able to remember it in the morning.
- The freedom to be able to go out and drive my car whenever I want without even thinking about it. No matter how late it is!
- Keeping a level head in an argument, although arguments happen less often now anyway. I used to lose the plot a little, lose track of what the argument even was about and get muddled up. Now I can make my point and keep a clear head.
- I’m less likely to embarrass myself, either in public, or on social media.
- I don't panic in the morning and have to check my phone for things I've said or posted or sent that were supposed to be funny and weren't.
- I don't have to pretend to remember things I don't.
- I’m not constrained to what I can or can't do based on whether I'm planning to get home for a drink or not.
- I don't wake up in a panic in the morning. Okay this one is a lie; I sometimes do, but it's because of my anxiety, not because I've been drinking.
In general, everything is a little easier. I’m calmer, more balanced, more settled in my mind. I don't escalate quite like I used to. Life isn't such a challenge oh, and I'm not panicking over wine supplies or stock-piling during Lockdown. I honestly don't know how I would have managed!
All in all life without alcohol is a good place for me to be! Just remember the hard work pays off in the end, and by choosing not to drink, we really aren’t missing out on anything!
Much love as always.
Claire ❤ x