How much booze do you drink in a week?
No, not how much you’d tell your doctor you drink.
Not a general category of ‘a moderate amount, I think’.
Our weekly series, Spill It, asks people to anonymously share the reality of their alcohol consumption over the course of a week – the units, the beverage choice, and the emotions behind every sip.
Why? Because we can all be a bit cagey when it comes to taking a no holds barred look at our relationship to alcohol. Seeing it all written out can be pretty life-changing.
This week we’re following the drinking diary of Este, a 29-year-old journalist living in London.
I have that Friday feeling when I leave the house at 6.50am. I am (perhaps worryingly) already looking forward to grasping a vat of wine in this evening’s golden hour.
I tend to get some kind of booze craving mid-week but after acknowledging 7am is a bit too early to be thinking about red wine I then worry how much of my excitement for the weekend is down to a lie-in, the gig I’m heading to tonight or the fact I am going to let myself have a drink for the first time in six days.
Finishing work at 5pm and skipping out the door, I am eager to start my weekend and have my first gulp.
I meet my boyfriend for a pre-gig dinner and have a £9 Aperol in the sun. I order this at 6.07 and it is gone by 6.15. I remind myself to slow down – for the sake of my bank account and liver.
I have a large glass of red wine with dinner and then another at a bar closer to gig. Feeling tipsy I vow to not mix my drinks tonight and stick to red.
We get to the venue about 8 and have another wine and then against all good intentions a prosecco, served in a can no less.
Feeling a bit drunk we head home after the gig. I’m adamant I want one more drink en route but my boyfriend reminds me we have a 10am pilates class. Bed by 12, along with a large bag of Hula Hoops.
I wake up at the ungodly hour of 6am panicking over what I said/did/Tweeted in my tipsy state. I check Twitter, realise I didn’t say anything that will get me sacked, dumped or make my friends and family hate me and manage to grab a few more zzzs. Got to love that hangxiety.
I sleep through my alarm and rush to pilates. Hungover and dehydrated I tell myself that maybe I won’t drink today or, you know, just have a couple.
My boyfriend and I head to a festival with some friends in the afternoon and I neck a Pimms tinny in the queue and then a Aperol Spritz once we’re in.
I’m acutely aware of how I felt at 6am this morning and already envisioning tomorrow’s meltdown so decide to wait a bit before my next drink.
I last about an hour before I hit the frozen cocktail stand – have two piña coladas and then another Aperol all while witnessing terrible dance moves in the disco tent. On the way home we grab a cocktail at my favourite bar.
I’m in bed by 10, not feeling too drunk thanks to copious amounts of festival food and a late night Dairy Milk.
I sleep for 11 hours and get up feeling groggy with no time to go for an intended 10km run.
My anxiety is awful – I feel panicked and guilty for overindulging on food and booze in the last two days and not exercising. I vow not to drink from now until next Thursday.
My friend is moving back up North so I attempt to pull myself together and head out to a goodbye lunch for him. Worried that everyone will be drinking I plan what I’m going to say when I’m asked why I’m not. While, as my friends and I have got older, it’s no longer taboo to eschew alcohol, I still sometimes feel the pressure to drink – especially if it is a special occasion like this.
Luckily everyone went too hard last night and we all sip on Diet Cokes and sparkling water.
I head home after lunch, anxiety very much still there so chill for the rest of the day, conscious of having a day of annual leave tomorrow and not wanting to lose it to my anxiety.
My boyfriend and I have the day off today and, when planning what we’re going to do, we both say we’re not up for drinking.
We go for a long run, and plan to wander around the shops before heading to a Vietnamese cooking class later in the evening. We read there is lots of wine to drink at this class so we sensibly plan to take lots of sparkling water so we’re not tempted.
After wandering in the sun and around the shops, we grab a snack at a tapas bar and find the idea of cava sangria too hard to resist, so we have a litre and it goes straight to my head. Justify it by declaring we are on ‘our holidays’… kind of.
Head to cooking class and, to no one’s surprise, we shun the sparkling water for the wine on offer. Have three glasses and head home tipsy.
Have possibly one of the most awful night’s sleep of my life thanks to chronic period pain and wake up with awful anxiety.
No booze today and mark out in my diary ‘two weeks of sobriety’ – kicking off this Friday. I’m very aware I have an all-in or all-out mentality when it comes to drinking. It’s either sobriety or full bingeing and I want to kick that cycle.
The evening is spent cooking with my boyfriend and heading to bed at 9pm.
Wake up from a lovely alcohol free snooze. Have a productive day at work and evening at the gym and making falafel. I go to bed early again feeling relaxed and calm.
Wake up well-slept. Tonight I have drinks with my best pals and one of them, who moved to Asia last year, is back for the evening.
I head to work in a flurry of excited anticipation for wine with my girls and impending doom of a Friday hangover. This is also my last day of booze for two weeks if Tuesday’s pledge is anything to go by.
I have an Aperol while I am waiting in the pub for my friends to arrive. Once they do we work our way through three bottles of white wine, and a plate of nachos for dinner. I end the evening with an espresso martini – a bold and, in hindsight, an optimistic move for someone who intended to be asleep within an hour.
Unsurprisingly I wake up fuzzy-headed and on edge. I bee-line for carbohydrates and coffee on the way to work and am looking forward to a Friday night on the sofa and, all being well, two weeks without alcohol. Wish me luck.
Weekly units: 50
NHS recommended units: 14
Spill It is a weekly series out every Friday. To get involved email [email protected]
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