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As we draw to the end of a dry (or a not so Dry January)

25th January 2017

New Year New Me

There’s a curious paradox about alcohol consumption: most intelligent people are aware that it’s seriously harmful at excessive levels, however, many fail to heed this knowledge beyond an occasional transient gesture of abstinence. Like Dry January, for example. A recent survey estimates that nine out of ten of us will have abandoned Dry January well before the month has finished.

All our professionals at LycaHealth, whether based in our LycaHealth Canary Wharf clinic or LycaHealth Orpington clinic, are united in promoting good health, yet we’re also realistic about the “education-through-information” approach to alcohol consumption.

Most drinkers have a complicated relationship with alcohol. In moderation, it can help soothe frayed nerves, oil conversation, and enhance the pleasure of a convivial meal with friends; however, it’s as if alcohol sponsors a kind of excess that breaks the rules of simple pleasure: we consume it even though we know it will harm us when we drink too much.

At LycaHealth, we want to support everyone who uses the occasion of the New Year to embark on a “New Year, New Me” path. We also think that better health, not perfect health, turns out to be a good deal more sustainable.

Therefore, instead of seeing “Dry January” as the gateway to a life of perpetual teetotalism, we’d prefer to see it as a chance to make a modest but important reform. Vegetarians offer an interesting model: many describe themselves as such, but they’re often perfectly happy to eat fish.

We can use the term “Dry” in a similar fashion – not as an absolute but in the sense that Simon Kelner, the former editor of The Independent once used it: “I intend to become a non-drinker who drinks occasionally. And that’s a forever thing, rather than a January fad.”

Pleasures are notoriously difficult to relinquish unless we find substitutes to compensate. And that may mean identifying a drink that contains minimal or zero alcohol but which also delivers sufficient pleasure (Kelner, favours “rock shandy”: sparkling mineral water, fresh lime juice, a splash of ginger ale and a few spots of Angostura bitters).

By avoiding grand gestures that entail Olympian efforts and the renunciation of important pleasures, such an alternative brings you safely back into moderate territory and allows you to enjoy a drink without harming your health.

If you are concerned about any aspect of your health then please do pop into one of our clinics, either in Canary Wharf or Orpington or email us at enquiries@lycahealth.com – we’re  a very friendly bunch and really do understand the pressures of juggling work and family life.

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