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An Author's Experiment

Okay, so the fact that I’m an author doesn’t really have anything much to do with this, but that’s what I am, so what the hell- it sounds better than “A Person’s Experiment” (just). Basically I decided to give up drinking from the New Year (yes I know- just like everyone else and their dog)...

I didn’t drink that much anyway- and kept it to Friday and Saturday nights- but did it out of idle curiosity and because I’d got to the point where I just didn’t see the point in Friday / Saturday night drinking… it’s the kind of thing people with a job do, as far as I can tell- or students, or people with active social lives, or… Anyway.

I’d researched the whole thing on the web and had drawn up a shortlist of supposed benefits, and I was interested to see if any of these were true- particularly as some appeared to be written from the viewpoint of religious zealots or others with a philosophical axe to grind.

These “benefits” (and there may well be others- feel free to let me know if you’re aware of any) are apparently:

  • Lower body fat percentage
  • Flatter stomach
  • No hangovers
  • Save money
  • Better alertness and concentration
  • Sleep better
  • Calmer
  • Better skin
  • Lower blood pressure
  • More energy
  • More time
  • Weigh less

(This list does read eerily like the spoken word track “Fitter Happier” on Radiohead’s masterpiece album “OK Computer”… my apologies if you don’t like good music)

So I’m 16 days in and decided to run down the list to see which I can put a tick against.

Lower body fat percentage- no, not really. I’m still the same porky little shit, although if I switch to Glass Half Full mode, at least my porkiness doesn’t seem to have increased.

Flatter stomach – no. Not unless I wear several belts too high up, and a corset. Which I’m not doing unless someone pays me handsomely. And anyone offering to do that would be… weird.

No hangovers – YES. I didn’t drink enough to get severe hangovers anyway (mostly) so this is kind of a cheat. But I can safely say I haven’t had any hangovers in the last 16 days.

Save money – YES. Obviously it saves money. And it does put into focus just how much the UK’s national hobby costs its practitioners. I don’t how I afforded it previously. Of course, the problem now may be just spending the savings on additional food.

Better alertness and concentration – can’t say I’ve noticed, which says it all about my general levels of alertness and concentration. Ooh, look- a squirrel!

Sleep better – actually, YES. It used to take me an hour or even two hours to get to sleep some nights, now I’m asleep generally in half an hour. I seem to be having slightly more vivid dreams as well, which may even make it into written form one way or another.

Calmer – no difference there. I’m not really the shouty-screamy type anyway so I wasn’t expecting to notice anything.

Better skin – no. I have quite blotchy, freckly, unpleasant skin anyway and if I’d heard from a medical professional that abstention would cure those things, I would have done it years ago.

Lower blood pressure – YES. Not hugely lower, but a bit of a difference. Seems to be consistently under 120/80 which I guess is decent.

More energy – no. Definitely not. In fact I’ve felt MORE tired over the last few weeks. I don’t know if that’s a result of sleeping better (no, I know that doesn’t make any sense). Definitely more tired though, and can’t figure why.

More time – well… I guess I must have more time (I’ve got time to write this silly article for a start). Time not spent just sitting in a pub watching social interactions has to be a good thing though, if it’s replaced with writing and reading.

Weigh less – I might weigh very slightly less although you wouldn’t know by looking at me. I think I’ve lost a few pounds, but weight keeps going up and down so it’s difficult to say.

Anyway, that’s the state of things after 16 days. Am I going to continue? Of course. My curiosity is not yet sated. I’d like to see for myself after a longer time period which of these supposed benefits I can attest to and which (from my experience, anyway) just haven’t happened.

Back to writing fantasy now…


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