This is an extract from Maz Compton’s book, The Social Rebellion. Available now.
My stint in media lasted twelve years; and during that time in the spotlight, or slightly to the left of the spotlight, a ‘sometimes’ activity became an almost everyday activity. I think Cookie Monster will be proud of that statement – much like cookies are a ‘sometimes’ food, alcohol should be a sometimes thing. Mine became daily.
I get asked ‘why aren’t you drinking?’ the most when I am surrounded by people whose blood alcohol levels could be mistaken for tonight’s winning lotto numbers – because yes, even though I don’t drink, I still go to my friend’s birthdays and attend events where there is alcohol. I think this is a key if you decide to live alcohol-free for more than 31 days; to know you don’t have to freak out and live in a hole, just tweak one single habit.
It freaks people out when they learn I haven’t had a drink for ages, and more so when they realise I wasn’t lacing my morning coffee with gin, gambling away all my money, laying in a gutter and losing my GD mind. Sure, behind closed doors I was slightly unhinged, but I was far from rock bottom. I was, what I like to call, dancing on the edge of an epic fall from grace. I managed to redefine my relationship with alcohol just in time. It was a life changing (well, life-ending) event that made me sit up and pay close attention to my choices and behaviour [Maz’s beloved manager, Mark Byrne, passed away at the age of 45]. This event led me to my decision to live alcohol free for a month (which, at the time, was a huge stretch from the daily free alcohol I was used to).
Let me tell you a bit about my functioning alcoholism, or almost dependent drinking, or whatever label you can find for my previous innate desire to drink from a bottle with a label on it.
It all started to unravel when I was hosting a national radio show, but up until that point, I had always been the most fun person to drink with. I could keep up with the boys, I could sit and talk for hours with the girls, I was usually happy and at happy hour. Alcohol crept into my life very slowly.
It began with all the work events that I either had to host, or attend - where I could swan around a room of celebrities and feel super important, and drink champagne until the sun came up - and the telling myself that it was my job. When you are a host of MTV and all MTV does is make TV, and throw wild parties, it actually IS your job. So, there was that. But I was smart, I kept up my exercise routine, I drank enough water to stay upright and I would always go home to my house, by myself. Three simple little rules to keep me out of harm’s way.
On the home front, I would drink a glass of wine when making dinner and then more wine with dinner, and maybe a goblet of red after dinner - but that wasn’t hurting anyone, I was at home, making a nice meal and binge watching 24 (or possibly How I Met Your Mother). I had a handle on it. I would occasionally see the sunrise, I would occasionally have a few too many, I would occasionally wake up with little recollection of the previous night and, I would occasionally wake up with a few bruises, which I put that down to the deadly concoction of high heels and Savvy B’s.