I took on the Sober for October challenge to raise money for Key 103 Cash For Kids. Here's what happened... First week down and it hasn't been too bad. But I have had to push habit and urges aside.
Day 1 was a Sunday and I'm not at work the next day so it would be a perfect excuse for a glass of red with my Sunday dinner but instead I invited a friend over and we had tea and cheese cake for afters.
The first week I was off work and at home doing DIY. Everyone knows the reward for DIY is a ice cold beer... but instead I reached for an elderflower and soda. It quenched my thirst and craving for something cold and fizzy. Several people have sponsored me already so I have to do it for them. This is giving me the focus to stay on track.
I went out for dinner and 'drinks' with a friend mid week and stuck to the soft drinks which was no challenge at all. I survived Saturday night out with the girls, they were supportive and didn't put any pressure on me to drink. They sat and supped 3 bottles of wine while I had soda water. It felt great going home knowing I hadn't made a huge dent in my wallet and I would wake up hangover free.
As the second week rolls around I'm feeling really alert and I managed the 5:15am starts to head to the gym before work an absolute breeze rather than the usual slog. It's hard to tell if this is the result of feeling rested after a week off work or the affects of not drinking. Either way, I'm feeling great and loving it. I've pushed myself harder than I usually would in the gym too. My cravings for a drink after work are curbing.
I spend the 2nd weekend with friends in London, I was more concerned with catching up with them than having a drink so we planned nights in catching up with cups of tea and pizza, rather than heading to to pub for a couple of bottles... the half way point is in sight!
As the 3rd weeks is underway and the half way point rolls around, I've noticed I've been eating so much chocolate the last couple of weeks. I'm not usually that fussed by chocolate but I figure I'm probably craving the sugar that I would usually get from booze... or maybe I just feel like I should treat myself. This week is set to challenge me as I have an awards do with my work colleagues and we're nominated, the lure of free drinks is going to take all my will power to resist.
I survive the awards despite us winning and the huge amount of peer pressure from my colleagues who were willing me to join them in a drink or ten to celebrate! I'm proud of myself. My fundraising is going well so this really helped me to stay strong and stick to it. I have a mocktail with a colleague on Friday night after the theatre, she has one too for moral support (and because she's hungover). It didn't quite cut it but it was nice to be out on a Friday night knowing I'd wake fresh faced for the weekend.
I was busy for the whole of the 3rd weekend with no temptation to hit the booze at all so a sail into week 4. Things are getting really busy in work and I stay late a couple of nights. I'm a little stressed - nothing to worry about, just a little extra energy as I work toward two big projects, but it does leave saying out loud 'I need a drink'! But when I actually think about it I'm not actually craving it, so I treat myself to something nice for dinner and go to bed knowing tomorrow I'll feel refreshed for another busy day at work.
Some plans fall through on Halloween weekend which takes away temptation from another night out off the booze. I welcome the down time to myself anyway, the end is in sight now. I'm feeling pretty smug and surprise at myself, there's no point slipping up now so the next few days pass by with the eager anticipation of 1st November. I'm looking forward to a glass of red! I hit my target with a day to spare - it's all been worth while.
I've definitely felt a lot brighter and less tired for not drinking, and although I've missed it on occasions its made me realised I order a drink out of habit when actually I could save the calories and a few quid, and go without just fine. I hope I can take this learning with me into the festive season and try not to over indulge too much. However, that first glass of wine to celebrate earlier today felt bloody good!
I took on the Sober October challenge to raise money for Key 103's Cash for Kids, they help thousands of disadvantage children living in my home city, Manchester. You can still donate, please just head over to my fundraising page - thank you.