I got a Facebook group invite the other day from Hans, the Big Guy from FIRE. It’s to participate in Sober October. I joined the group, to see what was up (that’s how they get you, you know!) and it is as billed: Stay sober for the month of October, not a drop of alcohol. The month with Halloween? Yep. It’s football season, you know that, right? Yep, no booze. Huh. I have a wedding in a week and a half, if I drink that day, but stay sober one extra day in November, can I have that day? Nope, I got a solid NO from the Evil Mind that invited me.
I can stay sober for a month, I have done it before, even if it wasn’t my idea. I used to do it all the time when I was like 8. How hard could it be? I used to be a pretty big drinker, when I worked more night hours and it was the thing to do after a shift. So it was almost everyday. It is a big part of the service industry culture. Get done with work, spend all your tips on drinks, shots and get home , sleep in, do it all again the next day. It’s a vicious cycle, but you convince yourself that it is a lot of fun and well deserved after all the crap you take on a shift.
Things started to change for me a few years back, and it was a slow transition. I was working more day shifts, so getting jagged at night and getting up in the morning became too much of a hassle. But it was hard getting over the idea that I was missing out on the “fun.” What is everyone up to? Who is out drinking and where are they? Staying home saved me a ton of money, but I felt like I was missing all the action. But as time went by, and I had changed jobs, I was out at night less and less.
Don’t get me wrong, I still got out plenty, and we give it pretty good when I do go out. (See me during the Mile of Music, for example!) But it wasn’t always fun, it kind of was a chore sometimes. Party Carol still exists, but she picks and chooses her spots a little better these days. I spend that time with people I want to be with, not just who got off shift at the same time as I did. Growing up is weird, you know?
So I come back to the idea of Sober October. There isn’t a ton of stuff on my social calendar this month, other than that wedding, that would be a huge temptation for me. And I think I can do the wedding sober, if I steer clear of certain people while I am there. But I admit I am an easy target too, avoiding peer pressure was never truly my strong point. And I tend to drag people with me when I go down. Again, talk to my poor brother Mike on the Friday morning of Mile of Music weekend, although he is a more than willing participant of my Thursday night overachieving!
Today is September 30th. I have less than 24 hours to commit to this. I do think I am going to give it a try. I am a stronger person than I was a few years ago. I know I do not have to drink to have a good time, I just like to. And the people around me will support me in doing this if I do commit. That is a nice thing about growing up a little too, people are more supportive in any way they can be, because they would appreciate it too. The worst case scenario is, I don’t make the whole month. There is no penalty for this, I think. Although knowing Hans he will find me and make me do burpees or Fire Bombs or some horrific thing like that. I have my ways of getting even with him, however. Maybe his next Skinny Margarita in November isn’t so “Skinny!”
Whatever challenges you are presented with, I hope you give yourself the chance to accept it. You can grow, and learn about yourself. Even if you fail, if you tried, you can hold your head up and know that you met it, instead of running from it. There is a lesson in every victory, and every failure. But if you give all your effort to something, it is never really a failure. Sober October, here I come!!