Today I have a hangover. Not a great start to the week. In fact, a pretty rubbish start to the week as, quite apart from feeling crap, I haven’t achieved half of the things I needed to today. It’s not like I even had some wild exciting night out last night that *might* have been worth it. I didn’t even drink that much but the combination of a couple of drinks with a midnight visit from a bed-stealing toddler is enough to disturb an entire night’s sleep and leave me hanging with tiredness.
Anyway, I say this not to moan (well, not just to moan) but also to acknowledge the fact out loud. Alcohol just makes me feel crap and stops me from doing the things I want to. Even in pretty small amounts. Hmmmm…. There is an obvious conclusion to be drawn here. The question is, dare I draw it?
Maybe now is not the time to make any radical declarations of intent with regard to alcohol consumption. We are just about to embark on the joyous chaos that is the festive season when temptations and indulgences and social gatherings are all around.
There again, maybe it’s the perfect time to review my relationship with alcohol and to draw up some guidelines for my use of it. Time to set some clear limits before I *potentially* get carried away in the heat of the moment (or the buzz of a party.)
Plus we’re also coming up to that magical time of year when people across the western world unite in
making unrealistic resolutions that they’re never going to keep taking stock of their lives and looking at where they can make positive changes.
So, the question is: what rules do I need to apply in order to make my relationship with alcohol a purely positive one? Should I ban it entirely? Or just be strict about consuming it only in moderation?
My gut instinct tells me that having the discipline and balance to consume it in true and absolute moderation would be a healthier approach but possibly also the harder one. That may just be my Irish background influencing me. Ireland is a land of saints and sinners, of alcoholics and abstainers. There is little room in the mythology for the balanced, happy medium. Where’s the drama, the story, the fire in that?
The thing is I think I may be getting comfortable with the idea that I can live without any great dramatic tension in my life. How much nicer it would be to just let the drama play out in my creative life. Maybe I don’t need to live up to some unconscious archetypes of a binging hedonist or an abstemious ascetic. I’ve never quite been up to the standards of Brendan Behan or the sackcloth and ashes crew anyway. But these extremes have been painted so starkly that they are actually clearer to see and to follow, even if at several paces behind. The happy, balanced medium way is actually hazier and more difficult to picture and define.
Perhaps that’s what I need to do then. Spend some time thinking about and picturing what my happy medium with alcohol would be. Conjuring up the whole character and story. Then perhaps I’ll be able to slip into that story with an effortless ease right at the point where I want to be.
Perhaps if I devote attention and energy and good intentions to this process over the next couple of weeks then by January 1 I’ll be clearer on how I want the story to unwind in 2013 and beyond. Sound like a plan to you?
Any help in fleshing out the character of a moderate drinker would be gratefully received. Do you have any tips you’d like to share on what constitutes a healthy, moderate relationship with the demon drink? (You see, I can’t help but sink into melodrama with this. Must stop.)
And how about your new year’s resolutions – is anything beginning to whirl around in your head? Any changes you would like to see in your life for 2013? Let’s make it our best year yet!