Rona Dougall: Let’s raise a glass to the festive period. Or, then again, possibly not

Are you ready to raise a glass and get in the festive spirit? Are you dusting down your glad rags for the party season, whatever that might look like?

For many of us, this time of year is an excuse, if an excuse is ever needed, to have a few drinks. To let our hair down. But this year I’m thinking hard about how much I’m going to indulge.

The older I get, the worse I feel after even a couple of glasses of wine and I am increasingly starting to wonder if the pounding head the morning after the night before is really worth it.

Relationship with Booze

We Scots have a torturous relationship with booze. It dominates our culture. Having a bad day? Have a drink. Something to celebrate? Crack open a bottle. When you don’t join in, you’re viewed with suspicion. Even seen as a killjoy.

It’s amazing how flippant we can be about a substance that in some cases completely ruins lives.

Former Top Gear star and farmer, Jeremy Clarkson, launched a new beer last week. The pitches were going to be, “This is a delicious breakfast beer” and “If you’re an alcoholic, don’t fight it, feed it.” Luckily, the Advertising Standards Authority overruled the slogans.

Worryingly, retailers are increasingly targeting women with their marketing, selling drink as a glamorous, fun, lifestyle choice.

Maybe we shouldn’t raise a glass

A friend recently recommended a book called The Alcohol Experiment. It’s written by an American, Annie Grace. She describes why she quit drinking and how the decision changed her life.

She is evangelical about the joys of sobriety and urges readers to give up drink for 30 days so that you can reassess your relationship with booze. Such is the success of her message that a whole movement has sprung up extolling the virtues and health benefits of a drink-free existence.

I decided to try it, encouraged by my friend who was nearing the end of the 30 days and said she was feeling fantastic.