When I found out I was pregnant, it was not in the ideal way. Well not my ideal. I’d always thought I would be married and settled when I first peed on a stick, but I wasn’t. I was in a relationship at least, but not married, not settled, and not really very happy.
I was also kind of hungover.
I should have realised earlier. A period two weeks late is generally cause for alarm, but I was nineteen and had more important things to worry about. Such as how many drinks I could get out clubbing, whilst on a $50 budget.
Turned out enough.
Enough to have me feeling like hell the next day, and dry retching over a toilet bowl (I don’t throw up easily.)
The guy I was working with, thought it was hilarious, which was only fair. I offered very little compassion when he was that hungover.
The weird thing about this hangover, was that it didn’t leave. Monday morning I still felt gross and had to call in sick. Tuesday I was no better, and that’s when it clicked.
Maybe I wasn’t actually hungover?
Maybe this was something else?
The minute my gorgeous girl was born, 8 months later, I regretted so much. So many life decisions I wished I hadn’t made. So many times I’d said yes when I should have said no. So many moments, I wish I had never lived.
And that night. Those three illusions that I drank and had me feeling like life was awesome. I regretted those too.
I held in my arms, the most important treasure I had ever been bequeathed, and I was so sorry that I had ever done anything that could have compromised her.
Today, is the last day of February, and the last day of Feb Fast. I’ve gone a whole month without alcohol, and I’m so glad I have.
It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had things to celebrate, and things to commiserate. There have been days when the heat has been so extreme, a cool glass of white wine would have been a little bit of heaven, and other days where I’ve been so stressed, I’ve felt I ‘needed’ a drink.
But I didn’t cave. Not once.
And I feel awesome about it.
It’s not just the physical perks; I’ve also been able to set an example to others that you don’t need to drink, and I’ve had some awesome conversations regarding alcohol consumption.
My friend Kate is a medical journalist, and one of her latest articles has been about the rise of female alcoholism. In the past it was men who were the majority of problem drinkers, but in recent times, it’s women who are taking the lead. As a gender, we’re drinking the same amount, if not more, than our male counterparts, and our bodies were never designed to cope with it. I’m all for men and women being equal and such, but biology has not made us equal in all respects. There are some things that we can’t and shouldn’t do.
It’s not just binge drinking that’s the issue. It’s the constant, day in and day out consumption of liquor that is harming our bodies and our society.
And the attitude. Is drinking wrong? No not entirely. But does it need to be advertised on social media every time someone opens a bottle of bubbly? No it doesn’t. Should every get together have to centre around it’s beverages? No.
(Image Credit)Alkohol Bilder
Does every bad day need to be drowned in a Mojito? Or a G and T? Do we really need to open the bottle of Beam when the kids have been bratty? Or pour the Shiraz when husbands are being all testosteroney?
These are the messages we receive every day, and so we slowly begin to believe them, but a month completely free, has made me realise that it’s not necessary. You can celebrate in other ways (remember that awesome sex?) and you can soothe yourself differently as well (also perhaps with awesome sex ;)).
When my eldest daughter was born, it changed me, and made me want to do everything better, and be so much better for her. Over the years, the wonder of those first moments has faded somewhat, and it’s easy to forget that she needs me at my healthiest, just as much now, as she did when I held her inside me. How I live my life, celebrating the highs, and navigating the lows is all on display for her and her siblings. Alcohol dependence, should not be any part of that equation.
The idea of Feb Fast, is to raise funds for young people whose lives are negatively effected by problem drinking. You can help them, by donating here.
But you can also help your own family, and others, by not letting them be the ones who need this kind of assistance. By being responsible in your own consumption and the way you broadcast it.
Finally, for those who have been doing Feb Fast this month, just remember that your tolerance is not what it was. If you do choose to drink come March 1st (or anytime really), make sure you have plenty of food and water, and get a designated driver. Even one glass can send you over the limit.
Do you think, as a society we have a healthy view of alcohol?
How did Feb Fast go for you?