I think dry January is stupid but it's not for me to tell people how to be fun - Alexander Brown
The first time I got drunk was at a friend’s house for a pyjama party, at frankly too old an age to be at a friend’s house for a pyjama party.
We ate mountains of pasta, drank buckets of red wine, and I threw up in the pan while watching Ewan McGregor serenade Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rogue.
I was mortified and embarrassed, not least because I missed the key change in Elephant Love Medley.
The second time was a sixth form party, where I drank half a bottle of whisky beforehand while playing Crash Team Racing and remember nothing afterwards but colours and sounds.
Arriving at school the next day, people expressed surprise at seeing me, and I felt ashamed.
Growing up in a village, I had never been a big drinker. I didn’t like the idea of a loss of control, and what’s more I needed to drive home.
In lieu of a second pint I would drive to a friend’s house to play pool until the early hours, or watch Twin Peaks while eating the best supermarket loaf available, the Sainsbury’s multiseed.
Friends would offer me a floor, but to deny myself the comfort of waking up at home for one more pint always felt strange to me, like it would add so much to my evening I would want to limit myself to when other people decided to go home.
Beer was something to enjoy slowly before arguing with friends that I absolutely would not have another, even if they bought it for me.
This all changed at university, where I drank less because I enjoyed it, but because I needed it.
My dancing is limited to music I like, not the sticky floor fillers that make up an Oceana club night.
Friends or girlfriend would grab my arms like I was a puppet they could make dancing, urging me to loosen up and promising I would get into it.
But one cannot not pretend to enjoy Flo Rida, so I would drink until I blacked out instead.
Waking the next day would feel like falling, opening my eyes and looking around to see the comfort of my own room.
But as I have got older, I have learned to love drinking.
A cold pint after football, a white wine with seafood, a Bloody Mary with brunch.
Cocktails before a dinner I can’t really afford, a big bag of cans, or a bottle of red shared.
But now, in this most miserable of months, friends don’t want to drink.
They cut it out for a month, rather than reduce it generally, and I want to encourage them to have a beer with me, for my sake alone
Dry January is incredibly boring but it would be hypocritical to encourage them not to do it.
It’s not that I don’t understand the benefits, but I simply resent other people putting their well-being over my social life.
I don’t even want them to get drunk, but just to have the option of a nice drink after work, or to host a non-sober dinner party.
But to do so is selfish, childish, and makes assumptions on people’s relationship with alcohol.
It’s less fun for me, but at least for this month, I’ll keep my mouth shut.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.