I wish I’d done Dry January and avoided the Beer Sads | Matt Mohan-Hickson

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If you type the phrase ‘quotes about alcohol’ into Google you get a wide range of cheerful quotes.

They’re the kind of thing you would find on a cringe-inducing T-shirt sold on a booze cruise. As sickly sweet as some of the cocktails you can get in a two-litre jug from Wetherspoons (or could in my younger days at least).

There are also lines about booze from some of the greatest drinkers of all time including Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra and, of course, Ernest Hemingway. The latter in particular has some real stand-outs including the famous: ‘I drink to make other people more interesting.’

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Although it shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise that Hemingway was able to churn out a wicked turn of phrase, given the overwhelming body of evidence of his mastery of the English language.

Matt Mohan-Hickson wishes he'd done dry January because alcohol has started to depress him.Matt Mohan-Hickson wishes he'd done dry January because alcohol has started to depress him.
Matt Mohan-Hickson wishes he'd done dry January because alcohol has started to depress him.

I start with this rather large tangent because I wanted to give you a peek behind the curtains at part of my writing process.

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I often look for a reference or quote to help me crystalise half-formed thoughts floating around my noggin – and then open with it to make myself feel smart.

But instead of finding something suitably gloomy to match my outlook, I was greeted with just the saccharine ones. This only enhanced my feeling of gloom.

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You see, me and alcohol have not been getting on well recently. When I’ve indulged in a few pints on recent trips to the pub, I’ve found myself increasingly overcome with a sense of despair and dread.

When tucking up in my bed, I do not slip gently away into the sweet release of sleep but am haunted by my anxieties – a feeling that has often bled into the next day too. It is a feeling one of my pals described as the ‘beer sads’ – as he explained why he had avoided booze so far in 2022.

I shouldn’t be surprised since alcohol is a depressant after all – so it is not exactly a Shyamalanian twist to be left feeling gloomy by drink.

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But it has made me wish I’d ordered soft drinks instead of Moretti or San Miguel this January. Dry February might not have quite the same ring, but it’s what’s forecast for me.


I’ve avoided strapping on my running shoes for much of 2022 so far.

It was not intentional, like a bizarre reverse New Year’s resolution to give it up. But I have been staying up north post-Christmas, not wanting to travel back during the omicron wave, and thus being in a more suburban setting instead of the urban delights of central Portsmouth.

While it is much quieter and suburban than the streets of Fratton it also means at night it feels darker, with fewer street lights and buildings. Plus, it is winter and thus icier - and I found my early attempts at runs to be more slippery than I would prefer. So I think I am going to wind down my running until the spring to avoid any unfortunate accidents.

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The next sentence might be enough to get me deported back to Malaysia, the land of my birth. I never really liked tea growing up. That is starting to change, slowly.

I started to dabble in the boiled leaves game a couple of years ago starting with green tea because I am a nerd when it comes to Japanese stuff.

I started to drink tea properly during the early days of the pandemic after reading that chamomile tea had calming properties. I have now spread my wings and tried more types, even lapsang souchong which tasted like a bonfire’s ashes.

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I have yet to acquire a taste for milky British tea, but perhaps 2022 is the year my resistance breaks.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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