A teetotal Scotsman’s New Year’s Eve thoughts on drinking.

I used to drink a lot. Growing up in Scotland, playing in rock bands, working for the BBC, drink was a large part of my life. I was good at it. I could drink most people under the table. I could get home from anywhere and in any state. New Year’s Eve was like my drinking Olympics, the night when I could display my prowess to the full.

But then about five years ago I decided that, like Ewan McGregor, I had drunk enough. I wasn’t an alcoholic but drink wasn’t making my life better and I was doing more of it as I got older. I don’t do moderation very well and so stopping altogether was my only option. Part of how I stopped was “sticking it to the man”. I realised how much of our drinking is conditioned by marketing and cultural norms of being sociable. It is seen as sophisticated, and an act of maturity. But it is a poison made socially acceptable by a multi million pound industry. This is always worth remembering even if you do genuinely like your drink.

The funny thing is I don’t miss it. In fact I love not drinking. Life is simpler, not to say cheaper! It is no longer something I feel guilty about or deal with the consequences of. I find it significant how interested in what I have done many of my friends are. You might be too.

3 thoughts on “A teetotal Scotsman’s New Year’s Eve thoughts on drinking.

  1. Euan thanks for sharing this. Let me share some thoughts with you.A few years back I became the youngest Captain/Chairman of my Golf Club in its 110 year existence. It like many had its fair share of heavy drinkers and the convivial pint after a game easily became a couple and then ‘one for the road’. The combined pressure of holding down a senior job in The City plus driving through change at an old established institution was enough without the drug that is alcohol so for a year while I was in charge I quit.Today at 8.30am as I walked into town for my regenerative espresso I passed the usual cadre of drinkers clutching their cans as though they had found the secret elixer of life. Each one was shouting at the other in a less than convivial manner. Their behavior and level of agression was a stark reminder of the depths of depravity drink can take you to.As you know I travel to many countries where alcohol is officially banned. I don’t miss it when I am there. And now that most pubs serve really good coffee it is becoming easier to socialise without feeling like the odd man out for being a non drinker.Today is the day for making big decisions in 2014 – you might just have helped me make mine!Happy New Year – see you in Amsterdam if not before.

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  2. Great post Euan. It speaks to me as I try and help my son who has taken to drinking a lot. I’ve never been a drinker, so I don’t really understand what makes people feel the need to get drunk, but I figure anything that you feel compelled to do that is harmful to your body is a bad thing. Of course, life isn’t always that black and white, is it…

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