OPINION: January is hard enough without going on the dry

OPINION: January is hard enough without going on the dry

You’re reading this in early January but this is being written as Storm Frank has just about stopped battering the old windows here at the Leader office.

The festive food load has barely just ceased battering my insides too. For the past day or too I have been eating like a baby squirel, trying to recover some sense of equilibrium. I think I feel a bit better now. A couple of days ago I thought I was going to suffer a stomach detonation. It is at these times that one can do rash things, such as pledge to give up drink for a month, or Dry January as it has become called.

I have strong views on Dry January, and that view is it is to be avoided.

If you have a problem with drink, then it is probably a better idea to give it up altogether. But if you don’t and having a pint is a social activity that helps you to unwind once or twice a week then I urge you, this January and every other, to keep going!

The problem with January (and December and February, and much of March and November too if we’re honest) is that they are dark and bear a heavy load on the spirit. Christmas is necessary. Originally a pagan feast, people knew that it was important to have a party in the middle of winter to prevent everybody getting depressed.

But the middle means that there is still another half of winter to go, so this is no time to turn into a Mormon.

Even if the money is tight, get down to the local for two or three pints two or three times this month. It will make all the difference to your mental health. If you’re doing a dry month, make it July when, in theory at least, you can get out and enjoy the bright evenings instead.

Trying to get on the wagon now is counter productive and feeds into the boom and bust cycle. If we had any sense, we’d enjoy Christmas without emptying the bank account and every tin of Quality Street in the house. But we can’t. So to atone we flagellate ourselves with unrealistic new year’s resolutions and pledges to change for the better.

A more attainable change would be to err towards balance and away from the binge-then-detoxification pattern that does little but prove our immaturity.

Now, I’m off out for a green tea and a bowl of miso soup.