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.