(This post was meant to be published yesterday but I went to a lunchtime birthday party and ended up not getting home till after 9pm but not, as is usually the reason, because I was drinking and having too much fun - it was because I went to the inlaw's house to study in the afternoon instead of coming home.)
I am pleased to announce that I have successfully gone eight days without having one single sip of alcohol. Yay for self-control! It has been both easier and harder to do than I thought it would be. Here is a list of what I have learned so far from taking part in Dry July.
1. Watch out for habitual behaviour
One aspect of being dry that I was really worried about was my mid-week drinking-to-relax-not-get-drunk glass of wine. When I started working from home I realised that I had to set up a proper working schedule or I'd spend mornings lying in bed drinking coffee and reading novels and then be up all night finishing the work I needed to do in order to meet my deadlines. So I instituted a practice whereby I work until 6pm, cook dinner, eat dinner than pour a glass of wine and settle on the couch to watch TV or a movie. It works really well because I know that if I want to have my wine-and-relax time I need to get my work done by the set time. I was worried that without the incentive of wine I wouldn't stick to my schedule or, even worse, that I had become dependent on my glass of red to relax. However, I replaced the wine with dessert (mini Cornettos or ice-cream with chocolate topping and my homemade toasted muesli - yummo!) and the system works just as well. Yay for being addicted to habit rather than wine!
2. Dry July bad for weight loss
See No.1 for how I have replaced wine with sweets. If I'm not careful, I might spend all of the money I save by not drinking on clothes that are a size bigger than the ones I'm wearing at the moment!
3. Remove all temptation
In the last eight days the moment that I found it hardest not to have any wine was when I was out for dinner. Like with No.1 this is a situation where one is not drinking to get drunk (although that does happen sometimes) but because it's part of the ritual - when one goes out to dinner, one has a glass of wine with one's food (especially when one is talking about oneself as if one was an upper-class Englishwoman). On Friday night I solved that problem by enforcing a sober table and not letting anyone at the table drink any wine (much to the delight of my fellow diners) but last night I was at a family dinner and couldn't do that. A really nice bottle of wine was opened and it took all of my strength and self control to say no. For the rest of the month I'm just going to stay away from all dinner with nice wine - I can't see any other way to keep resisting.
So that's my journey so far. I'm happy with how I've done but, as they say in the classics, I'm just taking it one day at a time. 23 days to go.