Last month I participated in Sober October, and it was an interesting experience to say the least. Mental headspace and physical health were my main reasons for Sober October, but others do it for more charitable intentions.
Interesting is a vague word, but also sums up the reaction many people had when I said that I was participating. These reactions in many ways can be summed to as this:
Oh thats so brave! I could never do that- I love drinking too much.
This statement often came from fellow students. We might be in a social space, going for dinner or even just meeting for drinks – and it felt like there was a fixation or mild surprise at my contentedness at not having a beer or general alcoholic drink. As students and people in our early twenties I feel like there is an expectation that we need to have a drink in order to be content in a setting like a bar or club. We are conditioned to feel slightly uncomfortable not to have a drink in our hand or on the table in front of us. I’m not gonna lie to you and say that it wasn’t a little odd at first. Early in the month we went out in Glasgow to the monthly ‘Push-It’ night in Stereo (great night would recommend), and once I committed mentally to just relaxing and having a boogie with my pals it was great craic. I didn’t at all stress about not having had enough to drink or any of those thoughts that I’m sure go through our mind’s when ‘out on the town’.
I think that people also feel a little judged, even if this is a subconscious feeling. I think there is some weird moral association with the active choice of not drinking, one that is different to not drinking due to being on antibiotics or physical illness. My soda water & lime sitting on the table being a reminder that “I’m being good” or whatever bullshit the social media and capitalist world has taught us to think when trying to justify not having a beer.
Other observations from Sober October?
Well, I got tired quite quickly of the topic of my choice in not drinking.
Aside from that, I saved a fair bit of money and it was nice waking up in the mornings feeling fresh. That and now I have a really low alcohol tolerance so I guess that means some cheap nights out in the coming weeks.
Would I reccommend others to do a month of not drinking?
Yes. Because it is good to give your body and mental space a bit of a break. Also I think it is important to be comfortable with not having a drink in a social situation. Its still possible to have a good boogie or fun at a flat party without drinking- at the end of the day if you’re with the right people or in the right frame of mind its probably going to be fun anyways.
Ciao for now