You fought through Black (Eye) Friday, went down the pub on Christmas Eve, made cocktails on Christmas Day and consumed bubbly by the bottle on New Year’s Eve. And now you’re consumed by guilt.
So you’ve resolved to give up the booze for January. Here’s why you shouldn’t.
1. First off, exactly why are you taking the pledge? The people most desperate to prove they can go without a drink are often problem drinkers. Yes, your liver will enjoy a short-term break but if you pile straight back through the pub doors on February 1st, it will have been a waste of time. The British Liver Trust says it doesn’t agree with dry months. Instead it suggests people drink sensibly throughout the year and have a few dry days every week.
2. T S Eliot declared April to be the cruellest month. He was wrong, it’s January. Getting through Christmas is hard enough, but a dry January? Are you mad?
3. It’s such a cliché. Do you really want to be a cliché?
4. If you are, you’ve probably taken a gym membership month, too. Well, a drink can go hand-in-hand with a workout. Psychological studies into the relationship between drinking and exercise suggest that people who work out regularly tend to be moderate, controlled drinkers. The University Of Houston demonstrated that both increase levels of dopamine and endorphins so people find a way of balancing those nice sensations. In other words there’s a reward system at work. Enjoy a good session.
5. If you must have a break, there are better months to choose. A study conducted by Opinium Research in 2012 suggested that as a nation we tend to drink more in warmer months. So if you are serious about taking a break you might be better off waiting till the sun is bouncing off the patio in June or July.
6. A University of Alberta study recently demonstrated that a glass or two of red wine can be as beneficial as light exercise. It’s packed with the antioxidant resveratrol which produced similar benefits for the heart and muscular strength as physical exercise. Buy a bottle with a cork and you get an added workout, too.
7. Drinking makes you happier. It’s those endorphins. A study from the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Centre (yes, it’s funded by a winery) at the University of California used PET scans to demonstrate the release into the nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal cortex. Of course, this might also explain addiction. Cheers.
8. Alcohol is ‘good’ for the heart. Obviously not if you’re demolishing a bottle of vodka seven days a week, but drinking in moderation can reduce your chances of having a heart attack by 24 per cent, according to a global study last year. As good a reason for a gin and tonic on a long-haul flight as you could ever want.
9. Ask the Scots what they think about a dry January. No Scotsman ever considers going dry during the first month of the year because Burns Night is on the 25th.
10. What are you going to do if you’re invited out on a date? Or for someone’s birthday? Or by your boss? Sit there nursing a tomato juice and feeling like a saint?
11. Oh, I’ve just remembered champagne can be good for the brain. Research from the University of Columbia recently demonstrated that champagne contains proteins that are beneficial for short term memory.
12. Churchill, the greatest of all Britons, did not do dry Januarys. “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me” he famously noted. And he lived to the age of 90. Now stop fretting and get your round in.