This month has been the toughest so far. I am ploughing through books on alcohol, and learning a lot about the psychology of drinking.
I would far rather be reading them with a drink in my hand, because it is having the unexpected effect of making me think about drinking far more often than I perhaps would have done if I'd given up booze for a year and decided to research gun crime, or cupcakes.
What I have discovered about myself is that the drinking I have been doing over the last few years can be classified as "low dependence" (according to one of the five questionnaires I've completed). And if you answer "sometimes" to any one of these fifteen questions, then congratulations - you're a low dependence drinker too.
Low dependence is obviously worse than no dependence, but there are few, if any, health problems associated with low dependence, and no intervention is required. The medical advice is to "watch it".
Having armed myself with more information than I ever expected to know about alcohol and its complex, insidious effects, I will.
I also fully intend to go back to drinking and spend the rest of my life enjoying it. But I want to do that within the context of a cultural and political understanding of alcohol, and its role in our society.
90% of us drink. That is, 90% of us take psychoactive drugs. In terms of the damage it can do, alcohol is one of the worst psychoactive drugs. Lots of questions about the law and public health policy here...