I was once in a pub in Greenwich and a complete stranger stood up in the bar and raised his glass in the air.
He looked a bit emotional and it took him a moment to get the words out.

‘I just want to say…I just want to say…I LOVE BEER’

I stood up at this and raised my glass to him across the room. Our eyes met and a deep understanding passed between us. But then someone else stood up, glass raised, then another, then another and I am not ashamed to say that I started to weep.

The bar was on its feet and everyone was chanting: Beer! Beer! Beer!

Those were the days when I loved booze and booze loved me.

I would like to drink less alcohol this year. I am currently ploughing through far too much and under all the wrong circumstances.

It’s like contemplating the end of a relationship I have had within me for years, I just don’t know how to break it to myself.

I try not to drink when the Proles are about. I am not particularly prude when it comes to being seen having a drink during daylight hours.
To a degree I have always been proud of the healthy booze culture Britain fosters in the face of all evidence against it.
I remember feeling out raged that I could not take my beer out on to the street in New York and watch the cars go by. I felt a stab of inverted national pride that Britain allowed it’s drunks to celebrate their inability to deal with reality in a sober state on any night in any street and from almost any receptical.
I know things have changed and drinking on the streets of Britain is changing but I wore it as a badge of pride that drinking was the honored and sacred pursuit of every right thinking person in Britain.
I knew there were teetotallers somewhere, just never in the pubs I went to.

As a young man drinking seemed the absolute obvious thing to do.
After a really hard day at work the last thing I wanted any more of was reality. I worked with these people, how could I be expected to talk to them all night as well?
In some ways we were a much better team sitting around a pub table than we ever were in work, interdepartmental rivalries dissolved into conversations over bitter versus lager, white over red, vodka or gin and new social lines opened up. People who I had considered barely functioning pond-life all day suddenly blossomed into gorgeous cider drinkers or fascinating real ale fans.
Suddenly they were interesting.
Suddenly we were a team.
Drinking is much better than team games.
Much better.
When you play five aside football with work colleagues you start off a bit excited, nice clean kit, full of expectation for the game. As the game continues and you get a bit over heated and a bit sweaty and that old injury starts to twinge. You breathing gets heavier, you face gets redder, you clothes are sopping with sweat and a mildly unpleasant feeling that you are not quite as good as you want to be, you are not quite making the best of every time you get the ball, your team mates are all looking sweaty and red faced and seem to have no idea about passing or acceleration.
You all end up mildly disappointed, mostly unable to breathe and a sort of off peuce colour.

Drinking is the polar opposite.

It does not matter how you start, it is the only activity that makes you funnier, better looking and more intelligent the more you do it.
It does not matter how much you hate your co-workers during the day, a good evening in the pub and you love them all.
And they love you.
Drinking is better than any sport as a team game.
Sadly my days of team drinking are over.

The reason I don’t like to drink when the Proles are around is that the awful truth has been revealed.
Drinking makes you less of a person, not more.
I have less patience, I have less empathy, I have less co-ordination, I have a shorter temper and I am far more selfish after even one drink.
It is hard to explain when all your friends are encouraging you to kick back and jump into the big booze jacuzzi of life that actually you need to focus on where the wet wipes are and remember the finer details of Ben 10 series 2 just in case the question arises.
I am less of a parent after even one drink.
With both Proles there is precious little of me to go around as it is.
I can’t spare much.

In the end it is just me and the Proles and if I start drinking when they are around, perhaps I will never stop.

Once of a day I would only drink socially and when the Proles were in bed.
Over the years this has slipped and slipped and now I drink every night, or every night I can.
My body has a ‘memory’ of gin soaked weekends or heavy beer sessions in illegal drinking dens and demands a return to that feeling which means I can’t really just have one drink.
I have to try to get back to somewhere or something, something unachievable without copious booze, except now there is just me and the telly.
This year I found myself resenting company or family visits because it cut into the short precious hours I had to sink into the self administered chemical cosh I was using each day.

Perhaps it won’t be me taking a drink anymore, perhaps it will be the drink taking me. Taking me away from my kids or taking my kids away from me.
I love beer. Sadly it does not return the favour and prefers me all to itself. Alone.

So there is this substance, booze, a substance that I keep secretly in the house, a substance that I use every evening on my own.

Suddenly it does not sound as healthy as five aside football and I think we have established what a awful blight on society that is.

So I will no longer be keeping booze in the house.
If I am honest I never kept booze in the house, I would pretty much drink anything including Advocat and neat Absinthe, my house was not a place to keep booze, more a ‘loose box’ to corral it in before it was moved on, usually through my kidneys.

But I won’t be buying booze for the house.
Clever this, I don’t want to set the bar to high by giving up entirely but since I don’t go out more than ten or twelve times a year it is a fairly safe bet that I can cut down considerably.

Let’s see what happens.

I will also be saving all the money I would have spent.

Next time I go to the pub I will drink to that.

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