Tag Archives: alcohol free

Sober for October

I’m fundraising again, this time for Macmillan Cancer Support. My challenge is to get through the 31 days of October without having any alcohol, and I’m very confident I can do it. Last year I managed 31 days without caffeine which I think was much harder. 

I know that a lot of people are doing a lot of fundraising, but I hope you can find a couple of pounds to spare to sponsor me too. Just go to https://www.gosober.org.uk/users/steve-mair and give a little, please. 

Thank you in advance, you’re helping change the world. 


Coffee Time


Towards the end of July I decided that I’d go caffeine free for the whole of August.  This was partly inspired by Dee removing processed sugar from her diet for July, and partly from January this year when I went without alcohol for the month.  I reckoned missing caffeine would be more difficult than missing alcohol – and I was right!  It wasn’t about just not drinking coffee, but not drinking or eating anything with caffeine in it, so “normal” tea and energy drinks like Red Bull were also off limits.

Normally I drink a lot of coffee, and I don’t drink the mild stuff.  Dee calls it “rocket fuel”, because I probably have 4 or 5 mugs a day (on average) of the strongest coffee I can find, always black and always without sugar. I don’t use a spoon to measure it out, just pour it in the typical Norwegian way. Having spent a week in Norway towards the end of July, where everywhere gives you unlimited refills, I was probably as caffeinated as I’ve ever been.

August 1st brought such severe headaches and flu like symptoms that I had to go to bed immediately after dinner. The headaches and symptoms faded over the next few days, but I probably only felt well after about a week or so.  I also felt permanently tired and worn out for the first couple of weeks, though perked up a bit after that.

So what did I drink instead?  It’s been quite warm so I had a lot of squash and / or fruit juice.  I also bought a number of speciality teas – I quite like the options provided by the Yogi brand – so had a lot of spiced chai, mint tea, fruit teas, that sort of thing. I enjoyed them, but probably not as much as coffee.

I made it to the end of the month in one piece, and hadn’t touched caffeine at all. I’m very pleased that I managed it, despite strong temptation from time to time.  Did I feel the benefit? Honestly, I’m not sure. The headaches had gone, and some of the cravings had also gone, but I love the smell of coffee so stopping off in a cafe while shopping was tough. I’m sure that my heart was glad of the break: I probably should have checked to see what my resting heart rate was at the beginning of the month and at the end.

During August I treated myself to a coffee grinder (I have always wanted to grind beans myself) and a cafetière, so I got up a bit earlier than usual on September 1st and set to work making my first “real” drink for over a month.  The image in this post is of that first cup, and it was worth the wait.  What I hadn’t bargained on was the headache that followed, and the feeling of being spaced out for several hours afterwards!  I only had one coffee that day, and only one yesterday, and am having one as I write this: whether I go for two in a day remains to be seen because I’m still getting a bit light headed as the caffeine hits me.  I’ll still drink the “special” teas as well though, because I did enjoy them.

Is it me or has it been a dry month? Image #31

So, January 31st is here and my quest to be a DryAthlete has been fulfilled 🙂


I’ve not had so much as a sip or sniff of alcohol since last year! I’m very proud of myself, as this is probably my longest dry spell in more than 30 years. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be, but then I guess that as I’d substantially cut back through 2015 maybe the challenge wasn’t quite so tough?

Chatting about it with Dee, my partner, we both agreed that it would be much more difficult for me to give up caffeine for a month, so maybe I’ll do that next year. Maybe not though – I can’t imagine a day without coffee let alone 31 of them!

Thanks to all those who have supported and sponsored me. I think it’ll be a few days yet before I have the first drink of 2016. I want to make it a drink and an event to be savoured!

Dryathlon – the half way point – Image #16

So, just over half way through a dry January, and things are going well I think.  It’s not proving particularly difficult, and I’m really pleased with myself.

If you’ve missed it, I’m fundraising for Cancer Research UK by not having alcohol for the month.  You can read about it – and sponsor me if you so wish (how subtle was that?) – here.

Here’s my latest progress, from the Change4Life app.  Happy Saturday everyone!



I’m a Dry Athlete!

Happy New Year to all my readers! It’s January 1st and most of us are making resolutions. One of mine is to do more to help others, so I thought I’d ask for your support in a bit of fundraising!

I’m taking part in a Dryathlon for Cancer Research. The task sounds easy – no alcohol for all of January – and I’m pretty sure I can do it. I know there’s never much spare change available after the festive season, but if you can spare just a little bit you’ll be helping support a very worthy charity. Just head over to this site and follow the prompts.

Many thanks in advance, and enjoy the rest of the holidays!