Londoner Nina Caplan finds a month of sobriety not to her tastes:
So I did it. It’s not difficult. Just dull. I felt unsociable. I missed the glow of self-satisfaction that alcohol brings, and the clear division it offers between work and recreation. I would cook dinner for a friend, watch her down half a bottle of wine and feel guilty for not joining her. (It was like when I gave up smoking years ago: I hated being unable to provide the comfort of cigarettes to others.) I missed feeling like part of a tradition of literary self-destruction.
... How does one negotiate the cracks in social discourse without alcohol?
This jibes with something I've long sensed about academics. We're a well-lubricated bunch; conferences and talks flow with wine and cash bars. And if we didn't drink, all of that civility would collapse under the weight of our acute idiosyncrasies.
So what else did I learn after a month of stone-cold sobriety? That it's over-rated. There is a reason why people drink proportionally more the less they like themselves: alcohol takes you, as so much slang for drunkenness has it, out of your head. I’m no self-loathing Hemingway or Parker, but a month is a long time in your own uninterrupted company. Nobody wants to spend that much time with me--not even me. This is despite the fact that I found abstinence to be good for my self-esteem, not the other way round. People keep asking me if I feel healthier. I don't, particularly. But I do feel smug.