Seven unpleasant truths you'll have to confront in Dry January

DRY January lasts just one month, but the things you learn while not drinking will stay with you forever. Prepare yourself for these grim truths about your existence.

Your friends are extremely boring

This sounds arrogant, but without alcohol you’ll really notice that Emma is talking about work again, and it’s not like her job is ‘Navy SEAL’ or ‘high-class prostitute’, so it’s pretty tedious. Meanwhile Steve is telling everyone about fitting a new bike chain. Mate, DO YOU HONESTLY THINK ANYONE GIVES A F**K ABOUT THIS? All you can do is sip your Coke and pray you’re not like this too after two pints.

Pubs really are shit 

In a haze of alcohol, pubs are a homely, welcoming wonderland. Sober, you notice the toilets f**king reek and the landlord regards the words ‘Two pints of Kronenbourg, please’ as a hostile gesture. As for your surroundings, is there any chance of a non-sticky table, and why are there completely random historical prints on the walls? Most of the clientele struggle with the free copy of The Sun, so they’re not about to tackle The Origin of Species.

You’re a lot uglier than you thought

Booze gives you a definite confidence boost, especially if it’s just a swift glance at yourself in a pub mirror. Conversely, a proper look at yourself sober reveals a hideous jowly bloke with sunken eyes and acne-scarred skin staring back from the mirror like a horror movie cliche. How on earth do people think they look better after doing Dry January?

Most telly is unwatchable

Without the mindlessness engendered by booze, you quickly become jaded with TV. Can’t everyone see that Tommy Shelby’s safety is guaranteed by the next series? God, those smug panel show comedians are really having an unfunny love-in, aren’t they? I’m a Celebrity isn’t a lowbrow guilty pleasure, it’s just witless. You start to feel as if you’re trapped in They Live. Consume. Conform. Obey. You try to tell your partner but they tell you to shush because you’re ruining Amanda Abbington’s performance on Strictly.

Just how f**king rude people are

For example: in the pub you venture your opinion on Rebel Moon, having seen it the night before. A friend is not interested – which is absolutely fair enough, it sucks – but what they do is abruptly switch topic completely, eg. ‘My boiler is knackered.’ No attempt to wrap up the previous conversation, or politely move on to another topic, just ‘This is my thing we’re talking about now’. Still, it’s not as bad as the surprisingly common practice of simply turning around and talking to someone else.

You’ve been using alcohol as a crutch

You realise now alcohol has been your crutch when dealing with everything from genuine heartbreak to mild boredom. Thank God it’s only a week and a half until February, because you love your alcoholic crutch and can’t wait to start metaphorically hobbling along again.

You’re not sure how much longer you can tolerate your partner

It’s surprisingly easy to spend a large proportion of your time together at least mildly pissed, especially if you’re a crack-open-the-wine-immediately-after-work couple. Without booze you quickly start to notice the annoying habits, the repetitive conversations, the minor acts of selfishness. Maybe the key to a happy relationship is being rat-arsed all the time, but relationship experts daren’t say so. You soon suspect this is why Dry January only lasts a month, because any longer and the divorce rate would be 97.5 per cent.

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The next six TV stars who Ed Balls plans to give a solid boot to the head

ED Balls has made the news for accidentally kicking Susanna Reid in the head. But which annoying TV stars genuinely deserve it?

Richard Madeley

If he had to kick someone from Good Morning Britain, it’s a shame Balls didn’t choose Richard Madeley. He’s been a twat on daytime television for years and doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of retiring, but a hard enough knock to the head might render him unconscious for a few blissful minutes. 

Paul Hollywood

Steely-eyed silver fox Paul is one of the most arrogant people to have ever appeared on our screens, dispensing revered handshakes as if he is Jesus healing the sick rather than a man who is quite good at making cakes. A big punt from Ed Balls might knock some of the swagger out of him. 

Everyone on Loose Women

Watching Loose Women is like eavesdropping on a table of pissed-up women in a Wetherspoons, slagging each other off and arguing for the sake of it with no clear point. It’s a mystery why it’s still on telly, and is so rubbish that its own viewers regularly call for it to be cancelled. If Ed Balls could turn up on set and give them all a kick in quick succession, like a ninja, it would get millions of new viewers and probably win a BAFTA.

Nadine Dorries

Having appeared on I’m A Celebrity and briefly hosted a chat show, Dorries counts as a TV star and if anyone needs a boot to the head it’s her. She and Ed would have been in parliament at the same time and it would have been difficult to kick her there, so he’s probably itching to do it.

Gordon Ramsay

What is it about cooking on television that turns some men into absolute bellends? Ramsay deserves a massive kick, and it would be extra-humiliating to bronzed, hyper-masculine Gordon if it was delivered by a pudgy politician who appeared on a camp dancing show. Put the boot in Ed, he’s very annoying.

The Compare The Market meerkats

Mildly amusing when they first appeared on screen in 2009, these irritating animals now have a complex backstory and a growing family, and all because of an incredibly lame play on words. All of them need a big kick in the head, especially the idiot wombat nephew Carl. Perhaps not so much a kick as a ‘thorough stamping on’.