Well – I did it. An entire January’s-worth of alcoholic abstinence.
And yes, it was a VERY long month.
But the surprising discovery for me is not only that I have far greater reserves of willpower than anyone, including myself, suspected, but that I actually like drinking – just because I like the taste.
I like the taste of it and the smell of it and I love the excitement and pleasure I feel when I find myself drinking a particularly lovely pint of ale or a fabulously tasty glass of wine.
Visitors to Redemption, tucked away in the unfashionable corner of London between Westbourne Park and Ladbroke Grove, first have to walk past an array of Notting Hill’s pubs and wine bars, packed with Bright Young Things knocking back the very latest in alcohol trends, from finely-crafted cocktails to locally-distilled artisan gin.
Those who ignore such delights and cross the bridge over the railway tracks, find themselves in a different world altogether – low rise seventies-style flats overlooking a row of extremely untrendy shops; a bookmakers, a kebab shop and in the middle, Redemption.
My friends in the drinks industry won’t thank me, but I’ve joined the growing ranks of those who have sworn off booze for January.
Swearing seems to be the appropriate word too, as it’s what I’ve felt like doing every one of the 20 or so times during the last two – is it only two?! – days when I’ve remembered what it is I can’t have anymore.
There are many reasons not to do it, namely that drinking in moderation isn’t necessarily bad for you and can even be beneficial, or that it’s better to have a couple of alcohol-free days every week throughout the year rather than go cold turkey for a month and then go bonkers in bars for the rest of 2014.
What attracted me to the idea in the first place was, like with most people, the thought of the weight I’d lose and the money I’d save, both typical but perfectly laudable New Year’s resolutions.