‘What’s your poison?’ could so easily be translated into ‘Which alcoholic beverage do you drink in order to numb your senses and prevent you from doing anything productive?’ At least, it could have been with regards to me and the way I used to knock the stuff back. For the record my poison was mainly white wine, but I also enjoyed a quality red, Guinness on a cold day after a winter’s day walk in the countryside, a pint of real ale in a cosy pub with a log fire, and the odd liqueur post-dinner in a restaurant.
Once, in Budapest, I happened on a beautiful restaurant called Arany Kaviar which was situated down some dark, windy little street. They served Champagne in flutes with no bases, the type that demand the utmost attention in order to avoid you placing the glass somewhere other than the special holder, only to watch it keel over and smash to bits on the floor. Silly, really. After the delicious meal, my companion and I were tempted to road-test a few of their speciality vodkas; black pepper, orange and cranberry being just a few of the ones on offer. That night, between the two of us, we had a couple of pre-meal beers, a bottle of Champagne, two bottles of red wine and six or seven flavoured vodkas. Then we returned to our hotel and had a few whiskey sours – probably in the region of 50 units each in one night.
Anyway, the point of this little blog is to mark the beginning of Soberistas’ third Week of Wellbeing, our new theme being Pastimes. If all one does with one’s spare time is engineer reasons to get hammered, and then drinks to relieve the boredom when there are no reasons to get hammered, it’s pretty important that alternative pastimes are adopted upon switching to an alcohol-free lifestyle.
I now spend my time writing. At least some of it – the rest of my current life is spent with my family, working through the box set of Breaking Bad (amazing), training for the Sheffield half-marathon which takes place on April 6th, Soberistas, meeting friends for a meal or a coffee, visiting the cinema to watch cheesy chick flicks with my eldest daughter, going on chaotic dog walks with my sister which involve three dogs (each with his/her own particular neurosis), a baby who would rather be playing than strapped into her pram, and aborted attempts to drink a relaxing latte due to the above-mentioned dogs and baby making this impossible – still, we have a laugh about it. I also enjoy reading, learning and meditating, cooking, swimming and gardening.
So now if anyone asks me ‘What’s your poison?’, I’ll tell them I don’t drink alcohol any more because it fogged my mind and stopped me doing everything I love. If they have time, I’ll tell them what I do instead.