Yup, you guessed it. In February me and Drew are going to give up booze. Why not in January, like most people?
Other than the obvious, that 28 alcohol-free days is better than 31.
Well, like most people, we found all too many excuses not to do it in January : I, for instance, was spending New Year’s in Tenerife and going to Milan with work — and who on Earth could refuse those tasty Spanish wines and Italian Prosecco!? Plus I was finalising a move to a new flat, so obviously I had to have a boozy celebration.
The truth is, I’m really scared of giving up alcohol entirely even for a week; and that’s a really worrying thing! Am I an alcoholic? I don’t think so, although Allen Carr, in his book Easy Way to Control Alcohol, certainly tried to make me feel this way.
But I surely am a product of a culture in which excessive and/or frequent drinking is a norm, and in which falling outside the norm is, well, abnormal…
Now, I’ve given up on being normal a long time ago, so that in itself shouldn’t be an issue. What is it then?
Here’s my attempt to (publicly) face my fears… and do it anyway.
- Will I seem boring when going out with my friends/coworkers? So many times in the past I’d hear ‘Oh, c’mon. Don’t be boring! One glass won’t hurt’, when trying to refuse an alcoholic drink. And those who know me, know that I’m a sucker for peer pressure… and a good glass of wine.
- Will I seem boring to myself? Wow, that was deep!
- What on Earth will I drink over dinner and on a night out? I don’t want to spend £3 on sparkling water with lemon or orange juice from concentrate…!
- Will it be unbearable to be dead sober when everyone around me gets pleasantly tipsy and relaxed? We all know how awkward that can feel…
- Will I naturally fall in the role of ‘the driver’? I know, I know, no one drives in London, but still… you get my point.
- Will I lose the courage to talk to people freely and be the social butterfly that a lot of people view me as? I have to admit that a glass of wine always gives me that extra kick of boldness and charisma when I’m surrounded by big groups of people (or when talking to an exceptionally hot guy…).
- Will it be hard to relax and switch off after a hectic day? Once in a while I simply need that glass of red to help me let off steam after work.
- Will I have to never ever drink wine again? I mean, I love wine, I want to do a wine tasting accreditation and I wouldn’t mind ending up owning a vineyard somewhere in Tuscany one day. Does giving up regular drinking deprive me of my ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ or ‘Eat Pray and Love’ like scenario?
- Will I experience a personality crisis? After all, wine is my vice and I am a Pole after all, and we are certainly known to hold our liquor.
In all honestly, I’ve got no answers to these questions as of yet; but this is what this month will be about : exploration and really seeing how giving up alcohol for a month — even if the shortest in the year — will affect us.
Although I’m quite apprehensive about this challenge, I’m also curious to see whether I’ll experience any of the positive side effects that abstaining from alcohol is said to have; such as:
- losing weight
- improving the quality of my sleep and levels of tiredness in general
- saving money
- improving my sports performance
- having more control over my words and behaviours
- being able to spend my free time more productively (while a glass of wine at home surely is relaxing, it also prevents me from doing anything other than watching silly TV series…)
- gaining back control over alcohol consumption in the months to come
And who knows, maybe other things will happen too — like finally getting that husky puppy I’ve been asking everyone for.
Most importantly, this challenge will really put me outside of my comfort zone — on par with giving up coffee— and, as wise people say, it is outside our comfort zone where we really grow.
So, without further ado, let the sober February begin! Like in January, we’ll be getting some help from those more knowledgable than us — in this instance, from the creators of One Year No Beer 28 Day Challenge.
Drew, who’s working on their PR campaign, will be telling you more about it in his next post, but just to give you enough info to get you going — OYNB is a one, three or twelve-month programme whereby you receive daily support emails, access to a dedicated FB community, free videos and some goodies, like free e-books, to help you stay away from booze. We’ve also got a book The 28 Day Alcohol‑Free Challenge for some extra support. We’ll be sharing our thoughts throughout the month — expect a lot of moaning and some insights on best virgin mojitos and Shirley Temples in London.