Don Kavanagh: Dry July takes a lot of bottle

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Congratulations to those who stayed on the wagon, says Don Kavanagh.

New teetotallers in bars are wet blankets. Photo / Martin Sykes
New teetotallers in bars are wet blankets. Photo / Martin Sykes

Well, aren't you glad that's over? Dry July has made quite a splash and it was fun last week watching an entire family celebrated on television for making the supreme sacrifice and jumping on the water wagon for the month. It was especially fun for me, as they are friends of mine and I have a fairly good idea what effort it took to make it through a month without recourse to a bottle of wine.

Even more poignant, I thought, was the fact that the O'Sullivans not only came from Irish stock but their dad Paddy used to be a liquor merchant. Surely, if they can do it then it behoves us all to have a go.

I am not entirely comfortable with the idea myself, although perhaps not for the reasons you might think. Being Irish means I have a genetic disposition to enjoy a good time and a few nice ales. Or maybe it's just a cultural disposition, but when it runs as deep as it does in Ireland, it might as well be genetic.

The main reason I can't give up the grog for a month is because it's my job. That's what I do, drink wine, beer, cider, spirits, liqueurs and RTDs and then write about them. It's harder than it looks.

Giving up for July would put me so far behind that I'd have to spend August in a state of constant wakefulness just to catch up and God knows I need my beauty sleep.

I do, however, like to have a few alcohol-free days a week. Just not Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday, if at all possible. Thursdays can be a bit of a poser as well, but the rest of the week I am happy to knock it on the head. I'm not sure if I could get through four consecutive weekends without catching up with my old muckers and sinking a few pleasant ales while talking about absolutely nothing, which is, of course, one of the great joys of drinking.

I'm not sure my mates would appreciate it either, as there are few blankets wetter than a newly developed teetotaller in a bar.

So it is with admiration that I look on all those who said, in the words of the great hymn, "goodbye to the port and the brandy, to the vodka and the Stag" for the month of July and I doff my hat to one and all of them. It's a great challenge and it's for a good cause, so maybe - just maybe - it's something I might have to think about next year.

And congratulations to the 10 O'Sullivan siblings who overcame their genes and made it through July. You'll know if you lived near one of them because you will have heard corks being ripped from wine bottles the length of the North Island shortly on August 1.

- Herald on Sunday

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