An Adventure in Abstinence

Week Three.

After drinking my way through every evening of lockdown I’m now hanging myself out to dry. My adventure in abstinence has just completed its third week. Although that was only just by a gnat’s whisker, as I nearly cracked last night. It was partly that ‘Friday night feeling’, but added to that I’d had some particularly good news regarding somebody’s health on Thursday (Day 20), which was a cause for celebration. I’d then had a particularly bad day at work on Friday (Day 21), which was a cause for drowning my sorrows. So what better than a cheeky lager, or seven, to take the edge of what had been an emotionally turbulent end to the week?

So far in my abstinence I haven’t had to take any rides on any emotional roller-coasters. Giving up booze was a little tricky in the first few days and I’ve been cursed with the nocturnal pissing and non-stop farting that comes from drinking gallons of squash and fizzy pop every evening. However, the emotional crutch that alcohol provides hasn’t really been required. I’ve been travelling along in a nice straight line without encountering the peaks of elation or the troughs of sadness. It’s strange how we’ve conditioned ourselves to equate alcohol both as a tonic for life’s ills and an extra polish on something that already shines. A miraculous liquid that can both make us feel better and make us feel better than we do already. Is there anything it can’t do?

I often wondered how devout religious adherents cope without the emotionally beneficial aspects of alcohol if their religion forbids it. There’s always cheating, I suppose, although presumably their omnipresent god is always watching even if you do dispatch a sneaky shot in the garden shed because the slugs have been at the lettuces again.

They probably cope without it because they haven’t been conditioned to see alcohol as the go-to resource to lubricate life’s ups and downs. I suppose there are other stimulants like caffeine and nicotine they can partake of, tea and shisha seem to be fairly common in Muslim countries for instance. I’m not sure if smoking is actually forbidden in any religion, it probably wasn’t invented at time most of the popular religions started. I could be wrong and maybe “Thou shalt not smoke fags” is mentioned somewhere, albeit maybe not in those exact words.

If religious texts were constantly updated, with specifically what their god might not be keen on, then it might make life easier for contemporary followers rather than it being left to their interpretation. People tend to take these things seriously, so certain annoying aspects of modern life could be made clearer for the benefit of mankind. For instance, “Thou shalt not start a new layer of chocolates before the first one is finished” or “Thou shalt not leave it until the last minute to cut in when two lanes of traffic are being merged into one”. The incidence of both of these sins could be reduced by religions making it clear that they are punishable by eternal torment. Although the latter sin, and all other twattish driving behaviour, could be covered by it being simply written that, “Thou shalt not drive an Audi”.

One thing that has helped this week has been the rediscovery of alcohol-free beer. In the past, whenever I have tried this stuff, I have been quite dismissive of it. Indeed I once described it as, “fantastic, for getting an idea of what fizzy goat-piss tastes like”. I think one of the breweries subsequently adopted this sparkling copyline in one of their marketing campaigns. However, after three weeks of lager-free life anything that smells like beer, tastes a bit like beer and is contained in a bottle that can sit in the fridge and pretend to be beer has been most welcome. I’ve probably forgotten what real beer tastes like, so it has been quite successful in deluding me.

Should you wish to try it then my experience is that it will not get you even remotely pissed, even if you do consume twenty-four bottles in one evening.