Guest blogger Dr Pauline Grant explains why she is taking part in Dry January…
I have just agreed to take part in dry January. A worthy campaign designed to get people to think about their alcohol intake and to show them that life doesn’t have to revolve around alcohol.
Like many doctors, I drink a little too much. Actually, according to guidelines for recommended daily limits for women, a lot too much. The medical profession have a tendency to drink more than they should. Medical students need to let their hair down as an antidote to all that studying and doctors use alcohol to relax after a busy and often emotionally traumatic day on the wards or in surgery. I have not met any doctors recently who would admit to smoking but drinking too much is still seen as acceptable.
I don’t like getting plastered but drink to the point where I feel clever, witty and beautiful, and so do all my friends. The food is delicious, the ambience perfect and the evening could stretch on forever …But later on I wake with palpitations in the night and unable to get to sleep. It usually takes 3/4 of a bottle of wine to get to this stage. It used to be a lot less but that is tolerance for you. Like my patients I am experiencing more of the side effects of the substance and less of the joy.
Most evenings we drink 1/2 a bottle of wine each with dinner. Pasta needs wine; steak, fish and curry all require alcohol to be complete. In fact the only food I can think of which is not improved by alcohol is omelette. We drink on Fridays to celebrate, on Sundays to commiserate and any day if it has been a bad day, or any happy day. Which adds up to any day!
Some days I plan to have an alcohol free day but frequently break this promise to myself. I have tried cutting down to one glass of wine with dinner instead of two, which I can do half of the time. I am aware that I spend my working life exhorting patients to cut down their alcohol intake (to be fair, theirs is from 6 litres of white lightening to 5 litres so not quite the same), but am struggling to do the same myself.
So how will I achieve this gargantuan task of not drinking anything for the whole of January? Given also that hubby has refused to take part. I do however buy the alcohol, so he’ll have to buy his own. I need to lose some weight, motivating factor perhaps? There will be the shame of failing, now that I have told the whole world I am going to do it. How about a reward? Ooh, I know, a bottle of champagne!?
– Pauline Grant