I used the ‘Try Dry’ app to track my progress through this year’s Dry January challenge. And while January wasn’t much of a challenge at all, the app recently suggested I set another goal: Sober Spring.
And I think I’m up for it.
Unlike the thirty-one day sprint through a month of no booze, ‘Sober Spring’ covers a three month period from 20th March to 20th June – 92 days of no alcohol. And let nobody say I’m not up for a challenge!
Are you mad?
For me, Dry January was really all about staying at home, avoiding London’s pubs prices and saving money. While also giving my body a break from beer. But as we head into Spring, with its longer evenings and outdoor socialising, the temptation to go out will be real.
But does ‘going out’ have to equal ‘going for beers’?
In my head, it’s about separating socialising from alcohol. And while, on paper, that sounds easy, here in the UK it’s a logistical challenge. After work? Go to the pub? Celebrating? Go to the pub. Birthdays? Pub. Lose your job? Pub. It seems to be the answer to so many questions, it’s not even challenged.
And while I’m fully aware that there are alternatives to pubs here in London, it might take a bit of planning to avoid being a social outcast.
I don’t want to turn into a hermit and avoid all socialising, that’s for sure. But I may be a bit more choosy as to where meet friends – hoping for a decent alcohol-free beer on the menu as a minimum.
And as the last few years of Dry January have illustrated to me, it takes no more than a few days to get out of the habit of automatic pub visits at the weekend and just a few more to start feeling better. Not in a ‘New Year, new me’ way, but in a subtle, ‘spring in my step’ way. As if I’ve just come back from a nice holiday. Which probably says a lot about what alcohol does to our bodies.
In fact, the only time I remember feeling similar was when I had to go on an exclusion diet, to identify if I was allergic or intolerant to various foods. After a month of no sugar or wheat, I felt like I could take on the world!
I’m just not sure I could cut out sugar and booze at the same time. I like a challenge, but I’m not a masochist! Maybe that’s a mission for next year.
And at the ripe old age of 46, I’m fully aware that I just can’t process alcohol like I used to. In fact, it has such an appalling impact on my sleep that it’s more of a hassle now and to be avoided during the week.
I promise not to become an anti-beer bore on here, but I will come back and report progress.