Week One of Sobriety – A rowdy night out, a quiet night at the pub and flashbacks to Family Fast Day.
I’m not saying restrictions on birthday cake and drink opportunities drove me away from religion. That would be shallow. But for many years I carried the burden of my birthday falling during Lent, when all good Catholic folk cut out sugar, chocolate or alcohol for Jesus. (And for their waistlines. Mainly for Jesus though. Really).
While I no longer observe Lent I still carry the abstinence-is-good gene that urges at least a month off something each year. For a while now that’s been four autumn weeks without any alcohol. So this year, along comes the Go Sober for October Macmillan fundraising drive, which seems a neat way of abstaining and raising money for a fantastic cause at the same time.
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, or someone you love has, you’ll already know that Macmillan provide practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care. I’ve signed up to Go Sober to support their work. Taking time to click here and sponsor me for the price of a glass of wine would be very kind of you.
Week One has been a reminder of how much of work and social life involves opportunities for a tipple. It’s also been a reminder that although there’s only so much sparkling mineral water the human frame can take, you don’t need an alcoholic drink to have a good time. Some highlights:
Thursday: Magical Mystery Tour of Art Sheffield venues. A sober Laura Sillars, Site Gallery’s Artistic Director, was tour guide for a minibus full of the great, good and slightly sozzled. The on-board prosecco flowed as we travelled between Graves Gallery, S1 Art space, Bloc Studios, an old pine workshop and Site Gallery. The intriguing snapshots of a city-wide visual arts festival were enough to keep me entertained without lips that touched liquor.
Sunday: “A quiet night at the pub” I were sat sitting in t’local nursing a glass of water when a man old enough to know better smashed a glass. Oh dear. The landlady calmly wheeled out the hoover, plugged it in, switched it on …and the pub sang, “I Want to Break Free”. (Freddie Mercury, the video, remember? There’s a wiki link at the foot of the page). I’m not sure that spontaneity – and willingness to admit knowing all the words – would have come without the disinhibiting effects of alcohol. A shame about that. Very funny though.
Constant flashback: Family Fast Day. Organised fasting has changed a bit since my school days. Then it was all about making a sacrifice to benefit others, although sometimes the detail confused me. ‘Family Fast Day’ involved eating much less than usual and sending what you saved to charities working with children in Africa. We got a little box with a slot at the top and everything. It was some time before I realised that ‘the savings box‘ was for coins rather than uneaten food. Truly. In my defence I did wonder what African children would make of the congealed sprouts, mash and baked beans postmarked London SW19. And my mother intervened before the stamp was bought.
Fortunately for me, the Go Sober for October online resource is very clear about the benefits:
- Increased energy levels, higher productivity
- Clearer head
- No more hangovers
- Sleeping better / snoring less
- Weight loss
- Clearer skin
- Healthier bank balance / Save money
- Sense of achievement
- Fresh approach to alcohol consumption
- Generally feel healthier
- Doing something positive for a good cause
Self-sacrifice with a checklist of self-interested outcomes is quite compelling isn’t it? Certainly better than one bullet point: “Your reward will be in heaven”.
It’s not too late to join in, or sponsor someone who has already signed up:
or visit the Go Sober for Macmillan site to sign up yourself.
And finally, if you’d like an “I Want to Break Free” memory-jogger, follow this link: Freddie declined a blonde wig as it would make him look silly…