It is hard to contemplate never drinking again. I always tell people that I am getting back on the gin and tonic again when I am 80. Many of us are not physically addicted, but habitually using, and used to drinking. So it must be possible to moderate. Lots of people do. But just like the planning you did to take a month off, you need to plan your moderation.
Remaining alcohol free for a month is an achievement, which deserves to be rewarded, but compensatory drinking is not what Dry January is trying to advocate. A healthy attitude towards consumption (not necessarily total abstinence) is something which should be practiced during every month of the year to reap lasting health benefits.
If any of these occurrences had been done by a stranger or a random club-goer I would probably have shouted or slapped or let the Irish rage bubbling up inside erupt. Instead I kept quiet and for the most part, laughed it off. So as not to cause unnecessary drama amongst friendships or to maintain a polite-ish persona.
We've all been told to drink a sh*tload less. Because 20 years ago, the last time these guidelines were composed, most people did drink less. Usually for socioeconomic reasons though, let's be honest. And maybe some folk will drink less. But I know one thing that will put lots of people off doing so. The Smug Sober B*st*rd Brigade.
I've always asserted that the best thing about food and drink is its ability to offer such an honest window into the many different cultures you experience on your travels. Whenever I visit somewhere new (or familiar!), I insist on trying the local foods, beers and spirits - sometimes you end up with something questionable, but it's always fascinating and inspiring.
Those whom historically would have had a couple of glasses in the evening, were completing Dry January and resuming their original drinking habits, only to find they wanted to drink far more in case there would be no more later on. Creating a lack and scarcity mentality that was proving difficult to break.
I woke up this morning to the nice newsreader lad on the telly informing me that you'd decided we should all stop drinking for two days a week, due to new guidelines you'd had a go at making. I waited eagerly for the second part of your plan. I waited and waited. But that was it. That was your idea. Just don't drink.
Years ago we had a cocktail party which one friend still refers to as The Lost Weekend. Our errors were threefold. First, we had forgotten that in our parents' generation, such parties lasted only a couple of hours and then people would sensibly go out for dinner. We made our guests drink cocktails all night.