SH:24 goes Sober for October

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Summer is officially over. Pumpkin displays greet you with a menacing carved wink in supermarkets and grocers while brown leaves line the streets. But with each new season comes opportunities for renewal and change. This month is Go Sober for October, and two of our team Mark (business development) and Leanne (communications) have decided to give this a bash and document the results for you…

While alcohol in moderation can be a tasty and fun aspect of time time with friends and family, over-indulgence over longer periods of time can have lasting consequences for your health. Macmillan Cancer Support have run Sober for October for a few years now as a way to raise funds for their work with people living with cancer by challenging social drinkers to change their habits for a month and make some healthy lifestyle changes.

When we talk about sober October, how much booze will you be cutting out on average per week?

Mark: On a weeknight, I could have a couple of craft lagers (because hipster drinking or drinking from a local brewery doesn’t count) or maybe a couple of double whiskey and cokes. But weekends can be pretty boozy, providing i’m not driving I can socially drink in the days and then stop, or it could carry on into a big night!

Leanne: I don’t have big nights out during the week but might have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, a couple of nights a week (just under a bottle). At the weekend it is sometimes more depending on what I’m up to - I’ll probably have a few gin and tonics one night and maybe a couple of pints of beer with lunches between Friday and Sunday.

What prompted you to do a Sober October?

Mark: I noticed I’ve got into a habit of drinking at home during the week. It’s not something i’ve done previously but have noticed it’s increased over the past 12 months. I think i’ve started to use alcohol as a tool to wind down after work and I want to break away from this. I’m hoping Sober October will help me to establish more productive ways to wind down in an evening.

Leanne: As the summer faded I’ve noticed myself fancying a glass of red wine to warm up in the evenings. I feel sluggish if I drink during the week so Sober October is a good time to have a bit of a refresh and have a productive spell before party season hits. I’m not going to badger people for money for fundraising as I’ve done long stints without alcohol before but I will make a donation myself.

What will be the hardest thing about Sober October for you?

Mark: I enjoy trying all the different beers from the craft breweries in London - and a craft beer bottle shop has just opened up at the station I get off at every day :( .  A lot of the street food markets I like to frequent with friends have a really good atmosphere that just make me want to have an ice cold beer. One thing I will miss is having a pint of frontier lager whilst tucking into a jerk burger from http://www.whitemencantjerk.com at Hawkers House.

Leanne: Alcohol can be part of most of the social activities you do - particularly those involving food so you can feel a bit left out if you’re not drinking. Also, I really enjoy trying different beers, wines and gins so have been looking wistfully at bottles I’ve never seen before - but it passes.

Are there any particular benefits you think you might see?

Mark: I’m hoping that my bank account will get fatter and my waistline will become slimmer! Even after a couple of beers I feel groggy and sluggish and don’t sleep as well - let’s hope this improves!

Leanne: If I drink more than 2 drinks I usually wake up at ridiculous o’clock and can’t get back to sleep so I’m looking forward to a month of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep (I live near a busy road so it can get a bit noisy). I’m also hoping to see a healthy boost to my finances - will need to be careful not to ‘reinvest’ the savings.

Mark and Leanne will be updating on their progress each week throughout the month. If you’d like to try it you can get more information on the challenge on the Macmillan site: https://www.gosober.org.uk/

If you're worried about your own or a loved one's use of alcohol, talking to your GP is a good place to start - NHS Choices have some information on alcohol misuse and supportive organisations http://bit.ly/2z2cX39