The year is barely a couple of weeks old and already I’ve hit (or am about to hit) a couple of milestones that I want to celebrate here. The most important one is a day or two away and will have its own post later on, but this one is something worth talking about too.
Way back at the end of 2002 I opened a cheap bottle of beer and toasted the new year. It was my first New Years Eve with Kim and, what I didn’t know at the time was that it was also my last drink. That cheap bottle (I remember settling for something in a cheap off license and Kim says that was Rolling Rock) that I saw the New Year in with was the last drink I would have for ten years. Now, this wasn’t a conscious choice. I didn’t sit down one day and decide to quit drinking, nor was there a specific reason to stop. I merely found that I didn’t fancy drinking in those times when one would normally have a drink and, on the odd occasion that I did fancy a drink, I was either away from anywhere that sold alcohol or hadn’t the cash. And so it went on for well over nine years, becoming almost a point of pride that I hadn’t had a drink in so long.
The time came a few months back that I found myself checking out the bottles of whiskey on shelves whenever I was at a supermarket. It started when I found that supermarkets were selling own brand brandy in a squeezy plastic bottle and had to check that out if only to see the horror of such a product. While there I saw a bottle of Jamesons Special Reserve, my personal tipple of choice, and started drooling. I’d always told myself that, should I fancy a drink again I’d just have one, but I had come so long without drinking that it seemed more of an occasion was needed. New Year, I realised, was the tenth anniversary of my last drink and would be the perfect time to have another, partly in ironic celebration of going so long without one.
I bought some nicely weighted glasses and a bottle of regular Jamesons (having gone so long without a drink I wasn’t sure if I’d still have the taste for it) and awaited the new year. As the clock counted down I pulled out one of the tumblers and felt its heaviness in my hand. For a moment I was nervous. I didn’t know who I would be with a drink inside me now. For a second a vision of me waking up to a destroyed house and beaten up fiancée flashed through my mind, long enough to worry me before making me laugh at my trepidation. I poured my drink as the new year rang in and raised my glass.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a good whiskey slowly trickling down your throat. Where alcopops were becoming all the rage for underage drinkers when I was a child, I grew up as a spirit drinker. You go slower with spirits and the body starts to shut down slowly and comfortably rather than let you get too drunk without realising it. At least, that’s the way it has always been for me. I nursed that glass all night, slowly sipping my whiskey and enjoying the gentle warmth spreading through me (ooo, sounds a bit naughty).
All in all, it was a good night and I look forward to having the odd beer here and spirit there when the occasion calls for it.