If you stopped drinking recently you will already be noticing the benefits: no hangovers, more money, weight loss perhaps (sadly not for me) and better skin. These are well known and very welcome. In addition, look out for other more surprising benefits which will be coming your way any time now.
1. It no longer matters if you stumble over speech or get your words mixed up. Although you now notice it and remember it, you are not embarrassed by it. You are confident friends are laughing with you, not at you.
2. You can be genuinely clumsy without comment. Knocking over a drink or tripping up on the pavement are simply bad luck. Accidents do happen.
3. When you feel unwell and complain of headache, nausea or feeling under the weather, the default response from your nearest and dearest is one of sympathy with a desire to look after you. You feel truly deserving of their attention and efforts. The atmosphere is harmonious and gentle rather than seething with undercurrents of resentment because you brought it on yourself.
4. You have a perpetual supply of wine to recycle as gifts. Yes, people still give me bottles of the stuff; they ‘forget’ that I ‘don’t really drink anymore’ and still do not believe the ‘No, not ever, not even one’ part of the answer. I make this into a game of pass the parcel and present the bottles of wine in the lovely gift bags to another friend at the next opportunity where bringing a gift is required. (Friends please note, Heroes and After Eights are never recycled.)
5. You can now eat dessert guilt free. There are many, many calories in a bottle of wine. Far more than in a generous portion of sticky toffee pudding (slightly warmed) with vanilla ice cream. You have permission to indulge and still eat the chocolate that comes with the coffee.
6. Everyone now wants to buy you drinks. Partly in the mistaken belief that soft drinks are cheaper (when in fact most profit is made from non-alcoholic beverages in bars), but mostly because they want two things in return. Firstly, they are hoping for a lift home (fine if you can bear beer breath in your car) and secondly, they need to ingratiate themselves to you to buy your silence. The next day they want you to tell them how bad they were, what exactly happened, whether they made fools of themselves, and will end with a plea that your lips are sealed and it will never be mentioned again. (It's an easy promise to make because everyone else saw the extreme behaviour anyway.) Plus, the new you does not feel the need to gossip about the relative state of drunkenness of others. It is boring and it is sooo last year.