A month of no booze! This is the longest I’ve ever gone without alcohol since I attempted a similar project ten years ago. This was when I managed to shed enough weight to beat type 2 diabetes. My abstinence ended back then by being duped into drinking a glass of champagne at a work event. It wasn’t any individual that did the tricking, but the devious champagne itself. I was handed a glass and instinctively drank it. I only realised I was drinking it when it was all gone and my glass was being topped up. That’s the sneaky thing about champagne, it has such strong associations with celebrations and good times that my mind totally sidestepped the alcohol content. And it was free, which didn’t help.

Lager and wine, on the other hand, can’t play the subtle mind games of Moet & Chandon. I can see them coming and they can’t hide behind a pretence of doing anything other than getting me pissed. For the last month I’ve been giving them a miss. This was after doing the exact opposite during lockdown, when they became my best friends. So has their absence made the heart grow fonder or the liver grow stronger? Do I miss them or do I feel better without them?

I certainly felt much better in the first couple of weeks. I was sharper, fitter and my sleep improved dramatically. However, this has now become the new normality and it is difficult to remember how much worse I felt with my body permanently steeped in alcohol. The novelty of feeling better has now worn off, which is a shame as I was quite enjoying being sanctimonious about it. The other new normality is not drinking every night, which has become easier to do. It was just a matter of breaking the habit.

I went shopping at the weekend and I’m now spending around twenty pounds a week less without booze making my trolley harder to push, so I’m better off in a financial sense too. I’ll have saved enough for an amazing weekend bender when I finally do crack.

That troublesome Covid-19 is still lurking around, so that has meant that boozy nights out and holidays are still being put on ice. In a strange way this has helped because there has been no great temptation put in my way. I also returned to work a month ago which has meant getting up earlier, preferably without a hangover. Therefore, the stars have been aligned in terms of the right circumstances coming together to undertake a period of abstinence. I suppose if I’d been offered a free night out on the town I wouldn’t be writing this now. I’d still be lying in a gutter somewhere wondering when the vomiting was going to stop. Consequently I haven’t yet dared to be evangelical about a life without alcohol as I haven’t been truly tested. Nor would I say that never drinking again is my new way forward. I know that I will drink to be merry at some point and hopefully soon, once life gets back to normal.

The difference now is that I can see that domestic drinking every evening was not a sensible thing to do. Sometimes I’d even be panicking on the way home that I hadn’t put any beer in the fridge to chill. After a month without it I’m not even sure why I was drinking so much of it in the first place. This wasn’t just during lockdown either, it had been going on for years. All that lockdown meant was that the bar was opening earlier and I was drinking more. There really was no reason for drinking every evening, other than I’d never acquainted myself with any alternative.

Apart from launching a rescue mission for my liver, I was also hoping I’d lose some weight as I’d blossomed to 104kg during lockdown. At this morning’s weigh-in I’m 102kg, so that’s a loss of about five pounds, or two bags of sugar. Two bags of sugar definitely sounds better, that’s why I mentioned it. Relatively speaking, five pounds is not a lot. I’ve probably just eaten that in this evening’s slab of lasagne.

However, I’ve stopped my weight going up and started to go the other way. If I carry on at this rate then I will have totally disappeared by Jan 2025, as long as I can go without alcohol for that long. At the moment the odds are in my favour as Covid looks as if it will be cancelling Christmas. So losing my belly and catching sight of my penis could be the best Christmas present ever. Assuming my penis is still there, I haven’t seen it since April. If anybody else has seen it, could they let me know*.

*This doesn’t include the chap in the gym changing room this morning, as much as I appreciate your obvious interest I just don’t have time in the mornings.