This year, and despite the enormous lack of enthusiasm from my boozehound friends, chucking in the drink for a month seems to be an activity that’s gathering momentum: both Cancer Research and Alcohol Concern have appropriated the phenomenon as an opportunity for a little extra fundraising. (Personally I’m not inclined to sponsor other people not to drink, given that it’s not particularly gruelling (see also: Movember), and that they could give the cash they save straight to the charity itself, but that’s just my Grinch-like demeanour clamouring to make itself heard.)
It’s a project I attempted for the first time last year, when I failed about three weeks in (I accompanied The Writer when he reviewed Secret Restaurant, and when you’re faced with that much free champagne it suddenly becomes quite hard to say no). But this year – with one exemption day planned for a wedding, because if you can’t make a boozy exception for celebrating two brilliant people being in love, when can you? – I am going to make another attempt to drink no alcohol in January.
There are plenty of people who sneer at the idea.
“There’s no point in ‘detoxing’ – your liver does that every day for you,” they say, or “it doesn’t actually do you any good – you’re better off having several booze-free days a week” or, perhaps the most prevalent, “God, how boring.”
Having a vague notion of how the human body works, as well as the ability to read the plethora of advice about healthy levels of drinking (even if I choose not to), I’m well aware of the first two, and to the third I’d say, “charming” and also, “really? Possibly worth having a think about why you think that”.
I’m not laying off the booze because I’m labouring under an illusion that a month without it will undo all the
hard bad work put in
over Christmas or because I think it will magically restore my liver to its
I’m doing it because cutting down on stuff that’s bad for us, however delicious, is probably quite a good thing to do. I’m doing it because it’ll be a challenge, and a bit tricky – and things that are a bit tricky are often worth doing. I’m doing it because life can sometimes seem a carousel of instant gratifications, and not always getting what we want the instant we want it is a useful reminder that whilst self-discipline and willpower might not be the most fun things in the world, but they’re quite useful things.
Oh, and there’s also the fact that this Christmas Pa Blonde wrapped everything under the sun in pastry: now that the holidays are over, there has to be a deficit in the number of calories consumed and something’s had to give. Frankly, it’s either the booze or the cheese, and there’s no contest there.