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1 Year Sober

“Why don’t you just do it for January like everyone else?”

“You’ll miss out on so many fun nights!”

“Good luck with that, I wouldn’t want to do it”

“You are going to be so bored.”

These are a few of the comments I have had to my decision to give up alcohol for a whole year

Dry January only? I’ve done that before, it’s not a challenge and won’t bring the freedom from consumption I’m looking for.

Missing out on fun nights? I want to reject the idea that my enjoyment is dependent on the consumption of alcohol: I’ve always felt obliged to consume alcohol in public. I don’t want to feel that in order to have fun I need to have a few drinks.

Other people wouldn’t want to do it…I don’t necessarily blame them, it does feel like a big challenge to go a whole year without alcohol, and I’ll absolutely miss popping down the pub with mates, or having an evening of red wine drinking with my dad at home. But that doesn’t mean I can go down to the pub or spend the evening with my dad. I still thanked them for wishing me luck though!

Bored? On reflection most of my most exciting, exhilarating and stimulating experiences, conversations and choices happen when I am sober. If you find me boring sober then that’s fine, you can take appropriate steps.

My decision to go a whole year without alcohol wasn’t an easy one, but it has come at a time that I can raise money for charity, and really challenge myself. I love getting drunk, and I enjoy the taste of alcohol: the whole experience of consuming it. But I think in our society alcohol is widely accepted and we do like to abuse that fact and push our bodies to the limit at times.

I have not suddenly decided that booze is the route of all evil and that I want to go on some sort of solo quest to turn all my friends and loved ones teetotal. But I do realise that it can be an unnecessary poison. My understanding and ‘relationship’ with drugs has changed over the years and I no longer perceive them all as this highly dangerous poison that destroys lives (although some of them are I understand). I think more importantly I have realised I do ‘do drugs’… Alcohol!

For some reason our society (Government) has chosen alcohol as the one acceptable poison for all:

Obligatory after work drinks on a Friday

Jäger bombs galore

£1 shots

As a child I didn’t really like the taste of alcohol, but as I became a teenager peer pressure succumbed. I would go to house parties and drink too much cheap cider because everyone else was too. Only it didn’t feel like I was succumbing, it just felt like a natural thing to be doing, much like all the things society grooms us to follow in line with: “decide what you want to do with the rest of your life, get a job, find a partner, get married, buy a house, have children” and so on. All of these things we do and we hold them as OUR goals… but are they really ours, are they really what we want or are they planted thereby society? I have only really started to question this in the last few years as I have grown to understand myself and what makes ME tick. I have learned to understand that the judgements and views of others are theirs and theirs to keep and whilst I might learn from some of them and grow a little more, others I might chose to just decide as ‘not for me’.

So this is me, for many reasons; most of all I am just intrigued by the clarity of mind and freshness of body I will feel but anyway, this is me, unashamedly saying; I love a drink and I am going to miss the fun times we shared intoxicated but I’m not going to drink for a year (who knows what happens after that) and I hope that you will support me along the way and remember, we are not at school anymore, we are grown adults, so: ‘go on Joe just have one…’ is the kind of sentence I hope not to hear from any of you… I don’t care how drunk you are!!!!

I wish to do some good while I am at it and I know that fundraising pages can be annoying at times. However next time we are at the pub and you offer me a drink, don’t be surprised if I ask for a water and a donation to charity!

I said a fond farewell to my old friend booze on NYE and I did of course stop at midnight. I know booze will still be in my system on the 1st Jan but cut me some slack! Not another alcoholic drink will pass my lips until 00:01 on the 1st January 2018.

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