Note: this is my version. As you'll see the Irish Times's edit made me a sound a bit more repentant at the end than I actually was.
Published in The Irish Times, January 2011
I spent the holidays at home in Galway as usual. My only drink on Christmas Eve was a glass of white wine, which I used to wash down some crabmeat, brown bread and chocolate cheesecake (though not in the same mouthful) at a friend's house. I planned to soberly spend Christmas Day geeking out over my new David Attenborough DVDs, but my mother had other ideas. "Why don't we watch The Notebook?" she insisted, with my 15 year old sister backing her up. I reckoned my naggin of whiskey and four small bottles of Grolsch would be enough to make the film tolerable. It wasn't nearly. I had pretty much the same St Stephen's Day experience I suspect most people do: pretend to have fun while spending most of the night queuing for the bar or fighting to hold on to an area of dancefloor the size of your foot. Total drinks consumed? Three small bottles of Grolsch and two big bottles of Erdinger before going out, and four pints of Galway Hooker pale ale in the pub.
I spent the evening of the 27th in a bar relaxing over two pints of Galway Hooker and a Hoegaarden while watching the love of my life, Arsenal Football Club, thump Chelsea 3-1. The following evening I stopped by a friend's house with a rucksack full of booze, but only drank one Erdinger and three Grolsch while failing miserably at Buzz Junior, a Playstation game designed for kids aged three and up.
I embraced sobriety on the 29th (or rather I couldn't find anyone willing to go to the pub with me) but made up for it the next night, which started with two pints of Galway Hooker and a pint of Pilsner Urquell at half five, followed by four whiskey and cokes with some friends in their hotel room. Then back to the pub for four pints of Galway Hooker, after which going to a friend's house at 3am for two gin and tonics seemed like a perfectly logical idea.
New year's eve started at a friend's house with three whiskey and cokes and a Grolsch. At 11pm I left for a party outside the city. Most people there seem convinced that getting into the sauna was the best way to start the new the new year — after my seventh whiskey and coke it seemed an absurd suggestion, but after my eighth it made perfect sense.
And that was that. Though my mother has just suggested I join her to watch Poseidon — the remake — tonight (I'm writing this on New Year's Day) so I might still need a last nightcap or two. I'm feeling fairly exhausted, and aware that I drank far too much over the holidays. But gross overconsumption at Christmas gives us the motivation to spend at least the first two weeks of the new year being healthy, before lazily and inevitably regressing into bad habits again. And that's better than not trying at all, right?