The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Keith Ryan Headshot

Good God I Need a Drink

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Like many of you, I'm a married, employed white male with two children under the age of five and a mortgage. Which means that, like many of you, I'm about two glasses of prosecco away from qualifying as a functional alcoholic.

And, like many of you, I'm not drinking alcohol this month just so I can prove to myself and others that I don't need alcohol I can quit anytime yes I can shut up. Also to make myself healthier and more fit and all that other bullshit we convince ourselves is important before we collapse and die unexpectedly from a disease we can't spell and that we were genetically predisposed to develop anyway regardless how much we drank.

So basically January sucks a great big pool of rotting algae-filled bilge water. Sucks like the modified industrial strength vacuum cleaner owned by that guy down the street who always looks a bit strained and shifty. Sucks like deep space but without all the cool stuff and satellites and shit.

Not that I *need* booze to have fun - it's just that I *prefer* it. Alcohol is the one bad thing I allow myself to enjoy when I'm not working through the night or trying to figure out the best possible combination of home cleaning products and tiny implements to clean dried baby vomit from between the bedroom floorboards or staring into the middle distance trying to recall when it was exactly that I thought being an adult was good idea.

So when the UK Commons science and technology committee - an austere group of lab-coated Melvins and killjoys if ever there was (I'm assuming) - announced that people should "take at least two alcohol-free days a week" my instinct was to grab the nearest bottle of tequila and inject it directly into my eye, replacing it only when I start hallucinating tiny goblin chefs shoplifting from the local Tesco.

I didn't of course. I wasn't going to let a bunch of bean-counting nerds tell me when I could and couldn't drink. But I still resented the whole thing. It's the wording: "Alcohol-free". Like, not even in the same room. Don't look at the stuff. Don't even think about it. Not even after you've spent your fourth day dealing with the kinds of people who probably provoked that first guy into drinking festering rotten grape juice in an attempt to kill himself just to get away from them and instead got himself a nice buzz on and invited the annoying people over because he found them suddenly and inexplicably attractive and ultimately also invented the first swingers party.

And if that wasn't enough, the brain trusts at the British Liver Trust followed up this spectacular piece of advice to say that "giving up alcohol or going on a detox for one month is pointless, especially after the excesses of the festive season".

"You're better off making a resolution to take a few days off alcohol a week throughout the entire year than remaining abstinent for January only," says Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust.

Well D'UH, Andrew. If it was that easy don't you think I'd have done it? Of COURSE it would be better to have a few days off from drinking each week. But if I had that kind of willpower do you think I'd bother taking a WHOLE MONTH OFF from drinking? No, of course I wouldn't Andy, don't be an ass.

It's bad enough having the drinks industry using that pathetic "Please drink responsibly" line which is right up there with heroin dealers telling junkies to "Control your intake" or gun manufacturers asking violent criminals to "Shoot carefully".

And for the love of all things holy, PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT UNITS. I have NO IDEA what a fucking UNIT is. If one unit is the same as one glass of wine, JUST SAY IT'S A GLASS OF WINE. If it's a pint, SAY THAT.

Trying to figure out how many units are in a half pint or a really massive wine glass just make me want to take a long bath in alcohol with a short straw.

In fact, unless pubs started serving in units, you can basically stick units up your rear alleyway. And even then, who wants to lean across the bar in a crowded pub and shout "I'll have a unit of bitter for Dave in IT, two units of scotch with ice for red-faced Barry and a dry wine double unit of Pinot Grigio for Slagmina from accounts" ? No-one, that's who.

And so, in the end, like many of you, I will treat the whole non-drunk January as a short-term and weirdly inexplicable punishment/gift to myself. Like taking foul tasting medicine when you're sick that you know doesn't do anything but you take anyway because your parents did and they lived to be 87 and so it must work, right?

Do I expect my liver to be restored to some pre-alcohol, virginal state following my one-month booze holiday? No I do not. I expect it to continue glaring at me angrily from my gut, looking like a cross between Mickey Rourke, Oliver Reed and Charles Bronson in the tunnel scenes from The Great Escape.

Then I expect to down two bottles of Pouilly-Fuissé on 1 February and wake up the next day feeling like I'd been cleaning the cat's arse with my tongue again, all because my alcohol tolerance levels will be shot after a month of not-drinking misery, and as a consequence I might think twice before I grab that bottle of Sauvignon Blanc on 2 February, effectively having modified my behaviour enough to not be able to handle drinking every day and thereby unintentionally living up to the high, albeit incredibly dull standards of the UK Commons science and technology committee and the British Liver Trust by accident.

At least, until my tolerance levels improve and I'm back up to a daily G&T followed by half a bottle of white or so. I give it a month. Three weeks tops.

Either that or I last another week before the government's advice forces me to throw on a balaclava, grab a bottle of JD and occupy the nearest offie in protest.

WHAT DO WE WANT?

ALCOHOL!

WHEN DO WE WANT IT?

ALCOHOL!