I’m currently taking a month off drinking alcohol. Why February? Because it’s the shortest month, hohoho. It’s not that I have a drink problem, I get along without it very well, but it’s good to have a break. Plus I’m getting too old to wake up feeling like a brand new kitchen (i.e. having been recently plastered).
I find my drinking is all about social anxiety. I need a couple of pints so that I’m able to say all the devastatingly clever and witty things I’m thinking in my head before I think better of it and don’t. And, with each additional pint, so the bar gets lowered and the threshold of quality becomes ever less perceptible.
This only really becomes a problem when I’m with strangers, intimidated by people who are famous or powerful or just too damn tall, and it takes more than a couple of pints to make the social anxiety go away. I remember one occasion where I was stone-cold sober after about two bottles of wine – I was that nervous – which only hit me when I left the event, and which, after an hour's interval, hit all four of my bathroom walls and part of the ceiling as well.
Going to the Tavern sober is an experience. Going drunk is an experience too. but it’s the default experience. Being sober surrounded by drunken people makes you feel super-sober, as though you’re at a job interview or a funeral or getting your test results back from the clinic. After a while the social anxiety evaporates as you realise you’re the sharpest-minded person in the pub and could run mental rings around everyone else. Kind of like what it must feel like to be Stephen Fry.
Only real drawback is, all non-alcoholic drinks taste really boring.