Its 1.50am on the Sunday before Christmas – normally I would be out burning up a dance floor somewhere and organising rows of shots, but this time I find myself in bed watching series 1 of The OC (has it actually been 11 years??… Californiaaaaaaaa here we coooooooooome) and trying to fall asleep… The reason for this deviation from my usual weekend structure is that I managed to out-do myself last night at our ‘end of term’ work drinks, to the point when I don’t remember getting home, or what time I stumbled in etc, and was woken up this afternoon by the sound of my phone telling me that a colleague had text me to ask how I was…. Ouch…
Ask any of my friends to summarise me, and I guarantee that 9/10 of them will make some reference to me as a party boy or drinker, and its an image that I have cultivated over the last 10 years or so, since I was at school. It’s a funny thing to think about, but whilst the drinker image may not be the most attractive, its an easy one to create as a smokescreen for what you are really feeling. However as ‘great’ (and emotionally complex – finally, have achieved that goal…) as playing a character can be, it is difficult when you realise one day that actually you don’t know yourself anymore – when I’m not at work, and I’m not out drinking, who am I? What do I like doing? What do I want?
I’m a 24 year old history graduate, working in a good job – could be doing better, want to be doing better, and living my London. I worked full time throughout my entire degree, and didn’t have to move home like many of my friends as I could support myself, so don’t get me wrong, I am far from a failure, but I don’t want to be where I am now in three years time – running to stand still is exhausting, I can see some of my friends doing it, and do not want that for myself.
Also, by your mid twenties (which is where I now am…. Fuck) its no longer funny and ‘hijinks-y’ when you throw up in do one of the following in public – throw up/pass out/have sex/cause a scene/piss yourself/lose your temper. I’m tired of apologising, and of feeling embarrassed by what has gone down the night before, and so I have decided that enough is enough, I’m having a sober January!! I want to be able to explore who I am a little bit without the distraction of alcohol, and also I want to prove to myself that I can go without a drink, as I think the last time I went a week without a drink was 3 years ago after some incident or other.
A sober January will mean not drinking at my work xmas party and also missing out on Australia Day, which is one of my favourite party days, but I think that its important to realise that there is never going to be a good time to take a detox – its always someone’s birthday, there is always a work thing or bank holiday. So if you make excuses for not ‘saying no’ then next thing you’ll know it’s a year later, you are having the same conversation with yourself but are 2 stone heavier with more pronounced self loathing. Oh, and you are a year older.
Essentially what I need to do is grow up, and stop running away from whatever it is I am hiding from (hopefully I can work that out in the process as well…) , so that is the aim for January! I am going to blog my progress, more so that I can keep track, but also because I want people out there who are like myself, to know that they are not alone in perhaps thinking that there can be such a thing as too much of a good time and that is ok to say no. I’m not preaching, I think that I am going to find this incredibly difficult, and I really hope that I don’t crack, and I hope I am not judged too harshly if I do.
I’m not setting out to fail though, and Im scared that if I’m not successful then it will a sign that my issues are bigger than previously thought. I just want to keep a sense of humour, and hopefully discover some dignity. For a guy whose mission statement since the age of 16 has been to put the ‘hot’ into ‘hot mess’ its going to be a change of tack, but in the absence of a pint or 5, or tequila for dinner, I’m hoping that variety will be the spice of life..