At the start of this month my husband talked me into participating in Sober October to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The idea is that I will not drink alcohol – no spritzes at aperitivo, no sangiovese with my fall stews, no bourbon for a nightcap – for the entire month of October. Having lost a friend to cancer this year, and having a sister in recovery from alcohol addiction, this seemed like a very important thing to do.
What I liked about this is that it would require me to reset my habits.
We embraced the Italian wine culture as soon as we arrived. I’d think nothing of a glass of wine with lunch, while cooking dinner, at dinner. Then summer rolled around with all the chilled prosecco, and once you open a bottle of prosecco, well, you’re committed. You can see where things go from there. Basically, when I get coupons for 20 euros off a 100 euro grocery shop, I immediately think, “FREE WINE!”
Plus, I hoped I would instantly drop 5 pounds, look amazing and regain tons of energy.
Nearly three weeks in, here’s what I can tell you:
- It’s clear I had a drinking habit associated with dinner. As soon as I pull out a pan or cutting board to prepare our food, I want a glass of wine. Especially on one of those days (you know the ones, with peed-in pants on the bathroom floor, milk dumped all over your kitchen and the kids alternating turns crying while you’re up to your elbows in something else). A craving. But then… the craving goes away when I sit down for dinner and that’s that.
- Water gets boring. I don’t normally drink juices or sodas, but taking wine out of my drink repertoire has been rather dull. I’m into herbal tea now.
- I’ve gotten stuff done. Instead of wanting to veg out with Facebook or Game of Thrones in the evening, I’m volunteering, studying Italian and reading.
- I feel better. Nothing profound. It’s just easier to get up in the mornings and feel like I have a hold on my day. My head is clearer, too. Perhaps I’ll achieve my Goodreads goal of 25 books this year after all?
- I’ve only lost a couple of pounds and don’t look different. Thanks a lot, candy corn season. So much for that.
- There is a Golden Ticket that gives me a pass to have a drink on a certain day. My husband gave me one for the night we arrived at Legoland in Germany. It was shabbos, it was Germany, it was a late dinner in a Lego-themed faux castle hotel after 6 hours in the car with two small children, and it’s still money for cancer support.
Truth is, since I ran that half marathon I feel empowered. I know I can work hard at something and improve. I know I can commit to a long term goal and achieve it. I know I can make changes that positively affect the rest of my life. So why not also be a person who doesn’t drink every day? Even if I live in Italy?
So, I’m doing this. For it to actually matter, though, I have to solicit donations. It’s awkward to ask, because it’s a UK charity and I know that £ looks intimidating in the US, but they’ve made it easy to donate with PayPal. Plus, the pound is WAY down from where it was when we lived in England. And that is my socially inept way of asking if you might make a donation to help me reach my goal of £75?