Dry January was never really too daunting, given three-quarters of October, November and December all passed in a state of complete sobriety. My dirty little secret - drinking coca cola at parties and telling white lies by hinting I had already had enough that night - is well and truly and out. I'm as sober as a judge, people.
I make no secret of the fact that I don't like addiction counsellors. The methods they work from are totally outdated. They are obsessed with dragging up the past instead of focusing on the present... most of all I dislike them because an addiction counsellor is a role undertaken by people who leave Rehab and don't know what to do with their lives.
One phrase that gets massively overused is "drinking at something". When life throws you a crap day or a bad situation and we use it as an excuse to drink. Drinking "at" that person, or scenario. Supposedly it's overcome by dealing with our feelings and reactions in a different way. Learning new coping skills.
I don't believe in protecting people from the opinions of others. In fact I find it faintly ridiculous that people devote so much time to worrying on the behalf of other people. Acting like addicts are a bunch of unruly 5 years olds, likely to go off on the tear after reading a well-versed piece of prose on drinking. It's not dangerous to display these views. It's eye-opening.
A wedding can be many things depending on whereabouts you are on the sliding scale of alcohol abuse-to-alcoholism. If you're abusing it to the point people haven't really picked up on yet, then it's a great excuse to drink in a dysfunctional way with people who don't have alcohol problems... If you're at the stage where you suspect you have a problem and everyone around you shares that suspicion, then its stressful.
It's not Rihanna's job to live up to our ideal of the perfect role model for young women. She expresses herself for a living. She's very good at it. Right now she's young and spends a lot of time going out. She's really no different from other girls her age in that respect. She just does it on a bigger scale - and we all get to come along for the ride.
Whether for health reasons, because you have a problem with alcohol, because you don't want the excess calories on your bikini body, or because you just don't like being drunk, an alcohol-free life is a commitment and a lifestyle for some of us. But the summer can be a difficult time for teetotallers.
I don't like it when I hear people talking about "giving up" drinking. I don't like it because it doesn't really work. It's not about sacrifice. The very term "giving up" alcohol I take issue with. Nobody "gives up" drinking, the same way nobody gives up at a traffic light when it turns red. You just stop.
I don't frighten easily. I lived in a constant state of fear for so many years that it takes a lot to reignite it and take me to that dark place now. But when I see people using end-stage alcoholics to measure their own drinking against? It frightens me. When I see the media latch onto one person, the exception to the rule that has been able to subject their body to horrendous amounts of alcohol abuse and still just about function? It frightens me. Alcoholism is not a p*ssing contest. There is no glory to be had in being further up the sliding scale than these individuals.
Last night was my seventh New Year's Eve. The seventh I woke up recalling what I did the night before, and the day before that and yes even the weeks leading up to it. The seventh New Year's Day I woke up not wanting to die, just so that it would finally be over. The seventh New Years Day I felt safe and reassured in the knowledge that I won't be back in a bar again in a few hours time. The shaking under control. The panic numbed and medicated into submission by the glass in front of me, and the one after that. And the one after that.