This is a topic in which I have some experience, many would say I am an expert.
Drink has been a faithful companion for many years helping me in all sorts of ways (and messing up a whole load of others).
#SmallBeer, low in alcohol, proper tasting beer
I recently ordered some #ThreeSpirit, a non alcoholic drink that claims to give you a fuzzy buzzy feeling. It is delicious, with one of the blends tasting rather like a negroni. I really like the introduction to their booklet (thanks Three Spirit):
‘Some of the best moments in life started over a drink… Great ideas, unforgettable experiences, chance encounters, connection. Alcohol has long been the wingman of that connection.’
I love the idea of it being my wingman. But now I prefer the idea of relaxing, being more creative, chatty, adventurous without alcohol - I need a new modern free thinking wingman. Let's face it doing anything with a hangover is impossible.
Time to rethink the relationship with it.
It has been a great help over the years:
I was offered home brew from around 15, my Dad bought me my first pint in a pub, he was going to buy a half but my brother said ‘Dad they’ll know he’s under age, buy him a pint’. I wish I had had a half, I couldn’t take the volume (this actually haunted me for years).
Being sent away to school had some (not many) benefits, one of which was bunking off to the Digby Tap in Sherborne for a half of cider and a cigar for 20p, when we should have been doing prep (or hall as it was called). I felt the frisson of breaking school rules (a rarity for me).
Around about this time friends had parties, I never really wanted to go, I always felt overwhelmed, I was socially quite awkward, so a few beers did help a lot in giving me a bit of confidence. I have never enjoyed big parties much since, though I now find being sober in a room full of drunks is much better.
I studied Geology at university, we went on lots of field trips, it always rained. On a field trip to Mull we stayed in a remote farm house, the local landlord sent us a van each night to go to his pub. Generous, unusual and a lot of fun. I also have a suspicion that the tutors who organised these things decided field trip locations based on decent pubs.
After mucking about in London after graduation I got a job in advertising. Goodness knows how as I was painfully shy. In those days drinking was a huge part of the culture - the trolleys of champagne wheeled into the office after a pitch win, pub nights, birthdays, client events or just because.
It wasn’t a problem, I was young and getting more confident. And I had landed a job close to paradise (or so I thought).
I had a client many years ago who said to me ‘I love drinking’; he went on ‘the first cold beer of the day is delicious, everything that follows is a disappointment’ - this has stayed with me chiefly because he was quite right. The first ice cold beer, chilled white wine etc are amazing, all those that follow aren’t. In fact the more one has the more cloying and sickly they become.
After this little moment of truth I joined the ranks trying to cut down (never worked), then spent a small fortune on self help books (all useless), dabbled with therapy (which solved another problem totally unrelated), dropped into AA, downloaded apps, monitored every possible piece of health data on my phone. What a waste of time.
Except I found Adrian Chiles’ TV programme and book about his drinking pretty amazing and inspiring. It takes a lot of guts to own up to all of this. Very well written and must have struck a chord with many people.
I'm currently doing something new, which so far is putting me in a great space - more of that anon.
So why on earth am I rabbiting on about booze?
It is very simple: alcohol and Parkinson’s don’t make good bed fellows. I have been trying very hard to change, but am now so much more motivated to crack this.
With my new allies fizzy water (our carbonating machine is one of the best things I have ever bought), Lucky Saint no alcohol lager and Small Beer 2.5 % alcohol, both delicious, and (recently discovered) Three Spirit, herbal not alcoholic, now is the time for change.
Cheers to that!*
*low or no alcohol toast