Week 5: Reflections on No Hang-uary
Everytime I drink, after about three wines in, I reach a cliff’s edge. And what I decide to do next will impact far more than how the rest of my night goes. If I jump, for example, we’re talking multiple buckets of wine, midnight margaritas and miscellaneous shots, the consequences will be felt mind, body and Monzo card for at least the next 3 to 4 days. If I’m lucky.
One of the biggest revelations No Hang-uary taught me was how to walk up to that cliff edge, take in the view, and turn back for some tea and toast and a good movie at home. (In January I reckon I watched Martin McDonagh’s entire back catalog. Seven Psychopaths deffo my fave. But incidentally seems to be the one everyone else hates the most when I mention it. Great.)
I’ll be honest, I am a little bit hungover as I write this, which is why you can 100% believe me when I say, I miss No Hang-uary. I loved waking up every day after a great night’s sleep. I loved not waking up dry AF with a furry tongue. I loved seeing just the one payment in my Monzo app for just the one round of savvy bs. Overall, I felt great, and it felt like a much more sustainable way to work hard, play hard. Weird that not drinking to excess can do all that. Someone should, like, tell people.
I would be remiss not to shout out all my peeps who were doing dry Jan or similar. Without you guys getting all bored and shit after 2 hours at the pub, I never would have discovered the genuine joy of a couple of drinks then home. And would have never had the script flipped on the emphasis of after work drinks being about hanging out with your work buds and not, brace yourself, the drinks.
This, unexpectedly, was a big one for me. Looking back, before No Hang-uary, when I thought about going out with my friends I would think about what drinks I was going to have and whether the place we were going to would have good stemware. Remove that from the equation, and my mindset started to refocus on who I was actually going out to see and all the stuff we had to catch up on. Probably, definitely, the way it should be.
This also showed me that if you want to change any sort of habit in your life, be it drinking, smoking or whatever, you need good people around you. Me and my gals have been talking about cutting down on drinking for ages and, last Wednesday, as we all approached the cliff’s edge, we stopped and had a very rational and, like, mature convo about foregoing the obligatory “one more drink”. And we did. And I was home and in bed by 10. Admittedly, after dancing around my room for 15 minutes to a combination of Nikki Minaj and The Darkness, of course.
Do we deserve a medal for our bravery? Yes. Yes, we do.
I mention the dancing around the room because, the thing is, even without the obligatory “one more drink”, ya gurl was drunk. No Hang-uary also taught me to drink much slower. And it turns out, 3 glasses of wine will get you just as drunk as 6 if you give the damn thangs a chance to catch up with themselves. I know this all feels very Year 9 PSHE class, but my silly adult brain forgot.
The combination of drinking slower, being around people with the same mindset and valuing tomorrow over tonight, seriously started to break down some deep drinking habits.
I’m not saying every night out needs to end with a stiff pint of Evian and lights out before 10.15pm. Since No Hang-uary I have been on a long weekend away which was so boozey I am still 15% vodka coke and a Bridget Jones “drink-along” where they handed out giant straws designed to fit in a bottle of wine. But on a daily basis, I am hoping to continue the No Hang-uary, sustainable drinking, just 3 (large) glass for me tonight babes, vibes.
And I highly recommend the mindset for anyone looking to build a better relationship with alcohol going forward.
(OMG. She’s basically a doctor at this point.)