Happy Sober New Year

December 31, 2018 · Print This Article

Australia is already there. In the New Year, that is. And as I have family there, my phone has been inundated with pictures of food, fireworks, and empty glasses where once an alcoholic beverage resided.

Margheritas have migrated to champagne with the usual cajoling to get one of my unsuspecting family members tipsy.

But ever thought of having a sober New Year?

As I was reading through this New Year’s narrative on my Facebook messenger, I had this crazy thought: what if I experienced their hangover before I even got to my New Year’s bash? Strange thought that could only exist in the realm of Doctor Who, but think about it, if people had to experience the hangover first, before getting inebriated, then I suspect drinking would decrease.

I met a friend yesterday for coffee. As we walked to the local Costa, she had second thoughts: “Shall we get an alcoholic drink? I fancy one!” But it was the middle of the afternoon! We stuck to coffee where she later admitted she had been drinking more to let off steam from a very difficult decision she is having to make. Many of us find alcohol an escape.

So what about tonight?

I’m having a quiet one. I’ll visit a friend in Stevenage. I offered to bring a small Gin & Tonic for us both (my favourite alcoholic drink) but my friend declined. Her reasons? “I get really bad when I drink.” I respected her honesty. But I suspect the worst comes out in many of us when we have a little liquor running through our life blood. Author of the bestselling book, Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig describes himself as a part-time teetotaller, “I love drinking, but if I drink too much then it can trigger anxiety and then depression.”[1] So maybe, in 2019, we need to rethink our relationship with alcohol.

Indeed, ever asked yourself if you are a drink pusher? I remember the most recent stag night I attended. Us lads, as if it has become a rite of passage, played beer pong…(with some things that were a little stronger than beer). I played but deferred on the drinking if someone got the ball in the cup. Yes, I’m a big wus! But I also wanted to stay sober. One of the guys didn’t like it and made known his discomfort about me not being ‘one of the lads’. It’s funny how drink pushers need an accomplice to have fun and to validate their behaviour.

Drinking alcohol is so embedded in our culture, but that doesn’t mean we have to be swept along with it. So here are some ideas if you want to adjust your relationship with alcohol in 2019.

If you are drinking to deal with a problem, there is probably a conversation you are not having. Whether that conversation needs to take place with a person in your life or a professional, take steps to start talking. Drinking is only a one-way conversation that seldom gets the results you are looking for.

If letting off steam is what it’s about, then a good dose of exercise might be for you.

And finally, if you want something in your hand that keeps the drink pushers away, go for a virgin Bloody Mary – the great taste of a Bloody Mary, just without the vodka.

Enjoy tonight.


[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46632332

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