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The Good Drinker: How I Learned to Love Drinking Less

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One of the many benefits was that it was yet another stupid excuse not to curtail my drinking – ‘I do all this running, so I’m sweating all the booze out anyway’, and so on. To punish myself for my stupidity I have considered abstinence, but there’s too much about drinking that I enjoy. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. He details his experiences in cutting down, to comic and insightful effect, and skilfully but never preachingly, offers suggestions for others, too. I knew there would be lots of nice people at the wedding but, I’m ashamed to say, I wasn’t much looking forward to it because, for me, there wouldn’t be any drink involved.

There are loads of books about quitting the booze completely – but not many about just cutting down and not being a ‘heavy’ drinker.As it turned out, I had a really good time, but it became startlingly clear how reliant I was on alcohol. Whether this is a good or bad thing is beside the point; the reality is that this is what my life looks like, and this is what I must work with.

As for actual strategies to cut down, there are an assortment littered throughout the book some of which may be useful. I've occasionally been asked why it is that I need to go for a drink before watching the Albion play. I have a number of friends who have given up alcohol completely, and had various mental health issues entwined with alcohol issues (although none were lying in a doorstep alcoholics, cracking open the vodka at breakfast) but at the same time I didn’t feel my husband and I had ‘that much of a problem’.One line particularly stuck with me: ‘If you’re feeling thirsty, it’s almost too late: your body is already dehydrated. To me, and it’s just my personal opinion, he gave a list of excuses as to why he could have a drink, rather then addressing the issues as to why he shouldn’t have one. Books telling us to give up drinking are 10 a penny, but how about something for those of us who like a social drink but are occasionally worried that two turn into four rather too easily? To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. I can freely admit that both of us drink far more than the recommended limits – and definitely when on holiday would be up at a level similar to Adrian’s historic levels.

Yet while the alcohol industry depends on a minority of problem drinkers, the majority really do enjoy in moderation. I've raced off to games hours early to give me a chance to drink a lot of beer in a relatively short time.Perhaps he’s cut down from his past consumption but I’m not convinced the halo polishing kit needs to come out of the cupboard just yet. I have made the decision to stop drinking having realised I was exceeding the safe limits all the time and hoped for an inspiring read but was disappointed. When I’ve not been drinking at some points I’ve had friends say ‘Oh, let me know when you’re drinking again, and then we can go out’ – as if somehow not drinking alcohol precludes having a night out?

That’s where Adrian Chiles’s likable and highly readable memoir of his relationship with booze comes in. All care has been taken to ensure it is accurate at time of publishing, but medical guidelines often change, and this post may not be updated to reflect that. I wouldn’t be disowned, and I’d still be in touch with my friends and have good times with them, but it would be different.

In five or ten years, the way I was going, it was clear to me that I’d have had to stop drinking completely or face some pretty dire consequences with my innards. Just as everyone’s got a different idea of what constitutes moderate drinking, there’s plenty of disagreement as to what heavy drinking looks like.

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