7 Things I Learned When I Stopped Drinking For A Month In Malta

The good, the bad and the stone-cold sober

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After a particularly heavy weekend in Rome that saw me relegated to the toilet for longer than is polite, it occurred to me that I have been drinking pretty much every weekend since the age of 14.

It’s kind of disgusting. My last baby tooth was yanked out by my drunk-ass self in the toilet of BJs circa 1995, and since then my liver has been under permanent attack.

So, for this reason, I decided to stop drinking for four weeks. I was curious to find out if I could; for all I know I could be a raging alcoholic, I’ve just never stopped drinking long enough to find out. 

But this experiment was also a way to find out if there is anything else to do for fun that doesn’t involve drinking - or going to the gym as a few people have suggested (which leads me to ask, on what planet is exercise an acceptable alternative to drinking? On a shit planet, that's what. On Planet Shit. Fuck off with your ludicrous suggestions).

After I was finished, the plan was to return to drinking, but at a much more modest pace. You know, like what French people do.

So, after 28 days of not drinking, here is what I discovered:

1. Drunk people are the worst

How did I not notice this? Oh yeah, that’s right, because I was smashed the whole time. Going into a social environment as the only non-drinker, I could not believe how self-obsessed everyone was. 

Drunk people love to talk about themselves. And in the most nauseating way, too. Here are just some of things that were said to me without even a hint of irony:

  • “I’ve travelled here, and here, and here, and there, and as a result I am an authority on every single culture that exists on Earth at the present moment.”
  • “I teach yoga. I’m pretty amazing. Look at my bendy body, look at it bending more than is necessary. Wow, right?”
  • “I have quite a lot of money, not to sound like an asshole.”
  • “My husband has quite a lot of money. It means I have the luxury of being flexible with my career choices. I’m currently on my ninth career move because I have experienced no repercussions as a result of lack of commitment due to all the money that my husband gives me. He respects my need to be free.”
  • “I train for two hours every day after work. Feel how heavy my bag is. It’s because I have to change outfits three times a day due to all the activities I do. I also have to carry my lunch in there because I’m vegan, so you know, I have to plan my meals.”
  • “I’m quite important, as much as I despise myself for saying it.”

No need to despise yourself, everyone else is already doing that for you.

2. I’m not sure pizza is as amazing as I thought

Think about it guys. It’s basically just bread and cheese with some fancy ketchup. I think the only reason I like it is because I can eat it with my hands when I’m an immobile, onesie-wearing, hungover mess on my sofa and I don’t have to feel bad about it because you’re supposed to eat pizza with your hands. 

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there are actually better things than pizza to eat if you are willing to commit to cutlery.

3. I actually love Sundays now

When I drank every weekend, Sundays were like a horrible no man’s land for me. You can’t go out on the smash because you have work in the morning, you also can’t do anything productive like exercise or cleaning because you’re hungover from Saturday night, so you kind of just sit there in your pjs feeling this horrendous guilt mixed with dread that the working week is about to start all over again and you’ve achieved literally nothing.

When you don’t drink, however, your entire weekend is one giant Sunday. And where before it was my write-off day, now it’s like I’ve discovered a whole new day. An entire day has been added to my week. It’s amazing!

4. I’m thinner

The fact that my drink of choice is thick pints of 200 calorie beer, of course I’m going to lose weight. I consumed up to 1,500 less calories over the course of a weekend.

5. More sex

Not surprisingly, you feel less disgusting when you’re not drinking, plus you are thinner. What does this mean? Naked! Naked all the time!

6. People say mean things when they are drunk

Drunk people aren't just self-obsessed, they're also mean AF.

Someone said this to me:

“You don’t really look your age, you look younger... apart from those wrinkles on your forehead. They kind of give the game away.”

Uh, thanks?

And also this one:

“I mean, I don’t know your financial situation, but I’m assuming you can’t afford to buy property in Ta' Giorni.”

Assuming from what exactly? My wrinkly forehead??

Turns out I can’t really afford to buy property in Ta' Giorni, but whatever. At least I’m not on my ninth career move and entirely financially dependent on someone who is quite obviously sleeping with the company events manager, and has been for some time.

7. I’m no less cynical

Not a huge surprise if I'm honest, but cutting out the drink has not made me any less suspicious of happy people. Most people still annoy me, I still hate inspirational quotes, and selfies, and narcissism, and stupidity, and anyone who thinks it's acceptable to use the term "charcuterie board". If anything, it’s probably made me worse because I can’t soften my tolerance with pints of John Smiths.

So my conclusion after a month off the booze is that I’m not an alcoholic, which is nice (I got drunk to celebrate), but I’m afraid that enduring any social activity without drinking is not possible for me at this stage.

Saying that, I have discovered a whole new way to spend my free time, and I really like it. 

I like going for long walks along the promenade, I like writing on the weekends, I like organising my life, and cooking, and phoning my mum, and being good to myself, and basically turning my weekends into one long tampon advert. So I’ve made a deal with my inner 15-year-old to only go out when I actually want to, which is only about 50% of the time that I actually do. 

All that’s left now is to learn how to say no…

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Written By

Jillian Dingwall

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