BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: Drinkers like me, and Adrian Chiles.


Quit drinking?

But I’m no quitter.

I’m a regular reader of The Guardian, and remember Emine Saner’s review of the television program, which was published in August. It seems to me I’d made note of it in this space, but apparently not.

In my own case, a lifetime of drinking far more weekly units of alcohol than recommended by Great Britain’s National Health Service has resulted in an unreliable memory, and I don’t dispute it.

There’ll be no deep thinking from me, at least not today. We turn instead to a British television personality, Adrian Chiles. 

Drinkers Like Me – Adrian Chiles review: the complicated, conflicted world of boozing, by Emine Saner (The Guardian)

The broadcaster’s film about ‘nice, regular drinking’ soon becomes an analysis of much more, from his physical and mental health to society’s difficult relationship with alcohol

Adrian Chiles has a drinking problem. Or maybe he has an Adrian Chiles problem, alleviated by drinking. Anyway, he’s definitely not an alcoholic, he says in his exploration of “nice, regular drinking” in Drinkers Like Me – Adrian Chiles (BBC Two).

Looking back on the past week, which included a wine dinner at La Chasse on Monday, I’ve had two glasses of vino and maybe eight or nine beers. Or ten. I don’t drink every single day, and often go two or three days between drinks, but it still averages out to a couple drinks daily.

I’ve made a conscious effort for quite some time to try keeping my consumption of beer to the lower ABV ranges, and all in all, I drink far less than during my peak Public House period, now more than ten years ago.

At 58, it’s absolutely inconceivable to me that I could still put away as much beer (and sometimes wine) as I did then. A 12-pack of Sierra Nevada during an NBA doubleheader on Sunday afternoon?

It hurts just thinking about it, so what does all this mean?

I’ve no clue. However, here is a year’s-end summary of Chiles’ moderation efforts, written by the reduced drinker himself.

What happened next? ‘Drinking for the sake of drinking. It’s madness’: how Adrian Chiles cut back on booze, by Adrian Chiles (The Guardian)

He used to drink an awful lot – and now drinks a lot less. It is well worth the effort in the long run, he says

 … The documentary I made this year, Drinkers Like Me, definitely changed me. I used to drink an awful lot and hardly ever talk about it. Now I drink a lot less, but talk about it all the time. I can’t go for a quiet pint without someone having a word with me. This could involve a gentle expression of concern that I have fallen off the wagon (I never went on the wagon). Or, more often, a long sort-of confessional about that person’s drinking habits. Everyone seems to have a story about alcohol, about how much they drink or used to drink or how much their families drank or whatever. And this year we were even told that no amount of alcohol is good for our health.

His conclusion.

Moderating, as opposed to abstaining, is seen as a bit of cop out. Trust me, it isn’t. It requires constant thought; hundreds of decisions have to be made every week. But it is worth it: I am a bit lighter, a bit calmer, a bit healthier and what I do drink, I enjoy more.

For me, alcohol is like fire, water, religion, politics and many other things: it’s not the thing itself, it’s what you do with it. It can do you and others harm, or a little good. I think I am managing to edge from one to the other.