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Di’s Diary: Tell Stoptober to stop!

So what could be worse than Stoptober? You got it, Stoptober while in self-isolation for 14 days. Yes, I’ve come into contact with the dreaded ‘rona virus and I can’t even drown my sorrows in Pinot Grigio.

Well, I could, but being a drama queen, if I’m going to suffer, I may as well really suffer. I fully intend to lie down in a darkened room for two weeks stroking my imaginary cat whilst posting on social media, naturally.

In actual fact, Stoptober refers to the NHS stop smoking campaign, but it’s been hijacked as the word to describe general abstention (misery) during October.

If I’m being really honest, prior to my incarceration, Stoptober did have a little pause, or two. There was one glass of Sauvignon which I downed out of sheer devilment. But then I had a one-night binge because no-one puts Cookie in the teetotal corner.

So, why am I doing Stoptober? It’s not so much that I fear that I have a drink problem as I once gave up for seven months. If I don’t buy alcohol, I don’t hanker after it.

It’s more the effect it has on me when I do drink a substantial amount – OK, a week’s worth of units in one night. I just can’t stop at one unless someone breaks both my wrists and then I’d probably look for a straw.

Here’s an example of the chaos it creates. I once went on a journalist’s reunion which was all free booze and no food. I did manage to get home, but couldn’t find my keys in my bag although they’re attached to a giant fluffy pom-pom.

I was suddenly gripped by the urge to pee, so being in my own garden I dropped my pants. But somehow, I managed to topple into the cellar well and was trapped by my hips with my bare arse stuck in the air.

The famous Private Eye cartoonist Tony Husband paid tribute to this momentous occasion.

Diane with her ‘Confessions’ cartoon drawn by the great cartoonist Tony Husband

Another time, having fallen asleep, I ended up at midnight at a train station far from my destination. I was relieved that they still spoke English as I thought I was in Cardiff.

On another journalist reunion in Sheffield which started at lunchtime, I didn’t make the evening meal because I was sending up zzzs in a room that hadn’t even been allocated to me. It’s a mystery to this day how I even gained entry. I didn’t wait to find out as I was on the train back home by 8.30pm.

I don’t have the space to recount all the times that a minor concern has been amplified and the person who has caused that concern – mainly dubious men from dating sites – have felt the full effect of my literary wrath.

In Lockdown, I was beginning to think that the only reason I was drinking was to give me an excuse to call out those dirty, lying, no-good, cheating, breadcrumbing, ghosting, cuffing MOFOs…….

…..and down!

So, Stoptober has been a pleasant sojourn. I’ve been kind, considerate, empathetic, calm and sweet-tempered. Butterflies have followed me around and I’ve been a joy to live with. And that’s something considering I live alone.

But for those who know me, don’t expect it to last. November 1st is going to be one helluva party.

Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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