The Stresses and Strains of Dry January

Posted on January 9, 2019

I have heard two theories regarding the recent fad of dry January. Theory one is that January is enough of a depressing month as it is. So why would anyone want to kick the booze?

Theory two is that because there is bugger all happening in January. So, you might as well make it the month where you take a break from alcohol. Why not flush the old system out.

So far, I have remained the clean in January without much stress apart from missing out on a few glasses of the red stuff. This was at its worst with my Sunday dinner on…well Sunday of course.

I have undertaken dry January, not because it is the new trend on the block. It is because in December, I wrecked all the good work of September, October and November. It was a period of three months when I had a total of 42 drink free days. That’s a big achievement for a daily drinker (sorry if that sounds narcissistic).

December Disaster

December was not my finest hour, or should I say month. Despite 5 alcohol free days at the beginning of the month I went on to consume 238 units. I drunk at various levels on every day from the 7th December to the 31st (the monthly recommendation is around 60 units). That looks bad, well, because it is bad. However, when you are entertaining clients and going to various social events, the units rack up fast. I still can’t enter a pub and ask for a coke; I’m sorry, I just can’t see the point.

Of course, those of you who read this blog regularly, will know that I know all these statistics because I downloaded the Drinkaware App. This was after finding inspiration in the form of the slightly rotund television presenter, Adrian Chiles and his TV programme ‘Drinkers Like Me’. I was a drinker like Chiles, although maybe not quite as bad. He has more money and a better social life than me.

Admission of Consumption

Finally admitting that I was a habitual drinker and that I was not doing myself any favours, wasn’t easy. However, once I downloaded the App and cracked on with reducing my intake, I was amazed out how easy it is to kick the pointless habits. habits like drinking beer or wine just because it is in the fridge. You can lose loads of units without even noticing it.

There could be all kinds of reasons behind it being relatively easy for me to stop the bad habits. I am assuming the main one is that for several years now, I have not been drinking to get drunk but just to relax. The problem is that I drunk to relax every day. I am not ashamed (well I am a bit ashamed actually) to admit that the last nine days must be my longest consecutive period of alcohol abstinence since 1987.

What the Doctor Said

What I do find amusing in this age of dismissing experts, is that many people who are ‘Drinkers like Me’ go by the assumption that doctors are not experts. Apparently the danger levels given in the amount of units we consume, are in fact, made up nonsense.

Quite why a doctor would go through seven years of medical training to make up tall stories about the dangers of alcohol is beyond me. Maybe it shouldn’t be? Look how many people voted Brexit and don’t believe in climate damage and it will offer enough clues that experts are so last century. Who needs the Met Office when you have The Daily Express? Who needs a doctor when Mick down at The Crown says that doctor’s talk bollocks?

When I asked my doctor if the 14 weekly units limit was harsh, he said “It is if you are a drinker” which I found quite amusing. He did go on to say that it was guidance based on averages gained from years of conducted studies and alcohol related illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes and organ scarring. Basically, 14 units a week is guidance and going beyond that may start affecting your health, depending on your biological make up.

That’s a fair enough statement in my book but I doubt I will be able to stick to that level. However, I am happy to use the App to see how close I can get to it without becoming a bored stiff recluse. What’s the point in being righteous and miserable?

Completing a Dry Month?

It is too early to call whether I can get through the weekend hurdles in January and see out a dry month. However, I am certainly on target to get under the monthly recommended dose of alcohol. That in itself will be an achievement.

Whatever happens I will be honest about it. There is no point taking on these things just to lie to yourself about your achievements, strength of character and ability to beat your demons.

I have enough that deluded nonsense when I am on a cricket pitch with a lump of willow in my hand.

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