Please join me in raising a cup of Early Grey to celebrate a whole year of not raising a nightly glass of beer, gin or wine. Not even a Baileys at Christmas. And for someone who has failed ever Dry January for as long as I can remember, I'm pretty proud of that.
After more than 30 years as a `middle lane drinker' (drinking too much but never out of control) I realised I was increasingly thinking about the evening's first drink I decided to join the growing number of people choosing an alcohol-free life.
I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person so cutting down didn't appeal to me, and previous successes I'd had drinking less had always just ended up creeping back up.
So after yet another failed dry January in 2022 I invested a precious month's Audible credit on The Easy Way to Give Up Alcohol, part of a programme by the late Allen Carr. I spent the next week hating it, absolutely unconvinced it could possibly have any effect on me whatsoever - it just sounded ridiculous. And I found the narrator's voice really irritating. But I've not had a drink since, and spent the next 12 months wondering why on earth it had taken me so many years to do.
The negative effects of alcohol are widely reported - from poor sleep and mental health, to dehydrated skin and weight gain. Not to mention the drain on your bank balance. Every one of those has improved for me over the last year. I'm much happier, healthier and am so very glad at my achievement. The only disappointment is that I don't seem to be any better off.
If you want to drink less, or stop drinking completely there's no one way to achieve that. Everyone's different and what works for one person may not for another. But there's a ton of advice out there, some of which gave me a little confidence boost when I came across it, including my favourite Feel Better Live More books and podcasts which includes episode 85 with Andy Ramage of One Year No Beer.
So at six o'clock on a Sunday I think it's about time for another cup of tea - I'll drink to that 😊