If my maths is right, today it was 499 days since my last alcoholic drink. I didn’t necessarily think I would stop for this long when I decided to give it a rest (again) on January 1st 2021, but now I am wondering if I will ever drink again. I looked at my bottles of whisky this evening and had a slight pang, but ultimately the fact that in the last 500 days I have hardly ever woken up in the middle of the night filled with a nameless dread is enough to make me not to want to go back. And I guess if having cancer didn’t drive me to drink then it’s going to be something pretty bad that does.
When it comes down to it, you know me, I could never have a drink today. I have to get to 500, right?
It just doesn’t feel worth going back - not just the night terrors, but the hangovers and general exhaustion. I don’t go to so many social events these days, but when I have done I haven’t found it to be much of a problem. Maybe late on at a party when everyone is pissed and repeating themselves it gets mildly boring, but also quite funny and illuminating. I spent most of my twenties and thirties pissed and no doubt was just as boring myself, though luckily surrounded by people who were equally drunk so probably didn’t notice. I don’t think I ever had a drink problem exactly - it was just the culture - though it did help me with my social awkwardness and shyness. Well sometimes. I am sure it fucked up as many social situations as it helped with. But I may never have had sex if I hadn’t had alcohol to make me less self-conscious and inhibited, because I might otherwise have never talked to a woman.
Alcohol led to much fun, laughter and joyous stupidity, but also, of course much mortification and unjoyous stupidity. Maybe I did have a problem. I tried to give up a lot, at least for a short time, feeling proud of myself if I managed 100 days, but then going back to the way I’d been before. I think I was mainly concerned about being fat rather than doing stupid things. But then I was concerned about being alone if I didn’t drink, or out with friends and too wound up in myself to have a good time. One day I am going to have to unpack these years and work out what was going on. I think I was quite unhappy. I wasn’t doing anything any different to most young people though. It’s crazy how much the social life of the United Kingdom revolves around boozing and as a comedian I was able to cane it any night I fancied. There were plenty of good times. I assume. I can’t really remember it.
Being out of being out of it has been good though. I have been too tired from being a parent to claim that it has made me feel loads better, but I think I would have felt a lot more tired if I was still drinking.
I’m nearly 55. It’s not too early to start being a little bit sensible. Thankfully I don’t think I needed booze to be funny. It sometimes helped that and sometimes really didn’t, but I am perfectly capable of taking leave of my senses without intoxication. Sometimes (doing Twitch of Fun especially) I have reached the unselfconscious mental state where I feel drink and words are spilling out of me as if I was drunk. Performance is the best drug and on stage, weirdly enough, I don’t suffer from the debilitating social awkwardness that I am sometimes have in real life. That’s probably more of a problem than alcoholism and certainly, when I look at some performers, I can see that this drug has more profound effects than other stimulants. Luckily for me I am still happy if the performance is to a few dozen people (though hundreds is nice too).
Whatever. Here’s to day 500. I like the idea of never drinking again, but it also makes me a little sad. Let’s see where I am in 500 days time.
Cut to me, in the gutter, with piss down my trousers telling you you’re all cunts, but I love you.