"Ocsober? No drinking in October? WTF are you talking about?" While in Brisbane, Australia I tried to explain my sobriety pledge for October to a stranger. Back track just a bit: While in Sydney, Australia in September I read about an upcoming charity event called Ocsober. I was immediately intrigued.

No drinking for the month of October? Count me in!

Backpackers are expected to drink. I don't do what's expected of me. :) I've cut out drinking multiple times before. It was usually for other reasons, like the 30 days I quit drinking while I was on a gluten free (+vegan) diet. Years ago I quit drinking for 6 months simply because all I ever seemed to do with my friends was drink. It was easy. Ocsober started early for me. I quit drinking 26 September, 2009 and fully planned on drinking at midnight on 31 October, 2009 (Halloween Party!). Then I meditated for a while on why I enjoy drinking and why I don't enjoy drinking.

Why I enjoy drinking:

  • I like the taste of beer, wine, Jagermeister, tequila, and vodka. (Trying to cover all the bases!)
  • As much as I'd like to lie to myself about it, getting a buzz makes being social in new environments easier.
  • Getting buzzed feels good.
  • It temporarily relieves feelings of sadness/depression, which, for the past ~2 years has been a non-issue. (More on this topic in the future.)

Why I don't enjoy drinking:

  • Lots of beer/wine is made using isinglass, a fish by-product, as a fining agent. That means lots of beer/wine isn't vegan. I was unaware of this until a wonderful CouchSurfer in Sydney enlightened me.
  • I hate using it as a crutch in social environments.
  • When I think about the times I've had the most fun in my life it has never involved drinking.
  • I started drinking when I was 13. My liver has probably gone through enough abuse in the past 15 years.
  • My veganism is, first and foremost, about respect for animals. But health is a strong second. I love my life and want to live forever.
  • It's a ridiculous waste of money. While in Germany for 8 days in March '09 I spent almost $1,000 USD on alcohol. Did I have a great time with my friends? Yes. Would I have had a great time with my friends sans alcohol? Yes.
I haven't had an urge to touch a drop of alcohol since I quit.

I feel god damn electric!

It's difficult to put into words, but I'll do my best. After that first month of sobriety I felt on top of the world. Eating a vegan diet already felt pretty amazing on a daily basis, but when I added sobriety to the mix I reached another level. I sleep better. I wake up better. I feel better about myself. I feel better about being an advocate for Ridiculously Extraordinary Health.

Living a Ridiculously Extraordinarily Healthy Lifestyle

There is evidence to support small amounts of alcohol as beneficial. There is also evidence to support small amounts of alcohol as detrimental. At this point, I haven't read enough compelling evidence to support either choice completely. All I know is the choice I've made.

How To Quit

Interested in giving it a shot? I've always been a do it or don't, black/white, type of person. That's where this comes in...

Ridiculously Extraordinary Challenge #001

Quit drinking for the next 30 days. That starts TODAY. Right now. Have plans to go out and party with your friends? Great. Perfect time to actively practice living on purpose. A regular at the local bar? Cool, save all that money. I just gave you a raise.

The Big Prize

Your prize is proving to yourself you can do something not a single person around you thinks you can do. Believe me, you will get shit for not drinking. At any time during the Challenge if you feel like you're not going to make it give me a call (352) 577-0173 or send me an e-mail: KarolGajda AT Gmail.com (Considering I'm traveling around New Zealand, e-mail will have a 100% success rate, whereas phone will be far less, sorry.)

3,000 Days of Sobriety

My small, but attainable goal, is for 100 people to do this Challenge. A collective 3,000 days of sobriety. That's 8.2 YEARS! Yes, I like the number 100. Yes, this Challenge falls during the Holidays. Good. Join it or don't.

Sobriety is not socially acceptable.

Being socially acceptable is overrated. If somebody asks you why you don't drink you can use one of the following succinct phrases:
  • I respect my body and my health.
  • I'm being socially unacceptable.
  • It makes me feel great.
  • Or a short and powerful phrase of your own.
If you're in on this Challenge post in the comments. You can drink again on December 24 so let it flow let it flow let it flow. :) ### If you need to get real help with alcoholism or anything of that sort please seek it out.  Friends, family, SMART Recovery (secular, science based), SOS International (also secular), or any other organization. ### Last week, Karen from DreamInTheLife.com wrote a really brave post called "I Don't Want To Be The Alcoholic That I Am" and you should check it out. Maybe, if you don't want to do it for yourself, you can dedicate your next 30 days of sobriety to her.