Roisin Gorman’s Open Letter… on Dry January

‘Just months after Sober October and No-Fun November the rite of self-flagellation has come around again’

By now, those abstaining are either counting the days or realising how dull drunk people are© ??  `??_/O??

Sunday World

Cheers to everyone doing Dry January, the brave souls who have sworn off booze so the rest of us don’t have to.

Two weeks in and they’re either counting down until February and anticipating something chilled or readjusting an alcohol-free halo with a Prohibition-era zeal and realising just how dull drunk people are. Do crack that joke for the hundredth time and share that grievance of several decades, again.

Just months after Sober October, No-Fun November and Don’t Even Think About It December the rite of self-flagellation has come around again, because in the grim greyness of January it’s important to evaluate your life and find yourself wanting.

Or let’s jargon this baby up and declare whether we’re sober-curious and prepared to indulge in mindful drinking, both of which make me want to affirm I’m corkscrew-curious and jargon-intolerant.

We used to have a drink; now we have a relationship with alcohol but when it’s leading to calling yourself names it may be time to ask for your key back.

The notion of a month off booze has gained traction in the last decade, kickstarted by UK campaigner Emily Robinson who gave it up for four weeks to prepare for a half-marathon. So far feeling so inadequate with my leftover Baileys and the last of the Christmas chocolates.

Medical experts suggest the side effects of a booze ban are sleep issues, dehydration, tremors and nausea. If a few weeks without wine are inducing those symptoms, it’s not a dry month that’s required but a dry life and some alcohol counselling.

In the US this year nearly a fifth of adults claim they’ll take part in experimental sobriety, with the numbers driven up by the 27pc of party animal millennials who’ll struggle to forgo their fortnightly Kombucha.

The older participants admit their January will be moist rather than dry, with the odd tipple sneaking in, but they’ll drink it thoughtfully and feel bad afterwards.

The idea isn’t to give up beer for life, although around 4pc of people do, but to have a look at its impact on your life and why certain situations, and nationalities, require oiling with alcohol. Ireland remains stubbornly in the top ten for global alcohol consumption, bizarrely behind Luxembourg and the Seychelles.

I did my own lifestyle shaming years ago when the midweek wine, along with its calories and hangover had to go, in favour of a never on a school night policy, well nearly never.

As a result, I can’t remember the last time booze caused major embarrassment. No, I really can’t remember, which is probably just as well. There’s still an unexplained sprained ankle in my dark and distant past – the unaccustomed heels played a part - but it’s good that in Dry January I get to beat myself up all over again about something I can’t change.

There is zero temptation from zero alcohol drinks which have all the cost but none of the fun. I’d drink most things through a sweaty sock but if there’s a diet tonic within 40 paces make mine a large water.

Anyone over a certain age has now morphed into Edina from Ab Fab, whose booze consumption by comparison to our much better-behaved children doesn’t bear up well under scrutiny.

But if scrutiny for the duration of January feels important then we’re right behind you, and it’s our round when you’re ready, whether it’s a herbal tea or a large wine.

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