What I’ve learnt from Dry January

*Short disclaimer: I drank three times in January, technically a failure but also still of an achievement – 3 isn’t 31 people! Okay, it was four.*

I can’t be the only person that has woken up at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, dribble down my face, a hazy memory of the evening before and a strong will to leave my own body. Manically googling jobs in Canada because the hangover guilt is so terrible that I never want to speak to anybody I may have seen again, right?

It’s no secret that Drunk Claire is ruining my life, so after the Christmas binge – I decided to embark on the daunting adventure that is Dry January. I’ve learned many things, most of which are trivial but also some important lessons that will stay with me in the future (we hope).

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Here are the things I’ve been mulling over, in this DULL and HOPELESS month:

  1. I am offered an obscene amount of free alcohol – IT’S EVERYWHERE.
  2. I get drunk for the sake of it so often – Every Friday night I leave work moulding my plans around drinking. It’s been nice to wake up feeling fresh and actually be productive on the weekend.
  3. We’re all aware that drinking is expensive but nobody seems to mention the cost of a hangover! Pot Noodles, cheeky takeaways and cherry Tango add up you know.
  4. Breaking the seal is nothing compared to drinking two pints of water. This entire month has been a constant trip to the bathroom.
  5. With that being said, we drink an excessive amount of liquid during an average night out. In what world would you drink 6 pints of juice in the space of four hours? (Worried about exposing my binge drinking to the world – obviously, have never had 6 pints in one day😳)15032892_10154042472241662_2050351731904795784_n
  6. Cooking is more fun with wine and The Pointer Sisters. That is a fact.
  7. Hangovers have a much bigger effect than I’d ever thought. I found that I still feel horrendous on a Wednesday if I’ve been drinking Friday and Saturday and I’ve found a definite improvement in my sleeping pattern and energy.
  8. AND my mood. I’m sure many of you have had a grumpy moment during a night out or woken up in the morning hating absolutely everything about your life. I think we often forget that alcohol is a depressant and it does have negative side effects if abused.17498438_1323542611058619_209970759052647722_n.jpg
  9. I was excited about losing some weight with ease as this is supposed to be one of the perks of putting down the drinks. This didn’t happen, but with that being said – I have replaced drinking with eating great food 6 times a day soooo…
  10. Whilst we’re on the subject – I’ve realised this month that I am never going to go to the gym. This was my chance to finally step on a cross-trainer (or whatever it is that you healthy folk do) and I just didn’t. I’ll just stick to always choosing the stairs I guess.3.jpg
  11. Loads of TV shows revolve around dating. I’m putting this in here as I’ve spent a small sum of this month filling pub-time with The Naked Attraction, First Dates and One Night with My Ex. In hindsight, drinking is probably better for my health.
  12.  There is plenty of time in the day, I am just failing to be productive.
  13. When I have made it out to the pub, I’ve found that it really is no different. I just tend to sing ABBA slightly less.
  14. I’ve always thought that I’ve relied on alcohol for confidence and although I think this is absolutely the case in some situations, this month has given me the understanding that there are social situations in which I am completely comfortable sober. It’s reaffirmed my knowlege that there is no point in me getting blind drunk just to have fun – which is something that I will be trying my very best not to do from now on.
  15. I remember the first time I ever tasted vodka – I was convinced that I’d never drink because alcohol tastes RANK. I’ve found that this is no longer the case and I actually enjoy the taste of some alcohol. Particularly; red wine, prosecco and a chilled Red Stripe. (Check me out being so grown up)
  16. My final lesson has to be that January 2018 has lasted for ten months. I can’t be the only person that has been counting down the days of Jan and honestly, I don’t think it’s because I haven’t been drinking, it’s just a dreary month in general.

This has definitely been a positive experience, particularly as I’ve found it much easier than I thought I would. It’s a work in progress but it has improved my attitude towards alcohol which can only be a good thing. Alongside this, it has also urged me to try and keep trying to better my health and wellbeing where I can, so maybe you will see some gym selfies on the old gram after all.

I find that we have an unhealthy drinking culture in Britain, we’re encouraged to drink from such a young age and the idea that it is directly linked with having fun is instilled into us from the very beginning. I’m not saying that we should be alcohol free health nuts that eat hemp seeds and spend their weekends at craft fairs (actually me tho) but I think there could be great benefits from cutting down and improving our approach to drinking.

SOS! My drunken self is ruining my life.

Let me count the ways in which drunk Claire just loves to annoy me…

Eating the best food 

Have you ever woken up after a night out and the cruel drunk version of yourself has eaten your entire advent calendar? I know friend, I know.

I love food. I love food more than anything else in the world. The thought of eating a giant bowl of spaghetti gets me through the day. Burgers get me through the week. What I’m trying to say is that if I’ve been thinking about something for a while, I’m very excited to eat it. So when I get home drunk and inhale it without a second thought, it really breaks my little sober heart.

There is no hurt like waking up to see a few lashings of BBQ sauce on a plate that once held such delight.

Drunk texting 

I’m that girl that decides to avoid any awkward situation or confrontation…until I’ve had a few drinks. I will then proceed to send you mass amounts of babble describing exactly how I feel and why I think you’re a knob. Is it irritating and embarrassing? Well yes, yes it is. But I know you’ve all done it too so you can’t judge me.

Telling people overly nice things 

This may sound like a perfectly normal and lovely thing to do but unfortunately I’m weird. I constantly find myself telling people incredibly over the top things that if I heard from a stranger, I would purposefully avoid them for the rest of my life.  Examples include “I saw your dog on Instragram and actually cried” and my personal favourite “I feel like you’re probably meant to be my best friend, let’s hang out.”

Over the top dancing that’s supposed to be comedic but really, really isn’t  

At the time I think I’m hilarious, then I wake up the next day and realise that people always remember the drunk girl that was air-spanking her friend in the middle of the dancefloor.

Making friends with complete strangers that I’ll never talk to again

My contacts list and the notes on my phone are full of random names and numbers of people that I know for a fact I will never bump into again and if I do, I will probably ignore because Hi I’m socially awkward sober Claire, oh you met me when I was drunk? That’s brilliant. Nope, you don’t have to tell me what I was saying. I’m good, thanks though.

The funny thing is at the time I am SO happy to be talking to these people and I almost always end up going to my friends after and saying the words “I just made a new friend, we’re going to go to Brunch tomorrow and sing our song at karaoke.” Okay maybe not those exact words but you get the jist.

Ruining my shoes 

The amount of discarded alcohol and mud that gets on my shoes while I’m out baffles me. Why is it that when we get drunk we become these creepy, overly affectionate creatures that are no longer able to control their limbs? Stop stepping on my foot, stop spilling beer on my shoes, they are my BABIES and I love them too much to see them die like this.

Forgetting vital info 

If you have something really important to tell me, do not do it when I’m drunk. I’ll wake up in the morning with snippets of it in my brain – but never enough to actually remember the specifics. Just enough to annoy me for weeks afterwards.

Throwing everything everywhere

Every now and then the drunk version of me is actually very considerate. She’ll leave all of the important things I need from day-to-day in a neat pile for easy access. She may pick me an outfit if I have work the next day. Heck, sometimes she even showers in preparation for my inability to get up in time.

Unfortunately, more often than none, this is not the case. Most of the time I wake up confused and very, very late. My keys are in the kitchen, my purse is in the loo and my phone is SOMEWHERE in my bed. Now not only am I running round trying to find something unstained to wear to work, I’ve lost everything, I’m stressing out and I don’t even have time to think about the fact I’m going to be sick within the hour.

Making plans that I don’t want to do  

Cycling from London to Paris in two weeks? Great! Going to a rave in Newcastle that requires us waiting in the freezing cold for hours before we can catch a train home? Count me in!

Or more realistically… “We should definitely go for brunch tomorrow, I’ll be up and out at midday, definitely. What even are hangovers anyway?!?”

Drunk Claire probably would do this stuff, drunk Claire is fun and up for anything because wooooo jagerbombs. Unfortunately, sober Claire is a sensible and boring old soul that knows for a fact that if she can’t even go to brunch, there’s no way she’s cycling to Paris. Sorry friends.

Giving away surprises 

I can’t keep a surprise on the best of days, literally can’t handle it. I just look at the person, smiling like a maniac and repeat to myself “don’t say anything, don’t say anything.” Chances are, if I know something that I can’t tell you, I’ll completely avoid you for my own sanity.

THAT IS until drunk Claire storms in, arm around a complete stranger that she insists is her best friend and inviting you to the Go Ape daytrip she’s currently planning. All before saying “oh wait, never mind that’s the day of your surprise birthday party.”

The Definitive Stages of a Hungover Sunday

I tried writing this whilst hungover but I am far too useless and my brain just didn’t work.

We’ve all been there, it’s 4am and you’ve just burst through your door. You’re wiping the ketchup off your jeans and praising the Uber driver that joined in in the full rendition of ABBA’s, The Winner Takes It All. Everything is great, you’re trying to find things to cover in hummus and thinking back to your killer dance moves. You know that you should take off your make up and drink loads of water before bed but you’re only human. How bad can it be in the morning anyway?! You stumble upstairs and fall into bed, praying that you’ll fall asleep before the room starts spinning.

Waking up and discovering your cruel fate..

You open your eyes and for a slight moment, forget that you even drank last night. Your brain feels fuzzy so you search your memories for what happened – you visualise yourself doing shots of Sambuca and trying to act like the next Beyoncé. Anxiety immediately hits, who did you speak to? What did you do? WERE YOU USING SNAPCHAT? You reach for your phone and begin scrolling desperately, checking for any signs that you embarrassed yourself. You discover that your social media is drunk-idiot free and you don’t have any incriminating messages, curious as to where your phone was all evening – you begin to relax. Everything is fine, how embarrassing could you have been?

Your body starts to reject itself..

You’ve been staring at your phone for an hour now, you’re trying to gather energy to get in the shower whilst watching the tenth video of The Ellen Show. You start to wonder whether you’ll ever be able to move again, rolling over quickly answers that for you. No, you shan’t. You’re now stuck in this bed forever – you gin guzzling mess.

Honestly though, it’s time to leave your bed..

You crawl to the end, dip a toe out, recoil and brace yourself. You can do this. You try and convince yourself that this is going to be fine, you’ve been to the toilet a million times in your lifetime. You leave your sanctuary, the air around you feels different. It feels as though you haven’t been to the toilet in a decade (even though you spent half your time on one the previous evening.) You realise how much you find urinating a chore and run back to bed.

Accepting you’re doing nothing all day..

At this point you’ve realised that you’re not going to get anything done today – you get comfy and start mentally planning what you’ll stare blankly at for the rest of the day. You choose a series you’ve watched at least 6 times before and cocoon yourself in your covers. Movement is overrated anyway.

Credit: Mashable

It’s completely acceptable to have three meals for lunch, right?

You haven’t eaten in ten hours and you convince yourself that that’s the reason for your nausea. Definitely not the 6 jagerbombs you had last night – or the undercooked “food” from the dodgy takeaway near da club. Looking through Just Eat, you realise that you want an array of dishes from the Chinese with a side of fries, a small pizza and a taco. You toy with the idea of going to some kind of mixed-cuisine buffet but who are you kidding, you can’t go out in public today.

Death is imminent

It’s definitely been 55 minutes since you’ve ordered your takeaway, you’ve been waiting for half a decade, your stomach is eating itself.

You try and get really interested in the 30th episode of Friends that you’ve watched today but it’s no good – you’ve already seen it 8 times and your eyes keep wondering over to the time. What if the restaurant haven’t seen your order? Maybe they haven’t even accepted it…You double check. They have. And they’re due in another 30 minutes.

Sweet Salvation

Just when you feel as though you’re actually going to die, the doorbell rings. You sprint downstairs – completely forgetting about the gin demon waiting to burst out of your stomach – you have a mixture of emotions, is this delivery man your hero or the person that has been withholding your fries for too long? You get to the door, remember that you’re socially inept today, grab the bag and shut down any conversation. You grab a fork and scurry back into your hole. Feeling uplifted, you begin to inhale your food – you question if you’ve ever  been this happy before.

Credit: Pinterest

Maybe you could do something after all…

You’re starting to get fidgety and the guilt over the fact you’ve been lying in bed all day is getting too real. You text people to see what they’re doing, this could be a great day after all! You quickly realise that it’s 9pm and that’s when you realise the worst news of all…you have work tomorrow.

SOS!! I can’t human.

How are you actually going to go to work? Your brain is still functioning on a very minimal level, you’ve forgotten what life was like outside of your bedroom and the memories from last night are too raw. How are you supposed to look your boss in the eye and have a real life meeting when all you can think of is a mental image of you dancing on a stage to R Kelly – Ignition, only 72 hours before.

Sleep is the answer to everything

You figure that the only way you’re going to pass as a functional human tomorrow is if you wash the gross from your body, get into new pyjamas (that aren’t covered in the delicious takeaway you wish you still had) and go to bed. Two hours ago.

Time has gone too quickly, you’re seriously considering quitting your job and spending the rest of your days as a free spirit but then you think about rent. Showering is a strange experience and once it’s over, you feel fresh as a daisy. Annoyed at the fact that you didn’t do this hours ago, you get back into bed and start preparing the pep talk that will get you through work tomorrow.

Daydreaming about daiquiri’s and bank holidays, you finally fall asleep.