I love wine. I love beer. I love whisky.
But I drink too much of each. Period.
So, in January this year I began my now almost customary Dry January (starting on 7th of the month because I was working on a theatre production until then and, of course, that involved drinking each night – not forgetting the after show).
Over the years I have more and more looked forward to, rather than dreaded, Dry January because it has become something of a physical reset button. Maybe a mental one too.
Now, I don’t do ‘Mindfulness’ in fact I shit on mindfulness.
So, if that’s what floats your boat you won’t find any of that chat in the following paragraphs. (What I will say, though, is that 100 days without alcohol changes your perspective on stuff. It energises you and if there were no twats in the world you would become very, very calm. But there are. Twats, that is. Lots.)
This ain’t no mindfulness lecture.
What do twats do?
Well, for one, they call me boring for not drinking.
My wife hasn’t drunk for six years and that doesn’t make her boring. She lives with me for fuck’s sake. It isn’t possible.
One of my friends said to me last week, “Mark, you know when we (twelve blokes) go to Primavera next month and if you decide you aren’t drinking, that’s cool. Your choice.”
No, David Reid, (for it was he) you were cool for saying that, unsolicited.
(The fact is I did go to PrimaveraSound and I didn’t drink a drop. It was cool hanging out on the rail at Jon Hopkins – my highlight – with a bunch of pissheads and stoners but enjoying it fully, nonetheless. I broke in Italy, for the record, in mid-June, as I just couldn’t go two weeks eating without wine.)
So, why, not drink for 100 days (160 actually)?
I honestly don’t really know why. Well, maybe I do and I’m just not admitting it to myself.
Some of it has to do with the second sentence in this post, and the research that shows that it’s not young people who are over-indulging most these days – it’s 55 year olds like me that are. That worries me.
More time, cheap booze, plenty disposable income = drinking too much.
Drinking too much = decreasing return on investment and increasing chance of cancer.
But, you know, as Joe Jackson says (sings), everything gives you cancer. There’s no cure, there’s no answer.
So it can’t be that.
Let’s just say, I’m experimenting.
The experiment so far.
Hypothesis. Drinking less than the garden pond of beer/wine/whisky a week that I did will have an impact on your body.
Observation. Yes. It does.
I have lost at least two inches – I’d say 3 – 4 actually – around my gut. But this has been helped by my increased exercise (running) and my increasing adherence to a form of fasting diet. No food till noon.
My face is thin as a linguine strand, sadly atop a conchigilie, but, in time, this conchigilie is morphing into a macaroni.
(Shut this fucking pasta strand (no pun intended) down NOW. Ed.)
My legs are fucked to bits though. Knees, hamstrings completely kabooshed as I pound my fat carcass around the streets of South Queensferry.
But it’s getting easier. Not to watch. To do. I wear lycra you see, and nothing is as inelegant as a still-a-bit-obese middle aged man in lycra – but it holds my muscles together and stops my breasts slapping my face.
I sleep better. I can’t actually stay awake past about 10pm.
I work better. If I had any.
I am calmer. I’m not.
I remember stuff. Oh yes baby. I remember everything. EVERYTHING.
I am fun. Debatable. But I have been to many gigs (and enjoyed them), theatre shows, nights out, parties and not been a wanker. In my opinion.
I piss like a horse. I don’t know why, but I do. Maybe I have pissed 2 inches off my gut.
My shit is exactly the same colour every day. Tan. Never black. Consistent texture too.
I am less sarcastic. So I am told. But this post surely undermines that.
I am richer. This has many caveats but, yes, I have saved some money.
How do I replace the bev?
The answer partly lies with Nanny State by Brew Dog, Piston Head Lager and Erdinger Alcohol Free Isotonic Drink, with a lemonade top because it is gash otherwise.
Thank you Nanny State and Piston Head. Erdinger, you only get a pass.
The other answer is a new found love of coffee.
(Note: Two years later, and I’m back on Dry January and this time I am eschewing the AFB. I think it just reminds me that I’m not drinking too much.)
Will it continue?
I don’t know, do I? I am an addictive personality. I only have on and off switches. So when you see me in my natural pre-this-post-state don’t throw it back in my face please.
(Note: That did indeed happen and I returned fairly quickly to normal and gained weight as a result. I’m back on it again and hope my willpower will be even stronger this time, although I’m starting to realise it’s not willpower or even commitment. It’s about self-0realisation. Maybe it is that wellbeing stuff I dissed above.)
Can you do it? And what advice would I give?
Yes you can. Don’t make too much of it. Set a date a few weeks in advance so that you can blow out before you start. Starting with a hangover is an EXCELLENT idea.
This blog is good. Far more thoughtful than this car smash of an advice-piece.
Now, head off to the bar and get me a lime and soda. Please.