Today marks the end of 4 weeks lasting through October without consuming any alcohol; the longest booze-free stretch of time since 1995 when I was pregnant with my daughter Zoe!
The most difficult thing has been the lack of variety of non-alcoholic drinks; basically the choices are: water, juices, tea, coffee and a very limited choice of non alcoholic beer or wine. I’ve acquired quite a taste for Fentimans ginger beer however!
Health-wise I don’t feel much different; maybe slightly more focussed and switched on? I haven’t lost any weight, firstly because I don’t want to and secondly because many non-alcoholic drinks contain as many calories as those with alcohol. Hopefully however my liver is now nicely detoxed which has made me conscious to take better care of it in the future.
Socially has been the most difficult time. Last week a few of my colleagues went out after work for my friend Teresa’s 50th birthday drinks and while they were enjoying the usual wines, beers and gins, I had a pot of tea…
Exactly two weeks into my four week teetotal challenge! And it has been a challenge this week… firstly being away for work in Liverpool and visiting the Spanish tapas bar which does the best ever Margaritas… drinking ginger flavoured Elderflower Presse doesn’t quite cut it…
Secondly being away on a walking weekend in Suffolk where everyone was drinking alcohol… I felt better when I had my non-alcohol ginger beer served with ice in a large goldfish bowl glass instead of a boring straight glass… at least I could pretend there was a shot of gin in there too…
On a positive note I slept far better in Liverpool than on the previous two occasions (in August and September). And I didn’t have to do the Sunday walk with a hangover!
I’m hoping that as I’ve reached 2 weeks without alcohol, my liver is starting to detox itself and get rid of any fatty things…
The first totally alcohol free week I’ve had in months, since early January in fact when I did a detox week!
It seems that many middle aged adults, me included, drink alcohol as part of their lifestyle. I am in a habit of opening a bottle of wine while cooking, drinking wine while out for a meal and generally drinking whenever the opportunity arises.
Last week coincided with our first ‘organic veg box’ delivery which encouraged Chris and me to cook more at home and cook more healthily. This would usually have been the ideal time for a bottle of wine!
On Friday evening we complemented our dinner with a bottle of alcohol free wine, which was actually quite tasty. Then on Saturday we discovered ‘alcohol free gin and tonic’ from M & S! Freshly chilled this was actually really tasty and gave us that drinking experience of having something a bit special with our dinner but without the alcohol.
Public Health England and Drink Aware recently launched a campaign called ‘Drink Free Days‘ to help people to reduce their alcohol intake. This will most likely be my approach once Sober October has finished where I’ll aim for 3 alcohol free days a week 🙂 Lets see how things go…
My husband Chris and I are both doing a sober October challenge meaning today is the last day of alcohol for the next 4 weeks (ours is a ‘4 week October’ challenge to end on Monday 29th…)
No more bottles of wine to accompany meals… no cocktails when I’m in Liverpool again soon and no alcohol on a forthcoming walking weekend… maybe it should be ‘somber October’…
The main reason for this challenge is health in order to give my liver a rest and a chance to repair itself. Drinkaware has some guidance on this and its quite shocking that a woman who drinks a couple of glasses of wine a day for a couple of weeks can start to develop ‘fatty liver’ where the liver gets “stuffed with fat”… this doesn’t sound too good however the promising thing is that if you stop drinking alcohol for 2 weeks the liver starts to shed this excess fat!
I’m not sure if I have a fatty liver or not (quite likely as I probably do drink a couple of glasses of wine a day on average), but I’m hoping that 4 weeks should give it a chance to become much healthier.
Alcohol is also connected to 7 types of cancer so another good reason to reduce my intake.
I’m also interested to see if my sleeping improves… last night I had a large glass of red and a Cointreau and then found myself wide awake from 00:45 to 03:45.
I often have difficulty in sleeping which is usually worse after a few glasses of wine. (Probably an age thing… ) Also, having had several recent trips away and lots of excuses for a few drinks I’m starting to get concerned that maybe I am exceeding my safe drinking limits?
According to drink aware, to stay within healthy limits, an individual is supposed to consume no more than 6 glasses of wine or14 measures of spirits a week!
A quick estimation of my alcohol consumption last week reveals:
Monday: 1 glass of red wine
Tuesday: 2 glasses of red wine
Wednesday: (In Liverpool on work trip) 2 glasses of red wine
Thursday: (Liverpool) 2 x Margarita cocktails and 2 x Baileys = 8 spirits
Friday: (Liverpool) 1 glass of white wine
Saturday: 2 glasses of rose wine
Sunday: 2 glasses of white wine
Oh dear… this equates to 10 glasses of wine and 8 measures of spirits. And I mostly don’t have any days without having any alcohol…
I am determined to look after my health and give myself the best chance for a healthy ‘next 50 years’ and drinking too much alcohol isn’t going to help…
So, on the basis I can’t really see myself getting my fortune told this year I’ve swapped this challenge out and have set myself a new ‘Sober October’ challenge. Although this is also a ‘Health’ category, this is going to be potentially a bit tough so I’ve put this in the ‘Challenge’ category.
A little bit of a tweak however… I’m just going to do this for 4 weeks rather than the whole month… so will start on Monday 1st October and end at midnight on Sunday 28th October.
The term ‘Sober October’ comes from the MacMillan cancer fund raising site. I’m happy to give a generic donation related to money I’ll potentially save during October but I’m not keen on sponsorship… in fact I’m against the idea of asking people for sponsor money. It can put them in an awkward position and it feels like a form emotional blackmail i.e. people can feel guilty if they don’t actually want to sponsor you or give their hard earned cash to charity. And I haven’t signed up as I’m concerned about getting bombarded with emails…