After a booze-heavy Easter with my home friends and having gone on three nights out in the first week back at uni (bad decision, I know), I vowed that I would do a two-week sober challenge over exam season. All my friends and family members who I shared this information with found it utterly hilarious, so I was spurred on even more to prove the haters wrong. I even put a £5 bet on it with Impact’s very own Online Editor, Nicolas Caballero. Some of you hard-working, dedicated folk out there might be thinking, two weeks? That’s piss easy. However, I can assure you it’s been a struggle.
Day 1: Hungover after a six-hour sesh in Crisis. The decision to go sober was cemented. I powered through and did some somewhat-productive work. Day 2: Friday night – I refused to let myself think of the possibility of going to Ocean. Instead, I went out for some catch up drinks with friends at Pepper Rocks and Spoons. Whilst the rest of the group enjoyed cocktails, pints and pitchers, I stuck with diet coke and saved myself some dollar. But it didn’t stop me from indulging in a late-night chicken bake, I love 24-hour Greggs whether sober or drunk.
“Note to self: go drunk bowling”
Day 3: I enjoyed some food and more drinks at Mojo and Spoons. I got into a food coma but managed to resist the temptation to buy a bev. However, I did eat a complementary rum truffle which I insist had no actual alcoholic content. We ended up going bowling in the more-than-little-bit dodgy bowling alley next to the Motorpoint Arena. Note to self: go drunk bowling once the two weeks is up. Day 4: My housemate offered me some wonderful-looking Pimms laden with all the fruits and trimmings, which I happily accepted and then hastily declined once I remembered my sober vow. Sad times. Day 5: Bank holiday BBQ at my friend’s house. Whilst the rest cracked open beers and bottles of wine, I had a jolly old time with my peach squash. The nice weather made me want a Strongbow Dark Fruits more than ever before. Day 7: Meal with my lovely housemates at Annie’s. I consumed enough food to look and walk like I was expecting twins. I swapped the alcoholic option for a very tasty banana milkshake instead.
“My mum asked me how I was coping without alcohol and I struggled to think of a response that wouldn’t leave her disappointed”
Day 8: I went to see Infinity War at the good old Savoy with my housemate. Instead of drowning my sorrows in alcohol whilst the film ripped my heart out, I had a whole big bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk to myself. Day 10: The ‘rents came to visit me for the day. They brought me up a rather fancy bottle of vodka from my very kind aunt. The temptation to open the bottle there and then was overwhelming. My mum asked me how I was coping without alcohol and I struggled to think of a response that wouldn’t leave her disappointed. Day 11: I submitted all my coursework and was very upset not to be able to have a celebratory drink. This time last year I recall going to Mooch after finishing my last exam, spending £30 on cocktails and then somehow ending up in Shapes wearing the same clothes (side note: I don’t even like Shapes that much). Ah how I miss first year and using the excuse ‘I only have to get 40% to pass’. Day 14: Victory was mine! I made it to the final day.
“A good detox once in a while is definitely worth it”
Day 15: There was only one way to commend myself for my hard work and self-restraint: by going to Ocean. I took full advantage of patron saint Andy Hoe’s generosity and enjoyed free entry. Day 16: I caught the train home a bit worse for wear.
So I think it’s safe to say that my two-week sober experience has been highly insightful. I’ve saved money, been more productive and given my liver a well-deserved rest. If we’ve learnt anything here, it’s that I mainly substituted alcohol for food during the duration of these two weeks – I’m not sure which is worse? I like a drink as much as the next girl, but I now believe a good detox once in a while is definitely worth it. I’ve also proved to myself that I can resist some level of peer pressure. All in all, I’d say that’s an achievement. After completing this very detailed experiment, I would recommend going alcohol-free to any stressed student at this time of year.