Today in the kitchen, Nina asked if we have any white wine to cook with – obviously we don’t as this is a Buddhist centre and not a drop of alcohol passes anybody’s lips.
But that’s when it hit me that I’ve gone from raging social alcoholic to teetotaller overnight.
Vow of Temperance
Considering I hate goodbyes, I had a lot of them.
I was saying goodbye to everyone and anyone not knowing if I’d be returning to the motherland for a long time (I’m actually heading home in three weeks, so that’s a bit embarrassing). These farewells typically involved overindulging in glorious food and that delicious ruby red nectar we all know as red wine.
I was out pretty much every night of the week and when I wasn’t out I was having dinners at home with the family; also washed down with some form of luxurious liquid.
So the second my plane left the runway I made a promise to myself that I was going to live as much of a Buddhist existence as possible for the next six weeks, and that would involve swapping my social dipsomania for a detox.
The Tawny Temptress of Menorca
Being in a wholesome environment and leading a life that involves minimal social activities makes it pretty easy to abandon alcohol and I can honestly say that it has barely crossed my mind. The only times I’ve really thought about it was when I was reading up on the island’s produce.
The wine industry in Menorca is really small with only a handful of producers and a couple of young vineyards which need another year or two before they can even start harvesting. The wines here are supposedly quite unique in taste owing to the marine salt winds and the wild herbs that grow here, making them spicier than that of their neighbours in Spain and Mallorca.
Another thing Menorca is famous for is the pomada; a basic blend of bitter lemon and gin which was something they inherited from the British, who once occupied the island. Their gin is again said to be a particular taste as it’s distilled with the island’s wild herbs and it’s the beverage of choice at all of the island’s festivals alongside the cañas, which is essentially just a half lager.
Despite loving the sound of herb-filled, spicy wines that almost burn your pallet, I haven’t been in the slightest bit tempted.
Nina and a few other twenty-odd year olds I’ve met in recent months have got me realising just how clued up and conscious Millenials and Post-Millenials really are.
I guess it’s the result of witnessing lessons learned from generations before, the galaxy of information available on the internet, the effects of 80’s activism finally leaking into the business world, the wave of meditation, yoga, health foods, vegetarianism, veganism and everything else that’s out there promoting a wholesome life.
According to the Office of National Statistics (yes I downloaded their report), one in five adults don’t drink alcohol at all – actually it’s one in three in London – and the number of people between 16 and 25 choosing not to drink has gone up by 40% in the last ten years.
This is so radically different to what I saw when I was growing up when teens would take a two litre bottle of White Lightning to the park to hang out with their friends before coming home and vomiting all over their brand new Bon Bleu tracksuit. (I cringed typing that, but it’s true).
Their lives might be being played out on all of our Orwellian devices, and of course there are pros and cons to growing up in the now, but at least they’re entering into adulthood with their livers in working order.
I’ve felt huge benefits from not drinking, most of all I feel completely in control. I’m in control of mind, my body and my life in general, there are no hindrances to what I want to achieve every day and I am the pure version of myself which is the me I like the most.
I’m so much more in tune with myself. I know my thoughts aren’t being altered by what is technically a depressant and if I wake up with a mild headache in the morning I can work out whether it’s dehydration, lack of sleep or something else.
Obviously there’s also zero hangovers, which seem to go from 0 to 100 on the I-think-I-might-be-dying scale when you pass the age of thirty.
Hangovers must have been invented by the devil. They make you the worst possible version of yourself; you’re clingy as hell, sometimes a little bit cranky and you have the appetite of a thousand wild bores. When you’re single and have nobody to look after you, hangovers are definitely up there with terrifying thunderstorms.
I’m not really sure yet on how I feel about making this a permanent feature in my life, or even maybe semi-permanent.
The idea of never going to another wine tasting in the hills of Tuscany makes me sad and Christmas without my port sippers is almost a crime. Let’s see how easy it is to twist my arm when I’m back on home soil.
Oh come on let’s be real, here’s me walking out of the airport.