Thursday, 3 January 2013

In which I attempt a dry January


Given that a) a large proportion of the people in Social Circle Blonde seem to be London media types, and given also that b) most of London’s media types seem to be giving up booze at the start of this year, quite how I seem to be the only person in Social Circle Blonde attempting a dry January, I don’t know. It’s the least satisfying Venn diagram ever.

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 factory settings.

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.

9 comments:

Foodycat said...

I'm not trying a dry January but I am trying to drink a lot less and have a few days off the booze during the week. Mostly because of the calories. As you say, booze or cheese, there is no contest!

Amy said...

I'm not having a dry January as I barely drink alcohol anyway, but I am giving up all fizzy pop for 2013 as I keep hearing how awful it is for your body/teeth. Considering I don't drink alcohol, I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to drink when I go to social gatherings from now on.

tom said...

I did four months without drinking. EASY.

...in all sincerity, I found the first two or three days the hardest. Once you start waking up feeling fresh and ace all the time, it helps.

@poppycollinson said...

I did this last January and havent started drinking again - not sure if this is because I drank a lifetimes worth in the previous 38 years or am not so hangover phobic but can honestly say I dont miss it at all :)

Blonde said...

Foodycat: That's probably a far more sensible way of going about things, frankly.

Amy: Oh, now that's a good one. And something I'd find equally hard, I think. I drink tonic water (on its own) like it's going out of fashion.

Tom: Hurrah. This bodes WELL.

Blonde said...

Poppy: Huh. That's impressive. That's how my not-eating meat thing started. Funny how you easily fall into a habit.

Dawniepopsies said...

My God I couldn't agree with you more on so many points here. Particularly not sponsoring people for laying off the booze for a few weeks. I'd love to give up my nightly glass for a few weeks but its my one indulgence. And I just love it so much......

Blonde said...

Dawniepopsies: It's a really good G&T for me. It'll be tricky, but I think that's part of the appeal.

ajdoesbest said...

This seems to be the year for doing it, I've lost count of the amount of Facebook updates about friends attempting it. I myself do not drink alcohol from January until the second week in June, every year. Which started as a dry January in 2010. I find it rather easy being that I allow myself a glass of Champagne on special occasions and thus don't feel like I'm depriving myself of anything. Good luck to you. :-) xx

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