A unique and growing collection of thought-provoking and inspiring stories helping you gain a fresh perspective on alcohol. Stories marked with * are free. To discuss these stories and related postings, join the Facebook group.
- Let’s make the most of alcohol-free beer*
Alcohol-free beer offers a harmless way to transform our mistaken beliefs about alcoholic drinks into something positive, so we should welcome its increasing availability.
- The personal story conundrum
As someone writing about alcohol I am often asked to tell my own story. I find it very difficult to know how to respond. I doubt I am the only one. Here is my attempt
- Enhancing our alcohol intuition
Alcohol is confusing and its fallout challenging, but remoulding our ideas and intuitions about it can deliver an enriched life requiring less effort.
- Forging language for change
Creating change around alcohol and elsewhere requires us to describe dynamic situations accurately, an area where English could be improved.
- Alcohol and inequality: Alcohol worsens disadvantages*
With a welcome spotlight being shone on rising inequality this week it is worth noting that alcohol makes it harder for poorer people to succeed in a game already heavily weighted against them.
- Liberty includes the freedom to think clearly*
Restricting alcohol use can dramatically improve our decision-making, the key to our personal freedom.
- Alcohol alternatives series:
Drifting: Time to get lost*
A rewarding experience need not be about being in an awesome location. It can be about connecting to where we are, wherever it might be.
Cold showers: Happiness on tap?
What I thought were eccentricities born of writing a book on alcohol turn out to be a “thing”—a thing called the Wim Hof Method.
The upsides of improvising*
Acting on-the-hoof almost invariably leads to the outrageous and absurd, as politicians have ably demonstrated, but improvising for on an amateur basis is enjoyable and rewarding.
- The best reward for a sober sprint may be continuing*
After a sober spring the best reward may be to continue to drink within low-risk guidelines, so safeguarding the hard-won benefits.
- The folly of “responsible drinking” *
Alcohol producers and health ministers should recommend consumers stick to these guidelines directly, rather than appeal to our sense of responsibility, an emotionally-stirring reminder of our bonds with society which offers little practical help.
- The limits of alcohol’s laughs
“Analysing humour is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it,” as amphibian-loving American Elwyn ‘EB’ White cautioned in the 1940s. I had a go anyway.
- Be wary of “persistent hangovers”*
Feeling crummy more than a day after an alcohol session should give us pause for thought.
- Alcohol: Take courage from competence
Like England’s footballers, who overcame a decades-long inability to win on penalties, we are better off finding our courage through practice, not through alcohol.
- Alcohol: One of many ways to flavour*
Alcohol transports complex aromas exceptionally well, and aroma enriches our experience by awakening memories, feelings and appetites. But we need not ingest alcohol to experience it and alternatives abound, opening up many exciting new possibilities.
- Alcohol: Go with the flow*
Being alcohol aware can help us to be brain aware too, by going with the flow from which all our thoughts and feelings arise.
- Embracing imperfection
We are imperfect beings in an imperfect world. We all know that. It is strange, then, that examples of imperfection should bring us surprise or distress, but they often do.
- Months off alcohol let us realise the benefits of low-level drinking*
“Sober sprints” like Dry January are a chance to experience the many payoffs of low-level drinking to ourselves and others, transforming them from abstract knowledge into a practical method for improving our mental, physical and financial well-being.
- My alcohol awareness journey*
Until recently my alcohol awareness was no more than a collection of half-remembered news items, fictional accounts, anecdotes and personal experiences. I was, in other words, completely normal
- Alcohol’s most important lessons
Exploring the science behind alcohol is a fascinating journey, revealing interlocking ideas which together can help inform our wider outlook.
- Alcohol: Go easy on the amygdala*
Fear is often our friend, but alcohol makes it more difficult to quash unhelpful worries and so prolongs the ill-effects of our misfortunes.
- Alcohol: Our legacy social medium*
There was a social media giant in startup tens of thousands of years before Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter started vying for our attention: alcohol.
- Labels can empower alcohol drinkers*
As responsible adults we should be presented with accurate, eye-catching and timely information about alcohol’s immediate and long-term effects. Anything less is to squander the benefits of decades of scientific research.
- We can avoid alcohol’s mental health icebergs
A brain-centred approach will enable millions of us to avoid the alcohol icebergs we know are out there.
- Dedication, addiction’s other half
We tend to revere the dedicated, but look down our noses at the addicted. But the two have much in common, and not only in their etymology.
- Sobriety is on the brink of achieving the popularity it deserves*
There are signs sobriety is creating the “sizzle” it needs to achieve the popularity it deserves. ■