Saturday 20 January 2018

No drink for 30 days - I'll miss the highs and lows of my boozing

She once downed a pint in three seconds, but now Eleanor Goggin will bid au revoir to all of that

On the dry: Life and soul of the party, Eleanor Goggin has vowed to abstain from drink for November. Photo: David Conachy
On the dry: Life and soul of the party, Eleanor Goggin has vowed to abstain from drink for November. Photo: David Conachy

When I reluctantly undertook to do this challenge for the month of November, my first thought was how many days are in November. Why couldn't it be February? Thirty days without a drink. Too much for my head. I honestly don't think I have a drink problem, but I just enjoy a drink. It only becomes a problem if I can't have one. I never drink at home on my own. On the other hand, if someone calls, I don't even mention coffee or tea. It's straight for the stash out in the shed. It's more like a vineyard than a house. I'm a social drinker, not a drinker drinker.

I find it very hard to go to the pub or out for a meal without a drink. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I get bored easily, or people begin to annoy the crap out of me if they have drink taken and I don't. But I stress, and it's my only saving grace, I don't drink at home on my own.

When I took my first drink, I was about three months into university. Most of my friends had been drinking for a few years. I had always hated the taste of it. And I knew my parents would have a conniption if they caught me drinking. For the rest of my college days, I carried a tube of toothpaste in my bag for when I faced my mother at four in the morning. Until one day she asked me with a pitying look why I was carrying toothpaste around all the time. A look that said I hadn't been fooling anybody all that time and she had been rifling though my bag for years. My mother never drank. Women weren't allowed into pubs in her day. We had a bottle of whiskey stashed at the back of a cabinet for emergencies, like the priest calling. Other than that it was cups of tea. My father did drink but only in his 'club' where he played cards, and in the golf club. He was very partial to a hot toddy and I can clearly remember weeks of stony silence when he had over-imbibed. My sister, who was 12 years older than me, didn't drink either. So the mould was broken when I came along, and I imagine I broke my mother's heart.

When I started drinking vodka, it was the end for her. If I ordered a second, she used to look at me with abject disappointment. When I started drinking Scotch and ginger, she mentally had me in a park with a brown paper bag.

Over the years, I've developed many talents which I'm sure would otherwise have remained hidden, if I hadn't had a drink. Like downing a pint in three seconds in my student days. I don't behave like that anymore. And I'm sure I would never have discovered my penchant for an Elvis impersonation at three in the morning. A sight to behold.

There have been many other deviations from the norm which I won't share. Suffice it to say I haven't always woken up in the morning full of pride and self-worth. I've also seen many men through vodka-tinted glasses and have been stunned when reality hit.

So to give up drink for a whole month at this stage of my life is going to take serious self-discipline and I may have to turn down some invitations that I know will be a step too far. I think I'd be happier to grow my moustache for Movember.

Sunday Independent

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