I’ve been having some strange thoughts about alcohol lately. I’ve been contemplating giving it up.
Not forever. That would be silly. But not for just a week or a month either, because that isn’t quite long enough for the test I want to take.
It’s not that I don’t like alcohol or that I am on a serious health drive. It isn’t even as if people have been taking me to one side and saying ‘you know what Matt, you might want to watch your intake a little bit, it’s getting a bit embarrassing’.
The actual reason is that I want to miss alcohol and the benefits that it can bring.
I’m bored of reading about the dangers of alcohol and the negative impact it can have on society. Of course it can, if it is misused, but so can cakes and chocolate and cars and fizzy drinks and most other things for that matter.
In all of those instances the problem usually rests with the individual rather that the substance that more often than not gets the blame.
It is rare that we hear, particularly in the wider media, about the societal benefits alcohol can bring. How flat parties can be without corks popping, the awkwardness of a new social situation without a glass of wine or a pint of beer, or your favourite meal without your favourite drink.
I like all of the above and in each instance alcohol plays a positive part. I firmly believe that alcohol can be a life-enhancing substance when used properly. I want to miss it to prove my point – sometimes you have to let the ones you love go and all that.
At an event recently, the kind of occasion when a glass of something goes down a treat, there was a non-drinker at our table. This person had not had a drink for several months and seemed very happy with the decision.
She talked about the benefits of not having hangovers and getting soft drinks bought in return for being the designated driver.
However she admitted to a degree of self-consciousness when it came to dancing and speaking to new people.
Even there you can see how alcohol can help take the edge off and help with relaxation.
Of course for my own part, contemplation is one thing, actually doing it is another.
But the timing for this could not be better. My wife is due to give birth to our second child soon. Very soon.
After raising a glass to the new arrival I can think of no better time to have a break from alcohol for so many reasons not least because children are no respecters of hangovers.
I know it won’t be easy. Hell, I write about and visit pubs for a living! This could potentially be career suicide but it might just help me prove a point.
So if you see me in a pub in the next few months (I'm thinking three, possibly six, probably two) mine’s a lime and soda please (at least until I discover my new favourite soft drink… or give up on this folly altogether).
Matt Eley is the editor of Inapub, follow him on Twitter @mattheweley
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