One of the agreements that my good Lady wife and I had before deciding to have kids was that if she wasn’t drinking during the pregnancy then neither was I. A Faustian 6-pact you could say – babies really change your life (even if you are just the sperm donor) but since men have the easier job in the whole baby making process, it seemed fair.
Stopping drinking for about a year for the Master and then the Little Lady seemed like quite a daunting task at first. In the same way that I didn’t know if I was fertile or not (I’ve maybe worn tight y-fronts, crossed my legs and taken hot baths more than once in my life) I didn’t know if I could do it – not drink for pretty much a whole year. Now, I’ve been known to enjoy the odd drink – with my favourites being 5, 7, 9 or just what everyone else wants +1. Volunteering to stop drinking in sympathy felt like it was going to be a real challenge.
But, the surprising thing was that it wasn’t. Once I made the decision to not drink it was easy – even in the face of other people drinking and offering, I held strong. I wasn’t really that tempted which is reassuring to know that whilst I do like a drink, I’m not an alcoholic.
The not-drinking years
Those years of not drinking were fun because drinking is very important in terms of our society, culture but also just for pure hydration. We all need to drink something and that can be anything that is made up of water – be it whisky or wine or coffee or cola. The best of all drinks is probably water – there’s never a time or a place where water isn’t right. But sometimes water is not enough and you need to drink something that gives you a bit of taste.
The solution is non-alcoholic beers like Nanny State. Or my current favourite tipple – lovely kombucha. When it comes to beer, I’ve got quite specific tastes (Belgian beer please!), so it’s no surprise that it takes a bit of experimentation to find non-alcohoic beers that were drinkable (and not that easy).
Back on the booze
Now we are back on the booze. We are drinking less but taking the time to drink only the good stuff. I find that my apetite for booze is diminshed and I tend to sleep really badly when I’ve had a beer or two. I don’t drink when travelling for work and with two kids and not “babysitting” help from family, we can’t exactly afford hangovers (who would want one anyway?).
So the experiment of not drinking for two separate years (after 2 decades of liver abuse) has been positive. We got healthier, had nice skin, saved loads of money and didn’t go anywhere near a kebab.
Alcohol Pricing and Consumption
In Scotland, there is a minimum pricing level for alcohol of 50p per unit. One unit is roughly how much alcohol your liver can burn through in an hour – so to stay pissed in Scotland will cost you at least £12 a day (assumming you don’t vomit). One unit is 10ml of pure alcohol which is about 1x25ml shot of vodka, half a pint of pale ale or a tiny glass of wine.
The official guidance on alcohol is that you shouldn’t consume more than 14 units a week. Furthermore, there is no safe limit for consumption, meaning any amount is bad for you despite what the DailyWail might say one day about red wine being good for you – it’s all bad!
What was a bit worrying was that this week the BBC reported that the average Scottish adult bought 19 units of alcohol per week in 2018. That’s a bit of a scary figure since not everyone is a drinker. Many Muslims or other religions don’t drink alcohol at all, the same for pregnant people (and partners), teetotallers and those who are just not big drinkers (weirdos!). Alcohol consumption among the youth is plummeting (possibly due to it being an expensive drug) and once you’ve reached your 60s your consumption tends to drop as well. What that means is that in Scotland the average middle-aged, non-pregnant and non-religious person must be consuming loads of booze! If you’ve ever been to Scotland you’ll know what I mean – but I’m Irish and I’ve been in Scotland for too long to know that what’s normal in the Celtic fringe might actually be dangerous and harmful to your health.
While I wouldn’t exactly recommend you all to start having babies – I would recommend you trying to give up booze for a year or so – particularly if you are a man. Drinking when pregnant is obviously bad (but people still do it) and you might even enjoy the benefits.
Stay healthy and mostly sober.