The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

‘I broke the daily habit so I get more done’

Philip Cunnington, 60, co-founder of the Group Hug, thegrouphu­g.com

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When Covid hit last year it was such an unknown. With the shops running out of everything, my partner and I always made sure we had beer and wine. Working from home, I’d find opening that first beer after work was a way of signifying it was evening and time to unwind, then we’d have wine with dinner and keep drinking the bottle throughout the evening.

Christmas was grim as we didn’t get to see our children or our parents, so we were drinking every night and at weekends. I’d sometimes have my first beer at lunchtime. We drank too much too often, so come January I had just had enough. There was no pleasure in the act. It was a bad expensive habit.

We managed three weeks of Dry January, drinking herbal teas and fizzy water. We didn’t miss alcohol and we realised the grown-up thing would be to drink on Fridays and Saturdays only. With the odd exception we’ve stuck to it. I now wake up fresher, sharper and full of energy. I look forward to Fridays as there is that treat waiting. And we spend much less money. Breaking that end of day routine means spending a bit more time on health and hobbies. I’m now doing more of what I want to do. After work I go to our home gym instead of having a drink. At weekends I tinker in our workshop, stripping old furniture. I achieve more as I just don’t open that first beer. I seriously doubt I will ever go back to drinking every day again – it’s boring.

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