New Beginnings

New Beginnings – Let’s start with mine.

This is my third blog.  First one ( ended when I won that particular battle.  Second blog (  was about adapting to French life ater 10 years in Capetown – blog ended abruptly when I gave up on French life and returned to my beloved Cape Town.

This time I am blogging about alcohol – or rather whether I can live without it.  After 40+ years of drinking it could just be time for a change – “Sober is the new Black” they say.

l love to drink – I drink when I am happy (which is most of the time), I drink when I am sad – and I certainly drink when dealing with a crisis.  I don’t drink to be “social” – I drink to get results – to get “the buzz”…

Lying awake one night feeling distinctly queasy after (another) hard week of partying I began to wonder if my liver had finally had enough.  My usual reaction would be to resolve to “cut down” and aim for that elusive “14 units a week”.  Invariably 14 units would be notched up within a few days taking me way over so-called “safe” limit by the end of the week.

So I decided to be radical and GIVE UP DRINKING!  I always give up for a week during annual visit to Hydro but have never, ever considered giving up completely…far too scary.

The morning after sleepless and queasy night I announced resolution to Husband who was both speechless and sceptical.  When he recovered he reminded me we were going to a party that evening.

We went to the party – interestingly our hosts were ex-drinkers.  Astonishment all round as I turned down champagne and asked for a soft drink.

“But when did you give up drinking?”

“Er… today”    was met with laughter all round

“Then you must start tomorrow!”

Surprisingly managed to stand firm and sipped my Appetizer, cringing at the sweetness of it.  Our host came to inspect the newly reformed party girl.  We chatted and he confessed that when it came to alcohol he was an “all or nothing kind of guy” and that was why he hadn’t had a drink for 14 years.  That made sense to me – maybe that’s why “cutting down” never seems to work out.  His wife explained that she put a line of lipstick on her mirror to denote every alcohol free day – could sense Husband stressing as this sounded far too messy.

Yoga teacher was next to arrive and hear the big news – eyes wide with wonder as she suggested that maybe I could try “hemp oil” as that could make me feel quite mellow.

The party progressed as parties do – conversation seemed to get louder and louder, anecdotes seemed to go on just a little too long but apart from that it was fun.  After 2 hours I felt the need to escape – whereas normally by that stage I would have been “flying high” and would have been the last to leave.

Woke up next morning with a clear head but the questions kept coming…

“How do you survive a party without a drink?”

“What do you drink when you are not drinking?”

“Will I lose all my friends?”

“Is it too late to save my liver?”

Went on line to discover a plethora of books, blogs and articles on the subject.  Had to buy “The Secret to Being Fashionably Sober and Fabulous” for the title alone.  Found an interesting article in Tatler by a journalist who had been to Allen Carr’s “alcohol seminar” in London.  Noticed that next seminar takes place on my birthday – venue is round the corner from close London friend – is this a sign?  Shall I go?

Looked at AA but far to many mentions of a “higher power” for a cynical athiest like me – although might just drop in to a meeting “for the blog”

Usually have wine with lunch and dinner but not this week.  Fortunately Husband not bothered about alcohol so no pressure there.

Second social event of the week was a cultural event at a museum.  Went with a friend and her 10 year old daughter.  Daughter’s phone was confiscated so that she would listen attentively to “amusing anecdotes” by the speaker who had been booked to entertain us.

In fact “amusing anecdotes” were so X-rated phone was swiftly returned to Daughter in the hope that it would distract her from the hair-raising tales coming from the stage.  In spite of nerve-racking situation managed to avoid dodgy wine on offer and confine myself to yet more disgusting fruit juice.

Ended this momentous week with a lovely massage – a temptation free activity as even I have not worked out how to drink wine during a massage.

So here I am on day 8 of the new regime – will I make it through to week 2? – watch this space – and send me your comments!

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21 thoughts on “New Beginnings

  1. Zaida

    I have the greatest faith in you beating the booze, fabulously!!! Unless you have a change of heart, will keep some bubbly on ice, for if you should 😜 Allen Carr sounds like a plan, would you really need him though, you seem to have made up your mind about this… Love that you’re blogging again 😘

    1. janetgourand

      Thanks for your support Zaida – and for being the first one to comment on my brand new blog 😘😘

  2. vickyunwin

    Bravo, I’m afraid I can’t quite make that leap yet – giving up cheese, red meat and alcohol during the week, and limiting it to ‘going out’ at weekends is my limit! And that’s been a year…so I am VERY impressed.

  3. Sonya

    Just read your blog on Soberistas!! Brilliant I love it!! Good luck with your new AF life!! I’ve been AF since last August and I’m loving it!! Best thing I’ve ever done!! There’s more to life than drink!! I’ve saved your blog in my favourites, look forward to following your new adventure. 👍🏻

    1. janetgourand

      thanks for following my blog Sonya – and well done for almost a year of sobriety!

  4. Claire Densham

    Am also leaving the wine this week…but might go back to it next week! Go for it, I promise to still be your friend! Claire

    1. janetgourand

      Hi Claire – thank goodness I still have one friend left – lets meet up before I leave at end of June xx

  5. Maguelone

    Had to give up alcool for 3 years (sugar free very strict diet), the first 3 weeks are the worse. Then, you just don’t think about it. If you don’t want to have to justify yourself, the “feminine health issues” always works and stops all questions at once 😉

    I would recommend the help of a naturopath, though, as your body is going to react very strongly. And your mind too : alcool is actually an anti-depressant (when you’re on it. When you’re not anymore, it’s quite hard !). Alcool is one of these drugs that has strong physical impact ; MD always recommend to get help when you get off it.
    Don’t give up, you’re going to feel very proud of yourself after a few weeks 🙂

    1. janetgourand

      thanks for the “feminine health issues” hint Mag – will try that one if anyone gets too nosy – alcohol is the only drug you have to justify NOT taking 😉

  6. Rich & Joo

    Good luck in your new sobriety Janet. Looking forward to following your new blog.
    See you for a restrained and sober weekend in July then!

    1. janetgourand

      er yes – am still learning that “restrained and sober” thing so week-end will be good practice 😉

  7. Kat

    Bravo, Sweetie 👍Am full of admiration 🙂 🙂 🙂 And am looking forward to following this new blog ; your blogs are always such fun. Have obviously cancelled our scheduled Bordeaux vineyard wine-tasting tour in July. Instead of getting plastered in the vineyards, we could be more ladylike and “take the waters” in Vichy 😜 Whaddya think?

    1. janetgourand

      yes sweetie let’s do that – no idea how one “takes the waters” but will try anything once – a bientot xxx

  8. Clare

    Hi Janet! I read your article on Soberistas too and came straight to your Blog. I have ready a couple of books and tried different things but the only thing that has worked for me is Jason Vale’s Book ‘Kick the drink easily’. I found it fantastic and totally true (for me), You don’t want to be a slave to alcohol for the rest of your life or feel that you are depriving yourself. He is right, it is a very addictive drug and we cannot just have ‘the one’. On my first AF evening I went for supper with friends and enjoyed lime and soda immensely (not kidding either), I had no desire to drink, in fact the thought made me feel sick. I wonder if you have read it? It just made total sense to me and I couldn’t put it down….. Good luck, keep going as life is SO much better without it and I am a much better person to be around. Clare x

    1. janetgourand

      Hi Clare. Thanks for following me on my journey. Yes I read Jason Vale (and Alan Carr) and found them both really helpful. Am now 15 days AF and will be blogging later today. Janet x

  9. Wendy

    Just read your story on Soberistas and looking forward to reading your blog. Your writing is witty and honest. Good luck in your new quest,it’s a tough to journey but the first few steps are the hardest. Xx

    1. janetgourand

      Hi Wendy
      Thanks for following my blog – 15 days AF today 😃 – will be updating blog later today. Janet x

  10. curtlain

    Well done! I quit on May 25th and I feel so much better. Had cut down a lot in the last few months, but felt going sober would be an interesting challenge. I went to a dinner party/family reunion yesterday and managed surprisingly easily – in fact the more I watched everyone becoming gradually more drunk, the happier I felt that I was sober! Keep going 🙂

    1. janetgourand

      Thanks for the encouragement Angie – am now 15 days AF – will update blog today 😃
      Janet x

  11. Colleen

    Don’t ask me how or why I stumbled upon your blog. Maybe because I’ve been wanting to “cut down” on my drinking…….when in reality I NEED TO QUIT ALL TOGETHER. Today is day 1. I’m going to do this. For my health. I am 53, drink every night, vodka is/was my choice of drink. I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high weight and feel like shit all the time. I’m hoping going AF will help me with my health issues.

    1. janetgourand

      Hi Colleen. I am beginning to think it’s easier to go AF than to endlessly try (and fail) to “cut down”. I am at day 25 now and feeling fine. Well done for making the decision. If you haven’t discovered it yet then check out for support. Good luck and keep me posted on your journey. Am sure you will see huge and positive changes in your health. Best wishes. Janet x

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