Updated: Dec 31, 2018
In a previous post, I talked more generally about sober holidays. No holiday is so often glamorized, yet simultaneously so often disappointing, as New Year’s Eve. (In fact, one of these words - “glamorous” or “disappointing” -- is an apt description for nearly every time I drank. You decide which!)
The "champagne toast" is seen as an indispensable part of ringing in the new year. To that particular point, let me serve as a walking, talking reality check. What follows are the events of New Year's Eve, 2015:
The Eve of New Year’s Eve: I wandered the mall, trying to find a strategic New Year's dress. I wanted one to hide my stomach, and settled for one that at least made the rest of me look good.
When I got home, I wondered if my stomach would be flatter if I stopped drinking.
Could it be that the calories I consumed through alcohol were behaving like the calories in, say, bread? You know, the bread I avoided like the plague, all while guzzling Rumchata? Surely not. Surely alcohol calories were more forgiving.
And anyway, it was a dead-end type of thought. Absent alcohol, what would be the point of a flat stomach? If I didn't drink, surely there would be no occasion to wear a dress? (This was dramatically, comically wrong, but my thinking at the time.)
New Year’s Eve (day): I went to work, but late. I wanted to look good in that dress, so I employed the fail-safe strategy of a last-minute, pre-holiday glute workout. That oughta take care of the last five years of steady drinking, I thought.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. I weighed myself before leaving the gym that morning, and I didn’t like the number. If you think you’ve hit bottom, but you haven’t yet taken off your shoes to weigh yourself at Planet Fitness, just keep going.
For the remainder of the day, I ate as little food as possible to compensate for all the champagne I planned to consume that night. The only thing on my plate was a half-baked plan for how I’d get “back on track” after New Year’s.
New Year’s Eve (Eve): Well, I was right about the champagne, anyway. While drinking, I was always looking for the perfect amount drunk. By late 2015, I wasn’t exactly nailing it. In record-breaking time, I went from deliriously-anxious-because-well-humans to can’t-even-call-her-own-Uber. There were a couple of people around that I wanted to impress; I hoped the glamour was translating.
New Year’s Day: It’s weird: I was a bit hungover. I spent the morning drinking mimosas with the person I was dating at the time. Presumably, he drank for enjoyment. I drank to stave off the encroaching anxiety (read: sobriety) that accompanied days after heavy drinking.
So that’s how I rang in the New Year. Worried about drinking, and worried about not drinking. When I think about what it’s like to drink over the holidays, memories like these serve as my reality check: Messy. Unnecessary. Disappointing. Glamorous.