It’s that time of year again. Students nationwide are attempting to give up their most potent vices for 40 days and 40 nights. Some forsake chocolate, some dairy and some courageous individuals endeavour to refrain from the enticing thrill of actually doing some academic work. We asked around to find out what temptations Impact are trying to kick.
The clock struck 12 Midnight on Wednesday 13th February 2013, and that was it. No booze for 40 days and 40 nights. As a student, and a bust one at that, I’d taken the gargantuan step of abstaining from all things alcoholic for the Lent period.
Easy? Give me a break.
For somebody who journeys into town at least twice a week for gigs and acoustic nights and then to the football at the weekend, drinking is a social thing rather than the ‘let’s-get-hammered-Binge-Drinking-culture’ idea. I’d regularly have two or three pints at a gig, and the same at the football, so I thought giving up was a challenge to see what sobriety was really like. I wouldn’t call myself a binge drinker as I never drink to get drunk, so just days into my abstinence from the delicious amber ale I ventured into town for a gig.
The idea of sobriety was admittedly admirable, but far greater a challenge than I’d ever expected. Seeing all of your friends sipping on an ice cold pint that was unbelievably cheaper than a lemonade was heartbreaking. Just 11 days into my mammoth task I cracked. I was offered a VIP Invite to a bar in Nottingham where it was free booze all night, and my inner student just couldn’t resist.
Do I regret trying and failing? Not one bit. For my failing sins, I donated a pound for every day I failed to reach to my favourite charity to balance out my bad deed. Think it’s easy? Go ahead…
This year a badly timed bout of flu that denied me Pancake Day brought about a change in the way I view Lent. Without a belly full of guilt, I dispelled years of unoriginal Lent promises that were thought up as a second and somewhat less committal chance at a New Year’s resolution such get fitter, work harder, look after my liver. Or those that were simply a direct response to Pancake Day indulgence, including no more sugar, chocolate or, my vice, biscuits.
This year I thought back to my days in primary school and remembered some of the suggestions we received as children. One of these was- ‘Do something nice for someone every day’. This seemed like a great one, though here comes the crux of the matter- I added an extra clause. I am not allowed to tell anyone what my kind act was. Here in lies the challenge since (besides bedtime prompting the sleepy realisation that I am going to have to run downstairs and do my friends washing up) being kind and helpful without being able to bask in the golden glow of appreciation is much harder.
I’ve realised maybe I’m not so nice after all, but during this Lent I’m learning to be.
When I noticed that Lent was approaching once again, I had a good hard think about what I should give up. I had one vice which I knew I should try and overcome – Lent itself.
The concept of giving up Lent for Lent was an intimidating prospect, but I mustered the necessary courage and decided to give it my all. There are times when a man has to stand straight and face challenges head on and I knew that this was not something I could avoid.
Despite my trepidation, it started wonderfully. I barely missed the experience of Lent whatsoever – it was like I wasn’t giving up anything at all! Such optimism was not to last however and by the end of the first week the strain was beginning to show. It was little things to start with – I couldn’t sleep properly, I stopped attending lectures and my kill/death ratio on Team Fortress 2 started to slip.
By the end of the second week I knew things were serious. I had a long unkempt beard and couldn’t eat anything – I even woke up hanging from the clock tower of the Trent building like a bat.
My life was falling to pieces and so to my shame I did the unthinkable. I gave up giving up Lent for Lent.
I may have reclaimed my sanity, but I will never truly recover my self-respect…