Hi, I’m Aby and I’m not an alcoholic. However, by the time this article gets published it will be more than six months since I decided to get sober. I had my last sip of alcohol on New Year’s Eve--a full 15 minutes before the clock turned twelve.
The idea to stop drinking came to me the moment I decided to move back permanently to Manila from Madrid in November of 2020. The clean slate in Manila and the beginning of a new year offered an opportunity to cultivate fresh habits and quit old ones—including the dreadful drinking habit I picked up in Spain.
You see, I had been living in Madrid for the last couple of years. In Spain, I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful selection of fine but affordable Spanish wines, beers, and cocktails that fueled its drinking culture. Drinking is a part of everyday life in Spain and Spanish people are known for being marathon drinkers who are able to drink throughout the day. It’s not unusual for an afternoon lunch to turn into a whole day affair where one would often find themselves drinking before the meal, during the meals, and even after a meal.
Quite frankly, it didn’t take too long for me to get used to this and to the fact that I could drink any time of the day or the week. Back in Manila, drinking was reserved for capping off a grueling week at work with friends on Friday nights or for celebrating special occasions. In Spain, I felt comfortable to have a glass of wine while out for lunch with my boss and coworkers on a Wednesday. I didn’t mind sitting alone in a terrace by self with a glass of cold beer or my usual Rueda Verdejo as I waited for friends or dates or just wanted to kill time. In fact, a bottle or two of my favorite wine was a fixture in my grocery list.
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