A sobering October

Written for Quench magazine

“The university climate can be brutal and intense, but nothing I couldn’t rise above”

On the 1st of October my co-editor, Indigo, pitched the idea of ‘Sober for October’ and for one of us to take up the challenge. This immediately piqued my interest as, due to my status as a university student, my alcohol consumption may be deemed as slightly unhealthy by the average person. I needed to cut back and make a positive and healthy change, but my motivation had been lacking. Was this the inspiration I needed? Was this the perfect excuse to test myself? I am someone that lives for goals and I really struggle to achieve without something to work towards. This was the perfect opportunity. I took up the challenge willingly and, on the 1st October, my sober stint began.

Within the first week of October I found myself constantly reflecting on my decision. It was safe to say that I wasn’t having any major issues so far. The current social climate of Cardiff and the lockdown measures definitely helped me due to the forced removal of all club suggestions. I watched my housemate enjoying a couple beers but I found it to be light work. I am someone who thoroughly enjoys a casual drink, so, for me to have no inclination to participate in the beer drinking was my first win.

Although its easy to stay sober when everybody else is, its much more difficult when your housemates are planning a heavy one. It was pre-national lockdown and my housemates wanted to go for a BYOB Indian. In my past experience, BYOB often results in a ridiculous amount of cheap alcohol and a lot of very drunk people.  A trip to Tesco left everyone with crates of beer and wine and my sobriety led me to make the decision to try a bottle of Tesco’s finest nosecco. I love sparkling wine a lot but nosecco is something that I had never tried before so I was eager to see if it would help curb my FOMO.

The Nosecco helped to Quench my thirst

I had never previously managed to master the art of interacting with drunk people whilst being sober, but I strongly believe it’s a key skill to possess so I was interested to see how enjoyable the experience would be. Turns out, sipping on a few glasses of nosecco whilst eating completely satisfied my alcoholic cravings. The energy was high, and the conversation flowed, and, although everyone was slowly getting more and more drunk, it almost felt like I was too. By instinct, I finished my bottle of sparkling grape juice and I felt a similar satisfaction as I would have from polishing off a bottle of wine.

The nosecco didn’t taste exactly like prosecco, but by drinking it out of a champagne flute, my mind was able to transport me to an alcohol-soaked destination. The carbon dioxide infused grape juice made my taste buds tingle as their cravings for alcohol were satisfied by the placebo effect. It was very sweet, and it was best to try to not smell it, but it was the perfect replacement as everyone else was drinking.

“I will definitely try a nosecco night again and I would even recommend it to others who are attempting to cut down their alcohol consumption”

I will definitely try a nosecco night again and I would even recommend it to others who are attempting to cut down their alcohol consumption. I was able to feel like I was joining in whilst maintaining myself and it’s fair to say, socialising with drunk people whilst sober is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be!

My family and friends were all massively supporting of my decision and encouraged me to stick to my goal. They promised not to peer pressure me and that helped me a lot. My sobriety even rubbed off on my friends and I managed to convince one of my housemates to go sober for the second half of the month.

The most important thing that I learnt from my month-long sobriety is that, if I put my mind to a goal, I can achieve anything I want. My final year is the time to put my head down, work hard and look after myself. The university climate can be brutal and intense, but nothing I couldn’t rise above.

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