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You can’t always get what you want

chocolateI’ve never really been huge on Lent. When I was a kid, it was all about chocolate and nail biting. Could I give either of them up? (invariably, the answer was yes, begrudgingly). As I grew older, it was a sort of half-arsed attempt at trying to look pious while secretly scoffing/drinking/doing whatever it was I’d pretended to give up.

For the last few years, Lent has rather passed me by. And it was nearly the same this year. It was only through a morning twitter perusal (when I was supposed to be paying attention in a staff meeting, of course) that I realised it was Shrove Tuesday. Having decided that pancakes (despite being definitely not on the diet recipe list) were on the menu for supper tonight, I started wondering about Lent again.

I canvassed for ideas.

“Give up something you don’t really like”






“Giving up”



None of these really struck me as going along with the spirit of things. After all, if you’re going to be a traditionalist about it, Lent is about hardship. It’s about fasting, it’s about abstinence, it’s about penitence. Lent is about giving up something you like, something you love, something you don’t think you can survive without.

Since I’m already on a diet and supposed to be going without most things I love, fasting was out. I decided to look elsewhere.

Penitence? I’m such a good girl, there’s rarely anything for me to penitent about. *cough*

So where does that leave us? Abstinence. Most people think abstinence means refraining from all things sexual. And it does, but it also means (and thank you my trusty dictionary) the  “restraint of one’s appetites or desires”. Now, since I’m sure as hell not getting any (and not likely to any time soon, but that’s another story) I thought it’d be a bit of a cop out to give up sex for Lent. However, there is something I desire. For which I have an appetite.


It’s no secret. I like alcohol. Drinking is fun.

But wow. 6 weeks without a drink? No cheeky glass of wine after a hard day at work? No après? Between now and Easter I have the remainder of the 6 Nations. I have my birthday. I have St Patrick’s Day. I have a rugby tournament in Nice.

And, as I started going through all the fun things that I’ve got coming up, the realisation dawned on me – giving up alcohol would be tough. Super tough. In amidst the growing horror, I heard the dormant competitor in me, stir…

No one will think I can do it. They’ll all laugh at me. They’ll try and tempt me to give up.

And that, my friends, is the point.

Game on.

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17 thoughts on “You can’t always get what you want

  1. John Koh says:

    After a read through your post, I have the strangest urge to have a drink.

  2. robyn says:

    nah-not for me-i would only end up giving up something i could live without-and since i live in a dry country, the drink isn’t too hard either.not happening for me.

  3. Bon chance! Blog about your progress.

  4. Gumpher says:

    You’ll be fine.

    Like you, I rather enjoy a drink and I’m pretty good at it.

    Didn’t touch a drop for the whole of January, and despite it being the 6 nations, I’ve not drunk that much since. It was surprisingly easy. I feel ace, and I’ve lost weight.

    • nuttycow says:

      I think it’s the weight loss which is the huge driver for me. I have a bet on that I have just over a month to reach. It’s doable, but I think it’s going to be all the easier because I won’t be able to drink.

  5. Glastomum says:

    You can do it!
    I am slightly confused about Sundays which are apparently not included in the 40 days?
    I am trying to do the same, and will let you know is I succumb to temptation…

    • nuttycow says:

      Sundays aren’t included? How confusing.

      I think I’m going to count them. Otherwise I have to wait an extra 6 days to drink again!

      Best of luck in your endeavours. Let me know how you get on.

      • looby says:

        I think in certain Orthodox traditions you’re allowed to do whatever you like on the Sundays in Lent. I think that’s a bit rubbish really–either do it or don’t.

        I gave up drink for Lent a few years ago. It was very difficult in the first four or five days, but then it was more boring than anything else. That famous Rat Pack quote is so true–it’s terrible waking up in the morning and thinking that that’s as good as you’re going to feel for the rest of the day.

        There were two advantages–I was absolutely shocked by the amount of spare money I had over. It was shameful to realise how much I spend on drink. Secondly, two people, neither of whom I had told I had given up, told me that my skin was looking well! Result!

        Wouldn’t do it again though, TBH.

        Very best of luck–let us know how you get on.

  6. Nice one. Good luck with it. I gave up chocolate last year, after having done nothing for Lent for a number of years. Well, I had tried to give up chocolate the year before and failed miserably. A Pret Choc bar was my downfall (all 380 calories of it!).

    I succeeded last year and celebrated at Easter with a creme egg. This year I had good intentions of doing something positive for Lent rather than giving something up. So far I haven’t done anything. I’m likely to spend all of Lent trying to come up with something to do for Lent!

    Anyway, I hope your 40 alchohol-free days are going well so far. I’ll keep my chocolate-covered fingers crossed for you :).

  7. bevchen says:

    Ooh, good luck!

    I haven’t given up anything for lent since I was about 15! And I only did that for a bet.

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