When you're off the grog, I find sobriety is a subject best discussed intoxicated.
Otherwise you might fall off the wagon.
I make that declaration as I approach the sixth week of a self-affirming period of water-boarding ... I mean abstinence.
Having proved I can abstain, the pivotal point starts to become, "What's the point?"
But with Ocsober looming I'm thinking I may have found a new reason to string it out.
Not that I've felt strung out.
Except when someone cracks a nice wine, or suggests a cold beer. Or an enticing combination of the two.
"No thanks," I say, remembering the embargo. "I'll have a water."
Always the water. Mmmm, pass the water please. Yep, gimme more of that H2O.
I'm so hydrated, Landline wants to do a special on my irrigation system. I've got a bladder the size of the Murray Darling Basin. Talk about not going with the flow in fluid situations.
Periods of circumspection were to be be expected, I suppose. It's the life of sigh.
Particularly when you think Jesus reputedly turned water into wine.
Not that he was a lush or anything.
Wine just goes better with a meal, I think.
I mean "thought". Water will do the job.
I look to less religious parables when I find myself in times of trouble. Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom.
Let it beer … I mean … be.
Ie, don't think about it too much because it's not as hard as giving up something really important, like chocolate.
Apart from building up the ole VB - I mean PB (for most number of days in a row without a tipple - a dubious benchmark knocked over pretty early on in the quest), reasons for staying on the straight and narrow have revolved around rejuvenating a few body organs, freeing up a bit of airspace at dinner parties and remaining supremely confident I can take on any RBT at anytime and win.
Well-wishers applaud the effort because I've become a rolled-gold option for designated driver, and to my surprise, I've found we've still been able to go out.
Mainly to the gym. "Binge-drinking" is such a weighted term, after all.
Countered traditionally in my circles by a disdain, nurtured since birth, for wowserism. Plus a raft of confusing stats about height, weight and how much you had for dinner when considering having another glass of whatever.
But is it really healthy to replace binge drinking with binge "not-drinking"?
All things in moderation, right. Wink wink. Surely going from go to whoa represents the thick edge of the wedge.
It was Billy Joel who implored us "don't go changing". And never does this seem more sage than around grand final time with the Spring Carnival approaching.
Watching the GF with a clear mind might affect your enjoyment of the game in ways you could never imagine.
For example, you may remember who won. Or at least what happened after half-time. Or failing that, how you got home.
In the broader picture, you might worry you're turning your back on the entire wine and burgeoning craft beer industries of the world, just when the boutique bar-led recovery of inner city Newcastle needs you.
That may explain why you break out into a sweat when you hear words like "hop-driven", "fruity aromas" or "McClaren Vale"
They're just words, you know, but they linger on the back palette of the brain. Displaying deep, crimson hints of plum, peppered with confusion as to why your glass is always full of water, as mentioned earlier.
It's true, we as a society, have an ambivalent relationship with alcohol.
It's not the problem, per se. It's when it runs out that the trouble starts.
Hence we get Ocsober, and as their website points out, alcohol has played a central role in almost all human cultures since Neolithic times. Get on it hard enough, and alcohol can transport you back there quick smart.
There is an enormous cross-cultural variation in the way people behave when they drink, unified, from my observations, by a love of the nude run after one too many nostrovias!!!
These effects on behaviour are primarily determined by social and cultural factors, not ethanol. But ethanol really comes into it if those social and cultural factors involve drinking a shitload of ethanol.
Not that the prevalence of alcohol-related problems are directly related to average per capita consumption. A lot of it has to do with how many shots you've had personally.
I try to see giving up alcohol as part of a transitional ritual, as it has been over the centuries. So fingers crossed this year, it won't be me falling into the neighbours pool at the street Christmas party.
It's fair to say going Ocsober, no matter what month you do it, will improve your health, set a good example (or at least a better one) for the kids, save cash, raise money, lose you weight and perhaps give you a greater awareness of what it's like to become a human hydroponics system.
In terms of finding reasons to string out sobriety, I'm not ramming it down anyone's throat. I'm just trying to cover my butt come Movember, because I can lose the booze. I've never been able to grow a mo.