With Dry January now thankfully in the dim and distant past and my weight, for now, where I want it, I’m feeling free to resume my usual drinking routine.
For the most part this consists of four nights – Monday to Thursday – of abstinence and two nights – Friday and Saturday – where I’m likely to have a double gin & tonic and a couple of large glasses of red wine.
I used to have a bit of wine with my Sunday dinner but I’m trying to give that up but do allow myself a glass of G & T if I’m in the mood. Occasionally I’ll have a few drinks if I’m seeing a friend in the week though this is no more than once every few weeks.
The whole regime goes to pot though when I’m on holiday which usually involves having a drink every day sometimes starting at lunchtime. All in all that probably adds another 40 odd days of weekday drinking to the count.
I’m pretty relaxed about what I drink though with my relatively recent conversion to gin and tonic it is on a slight upward curve. Now I’ll drink spirits and wine on an evening when it used to be just the wine.
When Mrs Jones retires I look forward to spending a month or more on the south of France in the LoveBus campervan which might involve a little bit more discipline with my holiday drinking.
National health disaster
I’m thinking about all this because an article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday caught my eye: ‘Middle-aged drinkers fuel national health disaster’.
I liked it first of all because it described 55 to 64 year-olds as “middle-aged” but then it went on to describe my generation as the “booziest … contributing to a 60 percent rise in alcohol-related hospital admissions in a decade.”
Offical figures show that I’m in the age group where men and women are most likely to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, the maximum amount recommended by the NHS.
Four in ten men and one in five women this age exceed this intake, the statistics show. Experts say middle-aged drinking is a hidden problem often driven by stress, financial woes and “big life events”. This has led to a record 1.3 million alcohol-related hospital admissions – a near doubling in a decade – which amounts to a “national health disaster”.
Interestingly younger Britons, aged 25 to 34, are far more abstemious, something certainly borne out by more own children, with them only half likely to exceed Government alcohol recommendations.
These are a sobering statistics indeed and represent a disturbing trend. It’s sad that stress should remain such big part of life as people leave work behind and head towards what we all hope will be the relatively relaxed years of retirement.