Fancy losing weight, saving money, giving yourself a major health boost and raising money for an amazing charity? Then why not join hands with Macmillan Cancer Support and become a ‘soberhero’: don a cape – and a halo – and go sober for October? Not only will you detoxify for Christmas – you can also put your hair shirt away and duck dry January, never the best month to go cold turkey. Just 31 days off the sauce, and you’ll be set for the festive season.
What are the benefits? First up there’s a bunch of health benefits.
Sleep like a baby
We’re living through a plague of insomnia, with nowhere near enough of us getting the sleep we need. Although a few glasses of wine can feel like a good nightcap, quitting the booze can seriously boost your sleep. Alcohol knocks out those all-important REM cycles. After a few nights without the grog, chances are you’ll be sleeping better and feeling, well, less groggy.
Hydration, hydration, hydration
When you drink, your body typically sheds four times the liquid you’ve consumed. Dehydration gives you headaches, plus your sodium and potassium levels drop, effecting your nerves and muscles. Drop the booze and you’ll stay hydrated and likely get an energy and concentration boost. It can also lift mood and improve your skin.
Shed some weight
Alcohol is calorific. If all you drink is six pints of lager – or large glasses of wine – a week, you’ll still be dropping in the region of a thousand calories. Great for your waistline – and your bank account. Alcohol also irritates your stomach lining – so you’ll enjoy missing out on gastric reflux, where stomach acids burn your throat. Three or so weeks into the month and your blood pressure might start to drop, particularly if you’ve been overdoing it before.
Love that liver
Alcohol reduces liver function – particularly if you’re drinking too much. Impaired liver function can start to improve within four weeks, which means it’ll sieve out those toxins more effectively, giving your whole body a boost.
But going sober for a month is not just good for your health. Even if you’re drinking six pints a week, it’ll save you money – over a hundred pounds if you’re buying them in a pub, even more if you’re drinking the equivalent in wine. And time spent sober is almost always more productive than time under the influence – chances are you’ll get loads more done.
Sober October – how does it work?
It’s dead simple. Go to the website. Sign up. Give up booze for 31 days. (There’s also a cheeky little golden ticket – you get one night off being sober, although it’ll cost you a 15 quid donation) Raise money for Macmillan. Help people living with cancer.
How will my money help?
Macmillan believe that everyone living with cancer deserves the very best healthcare and support. No argument. But that costs money. Everything from free booklets on living with cancer through mobile cancer information units to the amazing Macmillan nurses. Your money can make a big difference.
And if you feel tempted – and don’t want to waste your golden ticket – don’t worry. Here’s a lovely recipe for an alcohol-free G&T.
Bruise five cardamom pods and slice half a cucumber. Put in a large jug along with a chamomile teabag, half a bunch of mint, 5 cloves, a strip of lemon zest and half a bunch of rosemary. Add half a litre of cold water and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours to infuse. When it’s ready to drink, strain 50 ml into a glass, add a pile of ice, top up with soda water, garnish with a little extra mint and some pomegranate seeds. Chink chink. Delicious.