The Good Drinker: How I Learned to Love Drinking Less

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The Good Drinker: How I Learned to Love Drinking Less

The Good Drinker: How I Learned to Love Drinking Less

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A meandering love letter from Chiles to his other half - alcohol. Any occasion without it is rubbish, even those with his 500 closest friends and his family. Cirrhosis, fatty liver and being old don't deter Chiles from moaning "I don't know what to do with people who don't drink". He actively avoids making friends with teetotallers and light drinkers, believing that meaningful connections can only be forged with alcohol. Having had Allan Carr's The Easy Way to Control Alcohol for a few years and never had the inclination to get round to reading it, I thought I would give this a go as it seemed a bit more likely and a bit more achievable for me.

The prose is quite chatty, but that is to be expected for what is effectively someone's memoir of their relationship with alcohol. I was almost averse to labelling this an autobiography, but there are some allusions to the slightly tougher parts of his life, both on and off the screen. Chiles tends to avoid the potential of it being self-indulgent and distracting from what is a rather consistent and well-constructed argument for moderation.It's all padded out with some long-winded percentage calculations of how many drinks he "WANTED/NEEDED/ENJOYED" in certain phases of his life - you can skip these. The thought of never drinking alcohol frightens me as there are so many social and cultural influences around us to drink alcohol and similarly to Adrian, the happy times of my life have been about socialising and drinking with friends. It is certainly easier to be at an event where you know no one to have a glass of wine in hand. However, the glass of wine after a hard day at work (oh poor me working in a book shop) I can generally do without, they've become a habit and the "hard day at work" is just an excuse. First book of the year as I wasn't entirely sure where to start but this stood out to me. As someone who enjoyed Chiles' 2018 documentary Dry January after a rather Wet December has been the sort of moderate conversation I've always really wanted to have with someone.

I really enjoyed the "moderators" he includes as real people with their own tactics to keep consumption at a healthy level. I also enjoyed Adrian's personal stories which made this far less like a medical self help guide and more just about his own journey with Alcohol, which many should relate to. He never ignores arguments for people choosing to go completely teetotal and he also seems honest about the fact that there is no right answer for everyone and in some circumstances, moderation just isn't an option.The popular broadcaster and columnist sets out to discover the unsung pleasures of drinking in moderation. Perfect for a trivia night or a long trip, #TrainTeasers will both test your knowledge of this country`s rail system and enlighten you on the most colourful aspects of its long history. Meet trunk murderers, trainspotters, haters of railways, railway writers, Ministers for Transport good and bad, railway cats, dogs and a railway penguin. This is NOT a book for number-crunching nerds. Many of the answers are guessable by the intelligent reader. It is a quiz, yes, but also a cavalcade of historical incident and colour relating to a system that was the making of modern Britain. I think he makes a clear case for having a middle ground with drinking rather than abstaining altogether. He also comes at it from a familiar perspective, having had alcohol as a big part of social events and life in general, especially during his twenties/thirties. He thanks "the clinicians who’ve given me so much of their time sharing their expertise", but why not put some in the book? He assures us "there are mountains of scientific studies on all this" and he has done "a fair amount of reading and listening on the subject". Drinking 100s of units a week, he says, meant facing "some pretty dire consequences with my innards". Don't buy this book thinking you'll learn anything at all about the effects of alcohol on health. I am completely in the same headspace as in that I enjoy drinking and if I can do it moderately then why give up the habit of a lifetime. Since the new year my drinking diary says I have averaged 15.78 units/week so not quite to the government's safe drinking guide level yet but close.

Books telling us to give up drinking are 10 a penny, but how about something for those of us who like a social drink but are occasionally worried that two turn into four rather too easily? That’s where Adrian Chiles’s likable and highly readable memoir of his relationship with booze comes in. He writes that “the vast majority of drinkers like me believe they are not problem drinkers”. He details his experiences in cutting down, to comic and insightful effect, and skilfully but never preachingly, offers suggestions for others, too. The Little Blue Flames I've occasionally been asked why it is that I need to go for a drink before watching the Albion play. I've always answered with something lame, along the lines of, "You wanna try watching us sober" ... where does this urge come from? I've raced off to games hours early to give me a chance to drink a lot of beer in a relatively short time ... the craic is good, usually. Sometimes it isn't, Occasionally it's all rather boring. But I always make the effort. Why? Well..' There were a few figures and facts that stood out to me. Although, also a few that felt incredibly obvious and common sense. It never felt overly preachy or overly "self-help", as it was littered with enough personal and other stories to keep it enjoyable whilst trying to give an argument for moderation. Whilst I'm sure for a lot of people abstinence is the only way, cutting down and being more thoughtful about my drinking of wine works for me.Adrian never talks down to the reader and is very open about his shift in perspective when faced by medical advice to cut down (after being sure he wasn't doing much harm with his weekly units each week). If you’re drinking more than 50 units a week. and think 14 is a ludicrous impossibility but you're developing diseases, just cut down to 30. GPs won't say this but they should. Some diversionary tactics will ensure none of your 500 friends will notice and disown you. If you can drop to 30 units, your health will improve enormously! I read some stuff. Don't waste good drinking time trying to get down to 14 units. It's stupid. You'll be boring. Don't be teetotal, unless you're a famous comedian. Do NOT try to drink 'occasionally', unless you're not one of my 500 friends.

Have to say, this was a really well written and easy to follow read on Chiles' life with alcohol and how he kept it in his life without losing the ability to have it altogether.

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