I 'd be writing and living in Bangkok, 2016. That's after having being in Johannesburg for 2 years, getting married, graduating from the University of Cumbria (BA Hons) and passing my CELTA, qualifying me to teach English Language.
So, driving on, I've set another goal, inspired by the One Year No Beer campaign.
I'm taking the 90 day challenge; 90 days without alcohol. This has been gathering steam for years now and I've really psyched myself up for it.
Since moving here, I've so many friends who don't drink, they'll think it remarkable that I'll find it a challenge! I'm not a heavy drinker, never during the day (apart from St Patrick's), but nearly always a few glasses in the evening. A habit formed over years, something I do without thinking and very much part of my culture.
I've had alcohol since I was a child, it's never been something that was hidden in our house, but having said that, neither of my parents were alcoholics or heavy drinkers. Being half Irish, drink was always going to be difficult to avoid as it's somewhat a national pass-time. Find me a town in the world without an Irish Bar, I'll find you a town in Thailand without a Wat. My kids either don't drink or very rarely do, which is a credit to them.
When I joined the army, you couldn't have possibly been a non-drinker. You would have been grouped with the gays and blacks, then socially exterminated! Those were my heaviest drinking years, when getting drunk was something so normal, you couldn't recognise people unless they appeared blurred. There were two main categories...
The violent drinkers: a good friend of mine Dave, referred to it as the 'red mist', which would come down after a certain level of consumption. They couldn't help but pick a fight, and next day, couldn't understand why they had been beaten up, again!
The passive drinkers: (Me) First I would start to slur my words, my eyes would go into 'independent control' mode, and I would need to sit down. I couldn't drink over a certain amount as I would be sick, a great safety valve (not always). I would then just fall asleep, regardless of where I was.
Along with children came responsibilities, too many sometimes! Drink became an evening thing, rarely during the day, it was a 'before bedtime' habit that lasted through my entire life, until now! Yes I've had some of the best times of my life with a Guinness in my hand, and I'm not sure if I would change that if I could. Just as smokers congregate around smokers, drinkers are much the same. If you lose your habit, you lose many of your friends, not because they disown you, because you are not doing the same thing any more. Like when you have babies, most of your friends become other parents, because your child-free friends are moving in different circles.
At the age of 62 my Father became allergic to alcohol, so at 60 I thought I might be lucky too. He wrote to me, and talked about how different life had become without drink and how his perception of everything changed as the 'fog lifted'. You can read that letter on my 'family blog'; which brings me to the subject of blogs.
I was going to start one about my 90 day challenge, but decided not to, because how many blogs can you keep up with? It'd be like having 8 diaries and wanting to start a 9th. THIS is my main blog. I know a lot of it is about prostate cancer, but I never wanted that to be the main theme, it was always about life during, and hopefully after. I have several blogs relating to my degree in Wildlife & Media which I never update now, even one on the 6 Nations rugby which I tried one year and gave up on. I have a 'family blog' which is by subscription to family only and other blogs which are parked until the end of this year.
So THIS is my one stop blog.
What after 90 days? I simply don't know. My idea is not to become a 'non drinker', it's to not let alcohol rule my every evening and every morning (that feeling). I asked my friend George why he gave up, and he said, "Because I got fed up with feeling that way every morning". That comment was a key moment for me, but he said it 4 years ago.
I rarely eat meat, but I'm not a vegetarian. I don't want a label, but I don't want to have alcohol as a regular partner, thinking I'm missing something if I don't comply. After only 3 days, I feel huge benefits, more alert in the morning (Beverley would disagree), less tired during the day, eating less and spending less.
If you think this might be for you, read on...
Join (FREE) and look at www.oneyearnobeer.com , it could change your life for the better. You don't have to give up alcohol for a year or become a non-drinker. You can take the 30, 60 or 90 day challenge, just to show yourself how different you could feel without 'the beer'. I chose 90 because many have said you don't feel the full benefit until 4-6 weeks.
My only fear is that because it's such a drastic change to my body chemistry after all these years, that if something happens, like a recurrence of my cancer, or another disease creeps in, the tendency will be to blame my lack of alcohol. I've also read that it can increase my chances of having a stroke, but hey, so can some of the things I see every day in Bangkok.
Read this, from Ruari Fairbairns, co founder of 'One Year No Beer' who was born on The Isle of Mull in Scotland....
These are just some of the hacks that we have an abundance of in our new challenge One Year No Beer. Whether giving up for a month, 3 months or a year - we have a thriving community to support you and tons of tools to make it easy.