ALCOHOL is very much on my agenda at the moment.

Or to be more precise, it’s the absence of booze that is uppermost in my mind.

Yes, that’s right, I’m not drinking – nothing, nada.

This may come as a surprise to anyone who knows me for in truth, I like a pint.

Being perfectly honest, I like a couple of pints, preferably three.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like some of the young people out there who ‘pre-load’ before they set foot outside the house on a night out and whose stated aim is to get drunk.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I was drunk, but then again I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a drink (actually that last bit isn’t strictly true but please allow me a little poetic licence).

Hopefully I am self aware enough to understand my relationship with alcohol.

Fans of country singer Kenny Chesney may well have come across his song You and Tequila which contains the immortal line ‘one is one too many, one more is never enough’ and I sort of understand where he’s coming from.

For me (and I suspect for a lot of other people) it’s all or nothing. I personally find it a lot easier not to drink at all than to try the unrealistic ‘cutting down’.

I think one’s individual personality plays a part in this but it’s also worth remembering that alcohol is a psychoactive drug in its own right and the minute you start drinking, your perceptions will be altered.

As my father was wont to say: 'The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.'

As I said earlier, I’m not drinking alcohol at the moment, and I have no plans to start any time soon for a whole host of health and fitness reasons.

But our collective, national alcohol consumption is also very much in the spotlight at the moment.

If I was to ask which age and demographic group had the biggest problem with alcohol, I would guess the most popular answer would be young people.

And true enough, the very visible manifestation of our so-called binge drinking culture is there for all to see. Some of our town centres are virtual no-go zones on a Friday and Saturday night as they fill up with drunken teenagers and 20-somethings knocking back their vodka and Red Bulls and their Jagerbombs.

But, and it’s a big but, the evidence seems to indicate that it’s affluent, educated middle-aged people who are most at risk.

According to a recent report in The Guardian 'people over 50 who are healthy, active, sociable and highly educated are at more risk of harmful drinking than their less well-off peers' according to research.

“A study of more than 9,000 people has concluded that drinking among the over-50s is a hidden “middle class” phenomenon, which should be targeted with explicit age-specific guidelines on consumption.”

Alcohol Concern’s Chief Executive Jackie Ballard said in the same report: “Harmful drinking is a real issue for middle-aged and older people, many of whom are regularly drinking above recommended limits, often in their own homes.

“These are the people who, if they develop alcohol related illnesses, tend to require the most complex and expensive health care due to the mental and physical problems caused by drinking too much.

“Unless society starts to take this seriously and acknowledges the health problems and the cost to society which too much alcohol can cause, the situation will only get worse.”

And only this week, Brake, the road safety charity, has reiterated its call for a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit.

The statement comes in response to government figures showing Britain is still failing to tackle its drink-drive problem. A final estimate shows 240 people were killed by drivers over the legal drink-drive limit in 2013, while provisional estimates suggest at least that number were killed again in 2014.

The figures show that the profile of Britain’s illegal drink drivers has remained largely the same: • Three quarters (74 per cent) of those killed and seriously injured are male.

• More than three in 10 (31 per cent) drivers killed aged 25 to 39 are over the drink-drive limit – the highest of any age group.

• A quarter of drink drive deaths and serious injuries result from crashes where a young driver (17-24 years old) was over the limit.

Brake now wants to highlight international evidence that indicates lower drink-drive limits and increased enforcement help to bring down drink-drive crashes.

But as a nation, what is our response to all the warnings about alcohol? We ignore them, that’s our response.

And it’s not me who’s saying that.

Just last week, a report was published saying that the UK government guidelines on how much alcohol it is safe to drink are unrealistic, largely ignored and should be changed to reflect modern drinking habits.

Men are currently recommended to drink no more than three or four units a day, and women no more than two or three.

But the study found that the guidelines are largely ignored because most people do not drink every day. Instead they drink heavily at the weekend – in order to get drunk.

So what’s the plan to tackle the problem of weekend binge drinkers or posh middle class secret drinkers?

Changing the guidelines, that’s the plan.

Cheers, and I’ll drink to that.