Belfast Telegraph

Now I will be toasting sober Chris with a nice cup of tea

By Robert McNeill

I rise to defend Mr Christopher Evans. The radio disc spinner has gone teetotal, and I'm right behind him. In a devastating essay elsewhere on this page, I extol the virtues of having a bar on the premises.

But it's all a lie and I'm a hypocrite. For I've sworn off yon milk that comes from the very paps of Satan himself.

For, yea, even the Devil has man-breasts these days.

And lo I say unto you it's the sober life for Chris and me.

I think it was noted toper Robert Mitchum who said he couldn't bear to wake up sober and think that was as good as the day was going to get.

It was a fair point but, for me, evenings were the problem.

I got fed up watching the same DVD three nights in a row because I could never remember anything about it from the previous night.

I wasn't a particularly heavy drinker and never commenced imbibing libations until 6 o'clock. No, not in the morning, madam.

The funny thing is that, unless I was drinking socially (when, usually, I drank less than at home), I couldn't have anything after dinner. Just never felt like it.

I was a pre-prandial toper - you would be too, if you'd to face my cooking - but could put away three-quarters of a bottle of whisky before the soup, into which my face often subsequently fell with a splash. Whisky-wise, I only drank single malts and, at around £30 a pop, the practice was pricey. I reckon I spent six times as much on drink as I did on the gym and whatnot. I was astute, drinking only lighter coloured malts, as the paler the potation the lesser the hangover.

But I didn't always have whisky, didn't drink lots every night (though I did drink something every night), and only rarely got sozzled.

Some nights, I'd just have, say, three large glasses of wine, or three dry martinis, of which I was very fond, partly because they didn't affect me much next morning: clear drink again, d'you see? Besides, the olive in the glass was one of my five a day.

But generally speaking, I'd upped my drinking since 2009, the Chinese year of the four-letter word in my book, when everything in my life went awry, thanks to other people, as usual.

The trouble with drink is it does the job, in terms of lifting your spirits. But what goes up must come down and, a few hours later, drink lets you drop with a crash.

So, it's been nine weeks of sobriety for me and, I must say, it's been pretty easy. Humans are creatures of habit, and that's the hardest thing to break.

For a while, I got terrible headaches as the heavily-booted toxins in my bonce marched out in protest.

I managed social occasions well enough - the secret is to leave early - and even came through the death of my mother a couple of weeks ago.

Indeed, I think drinking after the latter might have made things much worse.

I don't know if I'll keep this up for ever - the key decider will be if I lose weight and become handsome - but I'm enjoying it for now and say this to the aforementioned Mr Evans: have a cup of tea on me, mate.


From Belfast Telegraph