Wednesday 15 April 2015

Why Ex-Drinkers Rock! Part 2

I believe that drinkers, and ex-drinkers, have not just a thirst for alcohol, but a thirst for life. We are 'all or nothing' people - everything we do, we do with enthusiasm and gusto (see Why Ex-Drinkers Rock!).

Sadly, we eventually come to realise that, having done the 'all' bit of drinking, it's now time to do the 'nothing'.

In one of my general browses I came across this quote from Abraham Lincoln who seemed to agree with me.

In his famous 'Temperance Address' in 1842 he said "I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant, and warm-blooded to fall into this vice. The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity. What one of us but can call to mind some dear relative, more promising in youth than all his fellows, who has fallen a sacrifice to his rapacity? He ever seems to have gone forth, like the Egyptian angel of death, commissioned to slay if not the first, the fairest born of every family."

So, according to Lincoln, we - dear friends - are the most 'brilliant, warm blooded and fairest born.' Stick that in your small sized wine glass and sip on it slowly, all you holier-than-thou moderate drinkers!

Since I was, by now, on a roll with world leaders, I thought I'd look up my all time favourite: Sir Winston Churchill.

Sir Winnie was the originator of the best put down of all time. When a grand dame at a party said to him imperiously: "You sir are drunk!" he replied "Bessie, you are ugly. But tomorrow I will be sober, and you will still be ugly." Anyone who can come up with that line after a few jars deserves our never ending admiration.

It is unlikely, however, that - despite his response to Bessie - Sir Winston was ever sober for long (if at all) in the mornings.

Winston, allegedly, drank 42,000 bottles of Pol Roger champagne in his lifetime. He started his day with a (weak) whisky and soda at 9am, and drank a couple more before lunch time. He'd drink a (small) bottle of champagne at lunch, followed by cognac. He'd then (no surprise!) have an hour long siesta.

The afternoon would see a few more whisky and sodas, then a sherry before dinner, another bottle of champagne during dinner, and brandy before bed. Check out this great video 'The day I tired to match Churchill drink for drink' by the wonderfully named Harry Wallop.

Needless to say, Sir Winne wasn't sticking to the recommended guidelines. Nor was he any good at moderation. However, by the time he was my age he had fought in the Boer war, escaped from prison camp, written 11 books and served as Home Secretary. Think what he could have done if he'd been sober!

We spend an awful lot of time berating ourselves and feeling rather ashamed of our grandiose appetites, so it's about time that we gave ourselves, and each other, a little love. Not only are we 'brilliant and warm blooded', but we have enough self knowledge and strength of character to stop the 'Egyptian angel of death' (that's the wine witch to you and me), before she sucks any more of our 'blood of genius and generosity.'

So, yet again lovely readers, I urge to remember that EX DRINKERS ROCK!

The sun is shining here in London. The Kids are back at school. And I have done 45 days sober.

Love SM x


  1. I discovered your blog yesterday and I can't stop reading. I haven't committed to sobriety yet. I started reading Jason Vale's book yesterday (it's brilliant, isn't it?). I love this post, in particular. I'm a writer and didn't think I could write well without a drink. Sadly, the past few weeks I've hardly been able to write at all and I'm getting bad vertigo attacks in bed. This has scared me into thinking something must be done. I can easily down 2 bottles of wine a night... sometimes nearly 3 at weekends. I've had terrible episodes and experiences due to drink in the past. You'd think I'd know better at the ripe old age of 53. I'm scared about my health (both mental and physical). I've been very depressed since my son went to Uni in 2013. I've had a lot of loss in my life (my dad died at 51 when I was 24 and my mum died at the age of 67. Both of lung cancer, but both drank a lot, too. They were real party people. My first husband and love of my life died at 34 of an undiagnosed brain abscess). It hasn't been unremitting misery. I've had years of relative stability and happiness when alcohol wasn't an issue. The menopause did me no favours, however. Weight issues and diets haven't helped, because I've always denied myself proper food and replaced it with wine. Now I can't lose weight no matter how much I try. 5:2 made my 'all or nothing' behaviour spiral even more out of control, although I felt great the morning after the two Fasts. 5:2 guaranteed two nights off the wine, but then I probably drank twice as much on the non-Fast days. I know I need to stop. Christmas is haunting me, however, but something tells me that now is the time. Thank you for your honesty and your wonderful blog. I recognise so much of myself in you.

    1. You do sound just like me Jo! One thing many people remark on his how quitting drinking reboots your creativity. I'll bet you find it much, much easier to write rather than more difficult. And it'll (eventually) sort out your weight issues too. I also tried every diet under the sun, but lost 18 pounds without any effort after I quit. I know the idea of Christmas sober is scary, but isn't the idea of a drunken Xmas even more so?

      Good luck! Stay in touch, and mail me any time on xxx

    2. Thank you so much for your reply and the email address! Today is going to be my first day! It will be a real test, as I'm going to see my husband's band playing a pub gig. I am taking my Kindle, so lots to read during the boring setting up and packing down bits!

  2. I absolutely loved this post, thank you! I'm now 2 and half month sober, been on that relapse bandwagon for a couple of years now. This time it feels diffrent though. How on earth did Churchill do it? Oh now I remember... he had a wife:)