And so it begins again. This time last year, I decided to see how long I could last without alcohol. Not just a dry January for me. Oh no. I saw myself lasting right the way through till the following December. According to a doctor friend, your liver only really regenerates after 12 months. Less than that and the health benefits of not drinking are negligible.
You know how this story ends, although, to be fair, I lasted until 8 February. I’d been booked to give an after-dinner talk to a group of head-teachers at one of England’s most prestigious private schools and I assumed that the wine would be so good — it was an elite group of about a dozen top heads — that I’d have to abandon my teetotalism for one night.
Veteran alcoholics will recognise the siren voice of temptation in this anecdote — the seemingly reason-able excuse, the calm assurance that if you fall off the wagon you can clamber straight back on. Breathtaking naivety. (To read more, click here.)