At the end of last year, I was listening to the radio, and they were talking about Dry January. If you have never heard of it, it’s a fairly simple campaign; Alcohol Concern encourages people to pledge to stay off alcohol for the whole of January. It’s meant to make you think about how much alcohol you drink, as well as providing a healthy start to the new year, and give you a sense of detoxifying after what is, for a lot of people, a particularly boozy festive period.
As I sit here, writing this on the 18th January, it occurs to me that I have been participating in Dry January without realising it. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since Boxing Day, if my memory serves me correctly. Dry January isn’t really designed for someone like me, who can go for weeks without drinking without really thinking about it.
I haven’t ever really been a big drinker. I wasn’t one of those teenagers who went out and got drunk at the weekend. I used to go to discos when I was a younger teenager, and I remember being so shocked and appalled when some of my close friends turned up drunk, that I cried for most of the night. I know that this doesn’t make me sound particularly cool, but the truth is that I had never really been exposed to drunk people. My mum never drank, at all, and my dad didn’t drink that much. I had probably seen him drunk before, but only probably at a family wedding or something similar.
I went through a stage when I first started working, when I would go out and get really drunk; typical binge drinking. But it was never all that regular, even back then; I certainly wasn’t out every weekend. And when I was at university, I definitely had a closer relationship with alcohol, but I wasn’t a typical student. I would go out probably once a week, and I would attain a level of inebriation somewhere between mildly tipsy and totally smashed.
And now, at the ripe old age of thirty, I find myself drinking less than ever. One good reason is that I simply don’t have the money to drink; I’m pinching the pennies, and spending £20 at the pub, with little to show for it other than a hangover, is not a luxury I can really afford. I would never swear off alcohol completely, because I know that, given the right circumstances, I will want to have a drink, and I will want to get pleasantly drunk from time to time.
Everyone has their own personal relationship with alcohol, whether they drink a lot, a little or not at all. As long as you are in control, that’s fine. What does irritate me is when people brag about how much they are drinking, trying to imply that they have a drinking problem (when they clearly don’t). I don’t think drinking is big and clever, it’s just something that people do, so please avoid clogging up my Facebook or Twitter feed with details about how much you are alcohol you are drinking!
How about you – what are your drinking habits? How have they changed since you were younger?