For the past probably ten years I have drunk with caution. No, that’s a lie. I have not drunk with caution, I have drunk with planning. I have made sure that the morning after is clear. I have plotted the drinking into my diary with a kind of gimlet eyes rigour. ‘If I am going to do this,’ I have thought to myself, ‘I am going to make it work for me.’ As though pressing reset on my career. Which is kind of what has been happening. Except it’s been my drinking career.
My drinking career got off to an auspicious start: I had a hard head, a party spirit, I was a warrior with hangovers and I wasn’t an addict. Or, at least, merely a micro-addict. And I loved it. It relaxed me. A glass of warm milk to ease the pressure? Errr, what about half a bottle of vodka?
But time has rolled on apace and hangovers can make me wonky for two days and misty for three. Simultaneously life has swelled to the point where it really gets in the bloody way of my drinking career. As I write I feel fat, a little bit tearful, stupider than usual and extremely exhausted and have to ask myself: Is my drinking career over? Is it time to retire? Am I too grown-up for hangovers?
And if I am… then what? Staying out past 10pm sober? Unthinkable. Dancing sober? Never have, never will. Flirting sober? Holy hell. Will I have to have those long, dreary Sunday lunches in order to see people and make new friends? Oh how I loathe a long lunch. Will Friday nights just become about hate-watching Outlander while attempting some kind of dreary online Pilates class? What does retirement look like? Scary… that’s what. But when the times comes, how long can you fight it?