So we just finished week three of ‘Sober for October’ and it’s actually been surprisingly easy. Admittedly, we were visiting C’s parents for their wedding anniversary last weekend, so C did have a small glass of fizz. And we’ve bottled a few of our home made wines and ciders recently so had to taste them (otherwise how do you know what to expect in the year or so it takes for everything to be ready?! And also whether you need to adjust the recipe, etc).
But apart from that, which probably came to a grand total of three units, it’s going well!
It’s been a great opportunity to try out a selection of Alcohol-free beers. Current favourites remain Brewdog’s amazing Nanny State (for C) while P is favouring the Graf von Bayern. Shoutout also to Budweiser for their enterprisingly released ‘Prohibition Brew’ which came out right on time for the start of the month. It’s cheap, it’s crisp, and it’s been a lovely sup in the evenings.
C also spent a very un-frugal amount of money on Seedlip’s Garden - ‘the world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit’. It was very much worth its cost, though, because this is a really lovely alternative to gin in the evening when you fancy something a bit more fresh than a beer.
So what have we learned?
For starters, neither of us wants to give up alcohol entirely. The authors of our 28 days Alcohol Free book would be disappointed (they’re very much teetotal evangelists, which is fine for them), but for starters, we have nearly 100 bottles of home made wine that we really don’t want to waste. Also, we’ve realised that there is something genuinely and healthily enjoyable about a good quality drink.
There’s something we’ve learned about what alcohol represents for us; it’s very much the signifier that we are now relaxing and having fun. We know that we can definitely have fun without alcohol, that isn’t an issue, but we do like a strong tasting drink to accompany certain kinds of relaxation.
Whilst we could absolutely sit outside together with a glass of water… it wouldn’t quite be the same. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be alcohol.
Christmas every day
The chief failing of the 28 Day Alcohol Free book is its insistence that everything good about alcohol is association and what it symbolises. That is wrong. Alcohol is a chemical, with known effects. These effects include relaxation.
When we want to relax and feel sociable, we can absolutely do that sober. But a small amount of alcohol will enhance the experience (while too much, obviously, detracts quite significantly from the experience!). The value lesson we’ve learned is in making sure that alcohol is the enhancement, not the baseline.
Our intention, after Sober-for-October is over, is to reset so that Alcohol is something special, not something habitual. Christmas every day wouldn’t be the special occasion that it is. In fact, if you’ve seen the nightmarish Black Mirror Christmas episode, you’ll know why it’s a really bad idea for it to be Christmas every day.
On an optimistic note, it’s been really reassuring for both of us how easy we’ve found it to drop alcohol and relax without it. Without doing this challenge, we wouldn’t really know if we’d just got into a slightly bad habit, or got ‘A Habit’.
Have you tried a sobriety challenge before? Or this month? How’s it going, and what did you find?