The booze run

BoozeI’m in an alcohol-fuelled state of utter confusion – not for the first time. But it’s not over-indulgence that’s causing the fog in my brain; it’s knowing when to stop. Should I give up all alcohol for January as recommended by Alcohol Concern ( or is that just lulling my liver into a false sense of security when February rolls around?
Or should I stick to the less ambitious, and frankly more realistic, routine as advised by MPs (I know!) on the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and just cut out booze two days a week (

Or, and I have to say this one does appeal, can I get away with drinking a moderate glass of red every day ‘for my heart’ as suggested by some NHS doctors (

It’s all a question of willpower, and willpower decreases in direct ratio to the amount of booze you drink. It’s easy to commit to one glass of wine before you’ve drunk it, but afterwards it’s a different story
– there’s still three quarters of a bottle of wine (or half, depending on your definition of ‘glass’) winking at you blurrily from the table.

It’s all too easy to crack open the booze when you have friends over, it’s dark outside and you have nothing else to worry about. Inject a few kids into the equation and abstinence becomes easier. Just remembering what a hangover feels like with a houseful of hungry children rampaging around at dawn is enough to slow you down. But I find the easiest way to ‘just say no’ when temptation is hovering is to engineer a spot of lift-giving.

Having to collect a teenager from a friend’s house at midnight is the easiest way to abstain I know. It’s not even difficult, because once you have committed to it I find my mind suddenly switches into morning mode. I make myself a coffee and mentally it’s breakfast time and that glass of Chardonnay has about as much appeal as a tequila on the school run.

It does work – before our eldest daughter, Ella, went back to university on Sunday I was forever offering to collect her from her boyfriend’s home – a six-minute bus ride away. As she has been fending for herself, transport-wise, since she was a Brownie, she was slightly confused by my sudden bout of helicopter parenting, but grateful. Now she’s back at uni, I might have to start hijacking her younger sister to support my health kick. But at 17 she’s a little harder to track down. Like the comedian Micky Flanagan, she has different stages of going out. Sometimes she just pops out, other times she goes out, but often she goes ‘out, out’, which probably involves three different venues and a change of clothes.  She doesn’t always know where she’s going till she gets there – which might not be until tomorrow. Perhaps I’d better start mini-cabbing.

So what’s your secret for healthy abstinence? Share it with me over a glass of something soft.

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