Stone Cold

08 Nov 2008

I wake reluctantly, with a throbbing headache and a bad taste in my mouth. The light hurts.

Good: we've established that it's not because of alcohol. I just don't like mornings.

The bad news is that, with that variable removed by Marrakech's absence of bars, there's no prospect of my mornings getting any better when I give up drinking.

I'm going to do it anyway. Unlike my caffeine addiction, this one is entirely psychological, and once the easy access is removed and the habit's broken, I find that I don't even want a beer. A dry week's hard no harder than a dry day.

Make no mistake: I'm not going all fundamentalist. Ethanol's a good tool to keep in the toolbox. It's just that a society that uses it only in strict moderation appears so much healthier. The streets here aren't any crazier at night than they are during the day. People sit around in cafes drinking mint tea and talking to each other. I feel better, too.

And I'm drinking less coffee.

The change is surprisingly difficult even for someone who likes fast changes. Alcohol is a social drink and refusing it is, in our culture, actually insulting. I can suddenly see a lot of parallels with much more damaging drugs, and I suddenly understand why the first step to bailing out is usually to build or join a community of people doing the same.

Cutting back will be much harder than cutting out. For now, though, I'll have to have my turkey warm.