I have signed up to be a DryAthlete. This doesn’t mean that I’m eschewing all physical activity centred on the swimming pool, but rather that I’ve pledged not to have an alcoholic drink during January. My friend Sarah put out a call for people to join her in a team, so I said yes. The idea is that we send to Cancer Research UK any funds that we would have spent on drink, so if you were planning on buying me a pint, I shall say no thanks, but I’ll take the money instead.
I’m not expecting this abstinence to be too difficult. I’m not a huge drinker, and rarely drink at home except for high days and holidays. (I admit I’ve done my best over Christmas.) I live with a real ale aficionado and the taste for something brewed locally has rubbed off, but even so, I don’t find it difficult to stick to soft drinks if I’m driving, for instance.
Being abstemious at home is relatively easy, of course. The bottles left over from the festivities have been hidden away out of temptation’s reach – even that bottle of spiced rum I keep in the kitchen cupboard for livening up my coffee on a chilly morning.
The real challenge will come when I go out and mix with people who are still drinking. The first test will be next Saturday. I’m going to a barn dance, and all that reeling and jigging is thirsty work. Not sure lime and soda will do the job. Then on the following Monday, I have a New Year celebration lunch with some colleagues. I shall have to be on my best behaviour, of course, given that I’m self-employed and don’t want to lose any work, but there is bound to be the offer of a glass of wine. Finally, there is a comedy do at the Arts Centre, where I usually feel duty bound to support the sponsor, the Potbelly Brewery, by sampling a drop of Hop Trotter or Pigs Do Fly. Hm, it seems on reflection that I perhaps drink more and more often than I thought I did.
I shall do my best not to let down Sarah and the rest of the team – we’re called Brahmacharya, which is a Sanskrit word that loosely translates as abstinence – but I can’t guarantee that I shan’t be a bit tetchy over the next month. And it looks like I’ll be doing all the driving for a while.