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The Dry January Diary: Not even half way...

15th January 2014

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Two weeks have gone by in this month that we are calling Dry January, and I so far have not succumbed to even one solitary drop of booze. What’s more, I haven’t even come close.

This despite (because of?) the abundance of Lambrini Cider that was wafted around under my nose/in my general eyeline on Friday evening. Yes, Lambrini Cider is a real thing – and when the night is approaching that unforeseen level of ridiculous that we all experience on the odd occasion, some people even go as far as to let it pass beyond their lips.

It’s a corrosive looking pink poison and it’s enough to make you teetotal for the remainder of life. As is witnessing the slow degradation of previously intelligent people into blabbering caricatures of themselves, who can no longer form coherent sentences.

The word I might choose is eye-opening.

I don’t necessarily feel more awake, but somehow lighter. Maybe it’s just an improved general fitness? Although I don’t feel that way much today, because replacing wine with near enough two hours of yoga in the evening is achy.

Also, I’ve been thinking about decisions, most specifically those that we make when we’re full of alcohol and silly, and those that we make when we’re sober. How many of us have blamed a bad decision on the premise that we were drunk, and that that thing would never have happened if it wasn’t for the second bottle of wine/seventh pint/emergence of Jaegerbombs?

Yeah, hands up.

When you don’t have any lingering alcohol in your system to use as a scapegoat for the bad choices that you make, life suddenly becomes more about consequences than excuses.

I’m not saying we’re all drunk and out of control for the other 11 months of the year – I’d like to think that, when you’re approaching your 20s or already in them or, shock, even older, you’ve got past the age where alcohol skews your mind so much that it changes your behaviour significantly.

But whether or not we’d end up in the same situations with or without booze isn’t the question.

The issue is that we use alcohol as an excuse to mask our behaviour, when really it’s unlikely to be anything to do with that. It might in fact be that alcohol doesn’t actually get us into inadvisable situations, but in fact is used to unfairly absolve us from them the morning after, when our heads are pounding and we just can’t fully remember. Food for thought.

Two weeks in, I’m also coming to realise that certain people will always pressurise you to drink, for their own purposes. But those who are worth listening to will respect you for taking a stand, even if it means you’re going to be drinking Ginger Beer whilst they feel increasingly guilty about the fact that they’ve just drained the last of the Rioja. Ultimately, if people are pressurising you to drink whilst you’re trying to do something positive for yourself they’re the ones with the issue. And, later, the hangover.

On a lighter note, here are some things that I didn’t think about being banned in Dry January, which it would still be nice to have in my life:

Leftover Christmas liquor chocolates

Leftover Christmas champagne and/or brandy cream

Amaretto coffee

Expect to find me gorging on all of the above shortly after midnight on February 1st ...which is somehow still 16 days away.

Read Week one of The Dry January Diary here.

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