addict (noun): "to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively"
I find it interesting / convenient the word 'addict' is more commonly associated with drug taking than alcohol consumption. Why is that? I will tell you why, it's because we don't like to share any commonality with this group of social outcasts. We all like a drink, so bringing up addiction and alcohol is too close to home for most of us. Statistically, at least one person in your close social group will consume more than the recommended average. More than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended guidelines - that is 1 in 5 people. How is it possible for this to be the social norm?
We live in a time where people are more self aware and health conscious than ever before. So why is it so hard to stop doing something that's killing you?
Taking a look at the NHS guidelines it is easy to see where the problem is. The NHS say we should consume no more than 1 pint of (strong) beer / 1 standard glass of wine (which is small by today's standards) a day, or 7 a week. For many of us, who clock up a week's worth of units in one sitting, this is so far away from reality it becomes easy to dismiss as unrealistic, or out of touch with today's society.
Let's talk about our illustrious society for a moment and you can draw your own conclusions about how alcohol has a strangle grip on everything we do:
- Alcohol companies have been advertising to you since you were old enough to drink, earlier probably.
- Almost every social gathering is deeply associated with drinking. Well, it would be rude not to bring a bottle wouldn't it?
- Christmas, although originally a religious holiday, must be the biggest season for booze companies. Everyone suddenly wants a 'Christmas drink"
- There is almost no alternative. Imagine yourself in most bars, your choice of non-alcoholic drinks are water, coke, lemonade or fruit juice - or even a granny style tea or coffee. That's it. It's a f@#ing joke. There is more choice between the dusty bottles of champagne behind the bar.
So there it is, we are destined to fail. We have all, every single one of us, been tee-total at some point, either the designated driver, on medication, or maybe mandated by a significant other. It is no wonder why this was the most sinfully boring experience.
It is time for change. We are the rise of the Tee-total Socialites, It is time to listen to our bodies, and not the strange societal conventions we are now accustomed to. It's time to stop associating sober with boring.
Follow these 5 hacks to survive a sober stint:
- Don't be a Hermit - so many people fail giving up alcohol because they change their very natural requirement - being sociable. So just do it differently. Take up a new sport, go hiking or, mountain biking on Saturday mornings, try a spin class, juice bar crawl. Everywhere you will meet people on the same journey
- Build your Stats - Everyone says, I stopped drinking and I felt better. What does that mean? Go get your body composition done, track your sleep, take the online NHS wellbeing test, weigh yourself - then do it again after you've given up for 90 days and show people in hard FACTS... this is how much better I felt.
- Replace the Booze Go to www.alcoholfree.co.uk and order a mixed case of beers - dump the old ones and restock your fridge. So when the neighbours come round for a bbq you will be holding a bottle and they will barely notice. Plus you get all the psychology of drinking, and none of the hangover. AWESOME!
- Why are you not drinking? - At some point someone is going to ask you.. why are you not drinking? It's not a time for weakness - you need a well prepared answer that hits back. "Are you kidding me.. kids + hangovers don't mix" "I've entered the London marathon and I want a sub 5hrs" "I'm doing a year off and I'm on day 57" etc.
- Find people just like you - You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Are you a booze fiend? or a healthy, happy, loving caring individual? Join a club / community / sport and get among others like you.
These are just some of the hacks that we have an abundance of in our new challenge One Year No Beer. Whether giving up for a month, 3 months or a year - we have a thriving community to support you and tons of tools to make it easy.