Gill South: Thank heavens for August

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Depriving herself of alcohol for the month of July didn't quite have the virtuous results Gill South expected.

Wine is back on the menu now that Dry July is over for Gill South. Photo / Thinkstock
Wine is back on the menu now that Dry July is over for Gill South. Photo / Thinkstock

Hoorah, two more sleeps and my Dry July is over. August 1 is going to be like Christmas. July is such a looooooong month, isn't it? I mean 31 whole days, what was I thinking?

I can honestly say I've never looked forward to August with such enthusiasm - it may be the depths of winter but I don't care, I love it with all my being.

Most people, I realise do this knock off booze thing in February because it's a nice short month and January has been a bit excessive. But my Februarys are so precious, I have my wedding anniversary, my birthday and the kids go back to school. So many causes for celebration.

And when I say Dry July, it's my Dry July- it's been a bit informal. I've not gotten round to fundraising or registering online for it, I thought I'd just send a cheque to the highly deserving Auckland Hospital oncology ward.

As one who is not a big drinker - I drink pretty close to the conservative recommendation of four glasses a week for a woman, although the NZ Alcohol Advisory Council says I'm allowed 14 units a week.

For me, my alcohol drinking really isn't about quantity, it's about quality. And deprivation of my beloved Hawkes Bay buttery, oaky chardonnay lowers my quality of life.

For instance, Friday nights. We typically come home from indoor cricket around six and are ragingly hungry. We have home-made pizza and while the kids eat theirs in front of the telly, I sit in the kitchen with my thin-based version, lots of salad and read the new Listener. And, at my elbow, sits a nice glass of wine. Bliss. But for the past five weeks, well it feels like five, it's been a cup of tea or a lime and soda. And that just isn't right.

I think we all have certain treats during the week that keep us going and it's very disconcerting when these treats are suddenly forbidden. And because you can't have them, the more you want them. Another good reason not to diet.

As for Saturday nights, we tend to have a really nice dinner in or out. My approach with wine has always been, if a great meal has been prepared with fantastic ingredients it deserves a glass of wine to go with it, no matter what the day. It's a matter of respect.

As to the health effects of this jolly Dry July, I had hoped there would be something, but no. I've been accused of being grumpy. It has not helped my sore throat which has carried on regardless. My skin has been a bit more spotty, something I had put down to drinking wine, prior to this. And I certainly haven't had the weight drop off me as always happens with men when they stop drinking. This is partly because I don't drink enough for it to matter, and my intake of chocolate has stepped up to compensate. By the way I've discovered a new favourite - Lindt dark chocolate with blueberry and almonds. Fantastic and antioxidants galore!

A friend is up from Queenstown for the Food Show and she wants to go to Depot for dinner. I accept with indecent haste. August 3, no problem. My life is back! And if you happened to have seen a woman with her face pressed against the Glengarry's doors in Westmere, on August 1 at 9am, that was me. Don't worry, I didn't have it for breakfast or anything. I'm not that sad.

Next week:

I am going to spend an afternoon at a Creativity for Wellbeing workshop with therapist Janet McLeod, and the theme is gratitude.

- NZ Herald

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