02-Jan 2015, by Lee Sandwith
2015 will be a dry one for my brother Kevin and I as we’re giving up alcohol for 12 months.
It’s set to be a tough enough challenge but by making it public and by doing it in the name of charity it’s fair to say the stakes have been raised somewhat.
Here are the top 6 reasons I’ve personally chosen to up alcohol.
1. Everything in moderation
In an ideal world everyone would be able to operate in the sphere of moderation but, alas, we’re not in an ideal world and moderation is an all but impossible feat for most of us.
On a day to day basis I’m pretty good at managing The Chimp, but when I’ve had a few drinks he takes over, pretty quickly, and things usually get messy. This was fine when I was a bit younger but I’m at stage in life where heavy drinking is really starting to take its toll.
If I could do moderation there would be no issue but I’ve tried and failed: I’m an all or nothing kinda guy so it’s time to try nothing for a while.
2. It’s getting in the way
I’ve set myself some pretty challenging life goals over the last few years and despite having achieved a lot I still have a long way to go. These days, alcohol is starting to get in the way of those objectives.
The time spent chugging beers and quaffing vino at the weekend isn’t the issue. Not so much. It’s the aftermath which is the real problem as the recovery seems to be getting exponentially long and dramatically more painful with age.
This is having a less than positive impact on my endeavours as I always end up wasting my valuable spare time. I’m a firm believer that, beyond health, time is the most valuable thing we have.
Holding down a full time job and trying to run a website on the side is pretty challenging and there’s absolutely no room for time wasting.
On past experience, when I’ve been on the wagon for a while I’ve always had a much clearer mind which enables me to operate with much higher productivity.
3. Health and Fitness
Following my transformation from fat to flat I’m obsessed with healthy eating, exercise and fitness.
If you have an addictive personality it can be a really great thing to channel your energy into something positive and I can’t think of a worthier cause than your own personal health and wellbeing.
Simply put, alcohol is extremely detrimental to all of this, especially so when moderation isn’t a realistic option and you end up being sucked into regular binges.
In 2013 I got down to 8% body fat which was a massive achievement for me and one which I partly attribute to a long break from the booze. Looking back, I can’t remember a time when I felt as happy and positive so I am making it a personal mission to get back there!
To finely compliment the negative physical aspects I also have minor psychological issues when I’ve been boozing. I know for a fact that this is very common as I’ve had conversations with lots of close friends who share my experience.
For me there are two main issues.
First, after a booze up, I commonly get The Fear.
The Fear is at its worst the day after a heavy night’s drinking and typically involves thoughts of regret, misfortune, sorrow and even, in extreme cases, one’s inevitable departure from the universe into the unknown.
Second, I always get seriously demotivated towards the thought of exercise following heavy boozing. This sort of de-motivation can last for weeks and typically gets me into a downward spiral. Once I get into that place it’s always pretty difficult to claw my way back.
4. For the challenge
I love a good challenge and I’ve set myself a few crazy ones of the years.
The benefits of having a full year off the booze will be immense but there’s no doubt that it’s going to be a tough journey.
But that’s one of the reasons it’s so appealing.
5. Something good will happen
Given how much better my life has been during periods of sobriety, I know something good will come out of giving up alcohol. It’s a somewhat selfish act but I know it also has the potential to bring positivity into the lives of others.
I’ve already inspired my brother Kevin to join me on the challenge and there’s already a few people committing to shorter challenges.
I hope we can bring a few more with us too once we get started.
6. For a more worthy cause.
I humbly acknowledge that the issue of whether or not to drink alcohol is very petty, first world and irrelevant compared to some of the problems faced by many all over the world.
In the developed world we are fortunate enough to have the basics pretty much in place: shelter, clean water, immunisation, education etc. For that we should be grateful but also mindful that not everyone is so lucky.
Choosing an appropriate cause was challenging as I was very reluctant to associate with any large, corporate charities as I’m very skeptical about where the money goes.
This is why we’ve have chosen Lionsraw, a UK based charity which has been doing fantastic work all over the world through local, community based projects.
It’s a relatively small charity and some very close friends are involved so we have confidence that anything we raise will be put to good use.
If you’re interested in making a donation please visit our JustGiving page for details on how to donate. We’re even going as far to say that if either of us cracks, we’ll personally put forward whatever is donated by the end of the year!
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As always, I would be very grateful if you could share this article with your friends and family (click the social share buttons above).
There seems to be a lot of people giving up alcohol in 2015 – follow everyone’s progress on Twitter #sober2015.
What are you giving up this year? Let us know in the comments below 🙂