Illustrations: Megan Mericle
I’ll give you my beer bottle when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
No beer? What the hell is wrong with them?”
That certainly was the universal reaction recently when a deranged group in the United Kingdom described its 2020 campaign to help people reduce their alcohol consumption. The group is called One Year No Beer, or OYNB. (A counterinitiative called All Year All Beer already is underway.)
Ruari “Einstein” Fairbairns, Andy “Carry Nation” Ramage and research scientist Dr. Pepper founded OYNB to help people achieve higher levels of productivity, health and happiness. I’ve been conducting my own research for decades and I think beer has the happiness angle covered.
OYNB, not to be confused with OB/GYN, states in a news release that every year, “people resolve to reduce their consumption of alcohol, if not cut it out of their lives completely. This is especially true in recent times as studies have shown that people all over the world are making this choice.”
I’d like to see the paperwork on those “studies.” My guess is that all of the “test subjects” were interviewed while puking in the alley at closing time. “I’m never going to drink again! I mean it this time! I’ll even be part of a study!”
OYNB is changing people’s attitudes about alcohol, “Einstein” says: of 1,000 surveyed participants who completed the pilot program, 83 percent carried on alcohol-free (because they lost their minds), 95 percent changed their “relationship” with alcohol (it’s complicated), 80 percent improved their quality of sleep (because they were dreaming of beer) and 78 percent were more productive at work (only because they didn’t have a beer in one hand).
The group’s alcohol-free lifestyle is based on a habit-changing system: Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do – MEND. Drinkers also have a habit-changing system: Buy, Embibe, Enjoy, Repeat – BEER. (Spelling gets a little fuzzy after a few Rolling Rocks.)
“We’ll also help you understand alcohol,” the founders say. Listen, I know alcohol. Alcohol is a friend of mine. And you, sirs, are no alcohol.
Try to read this OYNB propaganda with a sober mind:
- Complete an alcohol-free month, if not longer, perhaps 90 or 365 days. I recently went an uneventful month without beer. I gained nothing, I lost nothing. All things being equal, boredom has to be better with beer. So, try the BEER challenge: 30, 90 or 365 days of consecutive drinking.
- Set rules, such as I will not drink faster than the slowest drinker in the room. Or, follow this rule: Tell the slowest drinker in the room to get on with it already.
- Rather than meeting friends for drinks, try a walk in the park, a cooking class or an escape room. Or, try walking in the park with a beer, cooking with beer or escaping the room for the fridge.
- Get an “accountability buddy,” someone to inspire you. That’s what Americans call a “drinking buddy,” you sods.
- Set a limit on your “drinking days” in a given timeframe. Hmm, let’s see, there are seven days in a week, 30 days in a month …
- If you are drinking at home, keep track of your units. It’s actually quite easy to count backward from 24 one by one.
- Take before and after photos to see the benefits for your body. No one wants to see that.
- Keep a journal to map progress and note feelings. “Dear Diary, I’d really like to kill a couple of dudes in the U.K. right about now. I feel like I’m entitled to own that emotion.”
- Educate your friends about alternatives to drinking. Brilliant. Everyone loves to hear from the sober preacher. “I’m trying to get healthy. You should, too!” the sad sack says just before he gets pummeled.
- Don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up. Blips happen. Sometimes every weekend. Let them go and enjoy yourself.
- Don’t allow yourself “drinking days” that were not planned. OK, now we’re getting into psychiatric evaluation territory for the OYNB founders. Unplanned drinking days are the best kind of drinking days. What do you think I’m doing right now? Hey … bartender!