The Sophisticated Alcoholic
I wanted to get this book review of The Sophisticated Alcoholic in before the end of January as this is the month when people assess their lifestyles and habits post the excess of Christmas where, let’s be honest, nigh on everyone overdoes it in some respect. Be it food, drink, partying till the wee hours and depriving ourselves of much needed sleep, overindulgence can wreak havoc on our bodies both mentally and physically.
The concept of “Dry January” has been written about in the media more so than ever this year, where by people abstain from alcohol for either the whole month of January or commit to a dry week or two every so often. This kind of activity has been deemed “medically futile” by The British Liver Trust, who say “It can lead to a false sense of security and feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.” Instead, they recommend adopting a long term change in attitude and not drinking for a few days/nights of the week to give your liver a break.
I found The Sophisticated Alcoholic a really interesting read and got through it in one sitting. The book is targeted at those “who are, for the most part, in control of their lives but know they drink too much. Whilst they maintain these consumption levels in a well managed and ‘sophisticated’ manner, they would like to drink less – or not at all.” Me? Most definitely! Many people I know? Absolutely. I can think of at least three people who’ve tried a “Dry January” this month and failed. The funny thing is I cut down my alcohol intake before I even read this book; I guess once I was aware of its existence and that I was going to write about it I realised there was no escaping it! Plus as you will have read in my review of Matt Roberts’ Get Running, I’ve started running in the mornings and I get so much more out of this (I’m talking mentally and physically not just distance!) when I’m fresh.
In England, around 40 million of the adult population drink, over 10 million at levels considered to be potentially or actually harmful to them and over 1 million of these are dependent on alcohol. The book itself is not preaching or patronising and has an excellent introduction about the psychology of why people drink and why some people drink so much. It also offers some advice on alternative therapies, shows that there is an alternative to Alcohol Anonymous and that once you change the way you perceive yourself and your relationship with alcohol there will never be an issue again. The book does not say never touch a drop of alcohol again like the 12 Step Program of AA does, it’s a realistic and honest approach but to get something out of this book you have to take a good look at yourself, be brutally honest and want to make a real change!
Just remember, all things in moderation! And for those readers who do permanently abstain, a report has shown that this may do more harm than good to your health, read more here