If you're doing Go Sober October and are looking for support, then go to: Go Sober October - Day 1.
Last year I contemplated signing up for Macmillan Cancer Support's Go Sober October.
I talked myself out of it, can't remember how. Perhaps I decided there were too many drinking events I couldn't possibly miss, or not drink at. Perhaps I argued to myself that dull January was a better month to go dry.
Most probably, I deliberately 'forgot'. Oh how we drinkers love procrastination!
Anyhow, I must have got as far as inputting my e-mail address, because they just mailed me, suggesting I sign up this year......and I did!
You might think this a little odd, given that by then I'll have been sober for SEVEN (yay, count 'em!) months, but I feel like being a member of a big club for once, and boy am I going to be good at it!
It'll be a bit like joining a scout troop with an arm already full of badges! Think of all the opportunities to feel unbearably smug. I am SO going to enjoy this.
These events seem to be more and more popular. As well as our Sober October, the Aussies have Dry July. Plus, there're all the millions world wide who make a New Year's Resolution to quit for January.
Obviously, I'm all for people stepping away from the demon booze, and I've given up for January twice in the past. However, I'm not sure that it really helps....
For a start, if you see this as an ordeal for a month that you have to 'get through' with the shiny prize of booze at the end, then you never really get your head in the right place. It's purgatory. It puts you off ever trying to go for longer because it seems so hard.
Secondly, a month really isn't long enough to see the real benefits of sober. In my experience it takes about 100 days for the major benefits to kick in - the feeling of peace, transformation, clarity and (sounds trivial in comparison, but it's a great bonus) weight loss.
So if you only quit for a month, and you just see it as a temporary thing, you put yourself through all the hardship but few of the real gains.
The other thing that's struck me, from the e-mails the GoSober people keep sending me, is the language they use.
Bear in mind that the vast majority of people taking on this challenge see themselves as 'normal drinkers.'
(You know what I mean by 'normal drinker.' Those unbearably irritating smuggy pants people who put their hands over their empty wine glass and say "no more for me thank you! I've had one glass already." Damn their evil eyes.)
So, these 'normal people', the ones that sneer at us self confessed addicts, get e-mails saying (I kid you not) 31 days is a challenge mere mortals cannot comprehend. It takes a very special SoberHero to be able to do it.....31 days is daunting for even the bravest and most experienced SoberHeroes... Etcetera, etcetera.
Isn't the fact that this sort of language seems entirely appropriate evidence that many, if not most, 'normal drinkers' are totally addicted? The question is only 'how badly?' and how many more 'sober challenges' will they have to do before they decide to join us?
And one final note: one of the e-mails I received reminded me what the purpose of SoberOctober really is. It said: help Macmillan Cancer Support be there for more people as they face one of the toughest fights.
How humbling is that? Quitting the booze is one of the hardest things I've ever done. But, let's face it, it's not like beating cancer. That's the biggie.
But, by quitting the drink, that's one battle you're much less likely to have to fight.