Tag Archives: Health

How did we normalise abnormal drinking?

I came across this article and blog last night.


It’s good isn’t it? It voices something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I think it was whilst I was at university that I decided that fun= getting drunk. Until then I’d enjoyed getting drunk (and perhaps more so than any of my friends) but drinking hadn’t been the only way to have fun.

Most people rein in their drinking as they get older and acquire more responsibilities like jobs and children etc. (I didn’t cut back but I’m talking about normal drinkers here, or at least what society considers ‘normal’) What I’ve noticed is that even though normal people may start to drink less frequently, they still consider drinking to be the best way of having a good time. Sure, they’ve grown up and moved on from alcopops and shots to fancy wine …but basically they still look forward to consuming a lot of alcohol in one go because that is the best way to have ‘FUN’.

So if binge drinking chardonnay is considered ‘normal’ that must make people like me abnormal, right? It certainly feels that way at times. What’s annoying is that whilst I can have a good night out sober, me not drinking seems to offend other people. If they don’t notice I’m on lemonade then it’s fine, but once they do the spell seems to be broken. Perhaps they’re worried I’m judging them? Looking down on them from my sober high horse?  

I’ve been thinking about this a lot this past week as I’ve RSVP’d to a few Christmas invites. The festive party season is starting to feel like yet another hurdle to get over when really it should be fun. So I am going to try and come up with a little Christmas party survival plan. Let me know your thoughts and tips…

Sweat? That’s just your fat crying

Going to the gym with a hangover was never fun. Sometimes I look back and wonder how on earth I did it without having a heart attack or passing out or at least throwing up. I was a firm believer in sweating out a hangover. I’d often force myself to work out as a kind of punishment for drinking so much and consuming so many calories the night before.   

By comparison, going to the gym with a clear head after a great night’s sleep is pretty satisfying. It’s nice to do something that is good for myself. And I know that when I’ve been to the gym I can indulge my ice cream habit without feeling too guilty about it.

I always do a class at the gym because I need someone else to motivate me whilst I’m there. My gym has some brilliant fitness instructors who a) have bodies to die for and b) are endlessly enthusiastic about everything. Seriously – nothing gets them down. Ever. Their energy and optimism knows no bounds. They are indefatigable and I really like them for it.

A few of the instructors are fond of some, ahem, ‘inspirational’ sayings:

“You made it here, now make it worthwhile!”

“Pain is just weakness leaving the body’!”

“Sweat is just your fat crying!”

My personal favourite is one that I often hear one of the female instructors say towards the end of a class, when there’s just one more set of killer sit ups to do. “Team!” She shouts, “I’m not going to lie. The next two minutes are going to hurt. But in the grand scheme of your day, or your week, two minutes is nothing. We’re only talking about a very short amount of time here. It’s short term pain for long term gain.”

Well, I said it was cheesy. But that last one really sums up how I feel about my sobriety at the moment. There are little hurdles and tricky bits to get through. You just have to man up and get on with it. For me, a bit of short term pain might be turning down the glass of wine I’m offered at a BBQ, or having an awkward conversation with someone about my drinking. Or the moment I help myself to a drink at someone else’s house and without thinking, almost take a beer out the fridge. 

They’re just little challenges that have to be worked through and dealt with. Sometimes the thoughts are only fleeting; sometimes they last a bit longer. Short term pain for long term gain. Here the gain isn’t rock hard abs or dropping a dress size; it’s staying sober for another day. Flexing my sober muscle again and again and getting stronger. Living a sober, happy life that I’m in control of.

It seemed appropriate to write about this today because a lot of us have exercise on the brain. It seems us sober folks are a pretty fit bunch. There are lots of runners and many people setting targets with the aptly named Gym & Tonic. Personally, my goal is to get ready for a half marathon next month. I’ve run ten miles so this is just a bit further, but I’d really like to enjoy this race and not white-knuckle it round. So I bought myself a very appropriate treat this week – new trainers.


Fingers crossed they have magic powers 🙂