I’ve taken a break from drinking. I don’t know how long it will last. It’s not a ‘Dry January’; I don’t want to give it a timeframe. Nor am I naïve enough to declare I am never drinking again. I just think I need to lay off the booze for a bit and we’ll take it from there.
A brew to a kill
I’ve decided to do this for a number of reasons. The main reason is that I can no longer handle hangovers. When you’re younger you can mainline alcohol well into the small hours, grab what sleep you can on someone’s sofa, and on the following morning defeat that slightly fuzzy head with some fried abomination from your local fast-food establishment.
Now my hangovers last at least two days and make me feel like John Hurt’s character in ‘Alien’, only without the merciful release of a violent, agonising death. So there’s that.
Weekend is not enough
It’s hard for me not to drink. I mean, I AM British. Getting slowly sozzled with good friends is what we do best. I miss British pub culture immensely.
Seeking out some aged, dark-wood tavern on a Sunday afternoon, collapsing into cosy leather sofas as the ale and wine flow as heartily as the conversation, confessions and raucous laughter – that’s our hygge, and we’re damn good at it too.
Warms cold fingers
While Denmark lacks the same pub culture, this country seems hardwired for drinking. I blame the darkness. And the cold. But mainly the darkness. And the cold.
The bars in Copenhagen are great. A particular favourite of mine is Café Langebro, tucked under the bridge of the same name and affectionately referred to by those ‘in the know’ as The Troll Bar.
But I should state that other bars are available.
Dr no alcohol
When I first went out to a Friday bar and didn’t drink alcohol, I discovered it wasn’t so much the ‘getting drunk’ I missed, more the ritual of drinking a beer over a given period of time. I needed to hold a pint of something and, frankly, I’m not drinking pints of cola all night. That’s just insane.
So I’ve started dabbling in alcohol-free beer, which used to be horrific, but is now surprisingly palatable. It made me feel as though I was still involved in the timeless social activity of ‘having a few beers’, but without the risk of later being sick in a bin. So that’s good.
When tomorrow never ends
Another reason why I’m giving the booze a rest is that, while my hangovers are now apocalyptic, it is even worse now that I am a parent. Spending time with offspring while nursing a hangover is hell on earth. Truly, truly awful.
After a few beers too many after work one recent Friday, I was awoken at 6am the next morning by my three-year old jumping on my head, which already felt like it was being pierced by a thousand rusty nails. Quite rightly, I received no sympathy from my wife and then endured a whole day of ‘family activities’, which proved slightly less enjoyable than a ménage a trois with Theresa May and Donald Trump.
So I cannot face doing that again anytime soon. It is just not an option. Seriously. It’s enough to drive a man to drink.