A new year and a whole bunch of new work pressures. Hours on the train to and from London have finally provided an opportunity today to ‘pen’ something, though.

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. What’s the point of depriving yourself during the most challenging time of the year, when the debts of Christmas are realised and the weather does its best to dampen any motivation?

This is the time you need chocolate, crisps, Indian food, Dancing on Ice (whatever your vice may be) to get you through the long winter evenings.

Nevertheless, I have decided to drop alcohol for most of January. I felt I had drunk all I wanted to drink for a while… no reformed-alcoholic epiphany, I just thought I’d give it a rest.

So how’s it all going? Surprisingly well. There have been times when I’ve nearly caved in, especially last week in London fighting the constant temptation of drinks with colleagues after hours.

This has presented a new challenge, though: finding an acceptable adult soft drink. I’ve spent nights staring at the ceiling with mind racing having guzzled too much diet Coke. And there’s a clear limit to the amount of orange juice you can consume until your teeth buzz with all that sugar.

You may think that I am experiencing a whole range of health benefits by not drinking and I’ll be running up those hills in no time. Kind of.

On the none-Coke nights, I have slept better than I can remember, despite the mounting pressures at work. It’s a deep, almost drug-induced sleep… and refreshing.

My mood swings (what mood swings?!) are less pronounced, so I am told.

I guess (hope) my liver is regenerating, too.

One more test remains. I am going to have a dry birthday for nearly 20 years on Friday. I’m staying in, naturally… keeping out of harm’s way.

I will mark it with a trans-Pennine real ale odyssey next Saturday and there will be a celebration. No sanctimonious toasts, just a quiet sense of satisfaction having broken, albeit temporarily, an unhealthy habit which I have nurtured since university.



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