I Drink, Therefore I Am: British Doctors Rail Against Abstinence

Sometimes, when the British are funny they know it—AbFab, Monty Python, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers.  And sometimes when they’re funny, they don’t—grownups who still have freckles, rich people with different accents than poor people, calling cigarettes ‘fags’,  chavs—especially those who incessantly say, ‘Ya wot??’, Lamb & Mint flavored potato chips…

…And The British Liver Trust.

Seriously, how funny a name is that?  A national charity that works to reduce the impact of liver disease in the UK, the British Liver Trust (ironically) recently re-printed an article by The Independent’s Lewis Smith suggesting that an alcohol-free January is not only medically futile, but actually dangerous.

Now, in Britian, the average annual consumption of alcohol is 3.5 gallons compared to 2.5 gallons here in America and a mere tenth of a gallon in Pakistan—which means that the Islam Extremists who blew up the London Underground were likely sober.  This probably can’t be said for the IRA who pulled the same stunt at Harrods—Irish per capita spirit-scarfing checks in at a whopping 3.8 gallons.

Now we know why she wouldn’t go to rehab

As a result, a lot of British New Year’s resolutions involve teetotaling, at least for a period of time ranging from a few weeks to a few months.  Medically, this is referred to as ‘detoxification’ and tends to confuse the body, which has become quite used to its daily—or hourly—constitutionals.  In a quest for equilibrium, physiological processes are affected, and this is where the risk comes in.  I’d suggest you contact Amy Winehouse for further details, but of course you can’t—detox killed her.

The Smith article, however, maintains that the real threat of going cold turkey is the ‘false sense of security’ that cleaning up your act gives you.

I don’t know about that, Smitty.  Drinking tends to give me a false sense of security, while not drinking gives me a false sense of maturity.

‘Giving Up Alcohol For January? Your Liver May Not Thank You For It, Say Experts’  – Headline From The Independent

No worries, experts—me and my liver stopped talking in college.

Dr. Mark Wright

But you remind me of something else funny that Brits do.  They say ‘bloody’ when they’re not referring to intraventricular hemorrhages or ruptured brain aneurysms—all except Dr. Mark Wright, who is a consultant hepatologist at Southampton General Hospital.  He reserves the word ‘bloody’ for the condition his patients are in when he makes a house call.

No clue as to whether or not Dr. Wright is on the wagon, but he’s definitely on the bandwagon when it comes to that malarkey about false security.

He says: “Detoxing feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.”

Eat toast; don’t make a toast

Echoing that is British Liver Trust’s CEO, Andrew Langford, who maintains, “It makes about as much sense as maxing out your credit cards and overdraft all year, then thinking you can fix it by just eating toast in January.”

I had to read that a few times.  Was old Andrew mixing metaphors along with his gin and tonics?  What does eating toast have to with credit cards?

I suppose he means that you’d live on the cheap in January and try to make up for your extravaganzas through the rest of the year.  Either way, it has no bearing on whether or not the British Liver Trust people are willing to trust my liver.

Abstinence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder, But Drinking Makes The Chick On The Next Bar Stool Grow Blonder

In any case, sobriety is an unnatural state for mankind to exist in.  If you have any doubts, consider cultures that eschew drink for moral, social or anal reasons and how they treat their women.   A good Irish Catholic boy will pound a few stouts, realize how attractive the girl next door is and marry her.  A staunch Kitab al-Kafi-fearing Muslim will come to the same conclusion, but being irrationally sober, he will force her to cover her pretty face with black cloth and stone her to death if she happens to prefer the company of females.  A Mormon will come to the same conclusion and marry her along with all of her sisters.  A Baptist will come to the same conclusion, but he avoids sex because it might lead to dancing.  The Hindus, meanwhile, just tack on a bunch of extra arms and call it a day.

I could go on, but why?  The only thing that cold turkey is good for is sandwiches and if you use its acronym, you’ll find that same holds true for the British Liver Trust.

Advice for Getting Sober

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