Welcome to 2014. It’s common for folk to treat the cold and dreary month of January as the perfect opportunity to exercise some abstention after all the excesses of the preceding Christmas period. I am not one of them. That’s not to say that I continue the festive gorging, I just don’t like to shout about any plans to give anything up because if, or more likely, when my resolve fails me – as is inevitable for most people – everyone will know.
Not this year though. As the clock struck midnight, and £200,000 worth of gunpowder was blown up over London, and happy revellers across the UK joined crossed arms to sing in the New Year, I took my last sip of Prosecco. Or to be exact, my last sip of any form of alcohol. For the next two months.
I’d had an idea to do something like this about a month ago. Except that my initial ambition was to give up the booze for a full year. I say ambition, I suspect it was more a musing that I texted to a friend after we’d had a enough pints the night before to give us sore heads. His reply was simple: “HAHAHA! Now that IS funny!”
Hmmm… Point taken.
I didn’t give it a huge amount of thought after that. I wasn’t resigned to the idea that I couldn’t do it, I just hadn’t exactly made my mind up. But then a chance conversation at our office Christmas drinks with my good friend and desk buddy Janet Harmer occurred. Over plastic cups of wine, she said that in order to fully prepare for her forthcoming charity trek across the Annapurna mountain range in Nepal in March, she would give up alcohol.
“I’ll do it with you!” I gushed. What a good idea, I thought. Two months is much easier than 12 but a bit more of an effort than the standard dry January, suiting my aim to challenge myself just that bit more. And more importantly, I really wanted Janet to know she had my full support.
So here I am. Day one into a 59 day dry spell and, well, it’s fine! But then of course it’s fine. Today has been a lazy day at home with family, avoiding the horrific start to the January weather. Harder will be when I’m back at work as a journalist that writes about hospitality and, as you can imagine, gets to take the odd sample of the operations about which I write.
But you know what? I’m surprisingly optimistic. And that’s despite waking up to an amusing message from my aforementioned skeptical friend telling me that between me and Janet, he’s not sure who faces the hardest challenge. He’s right. I like a drink with friends. I really do.
However I’m convinced that my decision to make my efforts count in a worthwhile way, by begging friends and family to support me through sponsorship for two charities – Springboard and Cancer Research UK – will carry me through.
So if you’d like to throw the cost of a pint in London towards a couple of very good causes, I’ll be most grateful. Or if you like the idea of throwing your weight behind the lovely Janet – who quite literally has the bigger hill to climb in terms of both the trek and her fundraising target – we’d both be over the moon.