Saturday, November 6, 2010

P.S. This is what I look like.

And then?

I made another rash decision. I decided to start my new blog immediately. It's called No more pissing around. (I went off the other name.) To find out how my first night back on the piss went, and how all my hairbrained schemes and adventures work out (I know it's meant to be harebrained by the way, but I prefer the vision of a brain being replaced by an airy ball of hair instead of with the tiny offerings of a small animal's skull), please (pleeeeeease) follow me at
Farewell my favourite humans,
Love, as always,
(Why am I being so dramatic? I'm totally gonna see you on the other blog.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 365: time to celebrate.

Are we where I think we are? Can this really be my 365th day off the piss coming to a close? As I left work this evening I couldn't help feeling a little bit ridiculously excited - not for the ensuing alcohol, but for the fact that for once in my life I'd stuck to my guns and finished something. Can you remember what I was like way back at the very beginning? A pitiful, dehydrated and angry little thing, scared shitless of the prospect of going without wine. Now here I am, 365 days out, and I've bloody well done it. But before we get too carried away with self-congratulation, maybe we should examine a couple of the other things I said way back when; like my hypothesis for example. On Day 2, I hypothesised thus: "by not drinking for 365 days, I will remove many of the obstructions that get in the way of me achieving my dreams. By removing the distraction of alcohol and the fallout that goes with it, my mind and waking hours will be free to be used productively. This new clarity of mind and ability to focus will see me achieve amazing things." Then a few days later, I got specific about what I meant by amazing things: "1. Some tracks on the radio, shop-able on iTunes. 2. A video on youtube and maybe even TV (!) 3. Being in a band that plays great, packed-out live shows and may soon embark on a tour." Woa Mamma, let's break this down. Most of the hypothesis turned out to be completely true. I know I've said I'm incapable of focusing on one thing at a time, but in fact what I've done over the last 365 days is focus pretty solidly on keeping off alcohol, writing this blog, and using my free time productively. And in terms of achieving amazing things, I think that qualifies. Now let's look at the specifics. Do I have tracks on the radio? No. But I do have a heap of demos, a number of which are very close to being radio ready. I also know people who work at radio stations who might help me get them played. So I don't feel like a complete failure on point 1. Now, do I have a video on youtube or TV? Definitely not. But let's take things one step at a time. If the music keeps progressing in the right direction, a music video will come. They're not so hard to make these days. I have every confidence that if I just keep putting one musical foot in front of the other, I will get the video thing across the line. So to point 3. Am I in a band that plays great, packed-out live shows and may soon embark on a tour. No, I don't have a band at all. I just have me. But finally, I think I have reached a point where me might be enough, provided I have a little help from my friends. And now for the big doozy: am I, after My Year Off The Piss, a rock star? Well no, not strictly. But do I feel like one? Hell yes! Have my whole life. I was born believing I had a God-given right to rock. Whether I'm delusional in believing that is beside the point. It's my own happy little reality, and I ain't giving it up. What's more, in completing My Year Off The Piss, I have proven something I suspected for a while: impossible is bullshit. Impossible is the psychobabble we feed ourselves as an excuse for not attempting something we're scared of. To the vast majority of habitual drinkers, taking a year off alcohol seems entirely impossible. It's not. And being a rock star? I hate to disappoint the doubters among us, but no, that's not impossible either. Of course though, life has a habit of not fitting into neat little boxes, so I haven't managed rock stardom in time for the end of this blog. That's okay. I'll be keeping at it. And now I suppose it's time I wrapped this up. To you, for reading, I am eternally grateful. Along this crazy journey, you have been my ethereal force of energy and support, and without you I doubt I would have seen this day. Thank you. Tonight, fittingly, I celebrated with a yoga class. Tomorrow night (a Friday) I celebrate with friends and family over a bubble or two. And so we're done. Do yoga, try sober, and as my Dad always says, love everyone and everything. Peace out.

P.S. If by some miracle you're interested in knowing what happens next, I will be writing another blog (because a love of blog writing was another happy discovery along the way). It won't be exactly like this one (because that would be boring. And ridiculous.). I think it will be called The Next Thing (or TNT for short! Ha ha. Boom!). Tune in here some time soon, and I'll let you know what's up.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 364: God has one hell of a sense of humour.

Okay. So I have been trying to remain positive about this, which has been difficult considering I'm actually kind of mortified and totally pissed off. I went to the doctor again today to discuss my annoying liver results. It turns out the liver level that would have been affected by alcohol is way down - which makes sense - but my other liver levels (there are several) that were previously totally fine are now up. I apologise for the boringness and perhaps overly revealing nature of this information, but I thought it was relevant. Why? Because it means that while I thought I was doing everything in my power to be hyper healthy (teetotalism, regular exercise, veganism/vegetarianism), I have somehow done something to bugger things up. Not enormously mind you - my levels are only slightly raised - but something I've been doing has been taxing my liver in a brand new way. You do something to be kind to your liver and unwittingly find a new way to be cruel. Bloody fucking hell. My doctor suggested I could try losing some weight. Yes, good idea. Except that I already exercise pretty much every day, eat weirdly healthy food just about all the time and eat pretty moderate amounts when I do. And let's get something straight: I am not a skinny girl, but I am not a fat girl either. My build is athletic, I move my ass, and I am an extremely health-conscious eater. I could definitely be thinner, I'm just not sure exactly how. Maybe my next blog should be My Year Eating From An Egg Cup, or 365 Tasty Ways With Air. Of course, all this is absolutely brilliant punishment for the anally retentive perfectionist that I am. A year of perfecty, goody-two-shoes behaviour, rewarded with a not quite perfect bill of health. So yeah, I'm pretty pissed. And God's laughing his arse off I imagine, while tucking into his third cream bun.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 363: the race that stops a nation.

Every year, on the first Tuesday in November, there is a horse race held in Melbourne, Australia. It lasts about four minutes. But they’re not just any four minutes. They are four minutes of Melbourne Cup magic. For all the palaver that surrounds it, you’d think that cup was full of the elixir of eternal youth or something. Actually it’s overflowing with money, but that’s another story. Anyway, for the Melbourne Cup, Australia stops. It downs tools, puts on suits, frocks and outrageous hats, bets its hard earned cash, and sinks a bucketload of piss. Oh yeah, and enjoys four minutes of heady, racing excitement. It’s all pretty fun actually. The race is definitely my favourite part. And why am I writing about it? Well it’s all happening today for one thing. For another, it was this day last year, and all the truly drunken madness that came with it, that necessitated my taking a year off alcohol. It was the mother of a hangover the next day that finally saw me say, now what was it? “Fuck you alcohol” I believe it might have been. And here I am one year later (give or take a couple of days), the most free from alcohol I have probably ever been in my adult life. It’s worth a moment. (Pause.) As I approach the very end of my self-enforced sobriety stint, I must admit I am a little scared. How will alcohol sit with me after all this time? How will my body and brain react? Will I make a complete cock of myself? Will I just slip back into habitual drinking like everybody else? Or am I just building the whole thing up way too much? Maybe I’ll like it, maybe I won’t. I’ll find out in a couple of days, and whatever happens, I’m pretty sure I can handle it.

Day 362: and then my liver fucks out?

Well this was unexpected. Back in my drinking days I had a blood test for something or rather that came back with slightly elevated liver levels. Considering the quantities of alcohol I used to sink of a weekend, I wasn't surprised, but I made a note to myself to consider cutting back. Then I took a year off alcohol, as you know, and the other day went to get another blood test done, mainly just to see what difference the whole thing had made to my health. And today I found out my liver levels are still slightly elevated. Apparently it's nothing to be alarmed about, and we will do more tests just to make sure, but are you freaking kidding? The one thing I thought I could be sure of after a year off booze was a healthy liver. Does this mean that my past drinking habits have permanently damaged my liver? Or do I have some kind of non-alcohol-related liver issues? Or is it just that I've drunk too much green tea (I just this minute googled a study that suggested green tea polyphenols in highly concentrated doses could damage your liver - who knew? And I do drink a lot of tea.). Well, no doubt my doctor will be able to shed some light on the sitch. But way to wipe the smug sober smile off my face. Blah blah blah I'm so happy, blah blah blah I feel so healthy. Pride, as always, comes before a fall (although, admittedly, "slightly elevated" doesn't exactly constitute a fall from Everest).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 361: I am very happy.

If there's one thing that has been an overriding theme of my year off the piss, it is happiness. Happiness of a Monday morning, happiness waking clear-eyed and headed of a Saturday or Sunday morning, happiness even in the face of not completely happy things happening - just happiness in general. And I think there are only really two things to which I can attribute this convincing and enduring swing to the sunny side: yoga and sobriety. Yoga (the Bikram kind in particular) is a magic tonic and curer of multitudinous ills. It has served to level my mind, teach me unwavering resolve, tone and stretch my body, and drastically improve my cardiovascular health and fitness (I no longer get asthma, I can jog pretty easily up a steep hill with next to no training, and I can sing a long phrase without needing to take a breath.). I think if everyone did Bikram even just twice a week, the world would be a distinctly better, happier and healthier place. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a liquid that, while potentially fun, brings with it a wagonload of trouble. For an evening of heady giggles and rubber limbs, we trade stomach trouble, dehydration, bad skin, weight gain, memory loss, brain damage, depression, significant money, and usually some kind of embarrassment stemming from our loose behaviour, not to mention whole sunny days that we miss while sleeping our evenings off. Put like that, surely no one in their right mind would touch alcohol. But we humans aren't always in our right minds. At some point in all our lives we need to blow off steam and do some crazy shit. Which is cool. But having gone from being one helluva crazy bitch on the alcohol front, to being as clean as a fresh fall of snow, and having felt the profound difference it has made to my mental state, body, skin, and general outlook on life, I can tell you I will be picking my moments for craziness very, very carefully in future. People write whole books on happiness and how illusive it is. I can (happily) say I am living happy pretty much every single day (and I sure as hell wasn't before). So if I'm going to mess with that, all I can say is, it had better be bloody worth it.