Mat’s alcohol-free October pays off for Mount Carmel (November 2017)

When Mat’s friend Richard left Mount Carmel to start his new life in recovery, there was a change in him that Mat saw at once.

He could see the benefit of treatment, and was grateful to us for what we had given his friend.  Indeed, Mat said “Richard had a brilliant result, and speaks very highly of Mount Carmel”.

At the same time, Mat also was considering giving up alcohol for a month.  While in no way in trouble with alcohol, he wondered if there were benefits to a normal drinker of going without for a month.  And to tie the two ideas together – why not do a sponsored alcohol-free October and give the money to Mount Carmel!

We spoke to Mat to see how the idea had worked out:

“I’m not a big drinker or a daily drinker, but like many I may occasionally exceed the recommended limits – maybe a pint or two extra out with mates at the weekend, when no-one is counting.  Also, quite apart from how much I drink, it has been a part of my routine as it is for many people – phew, long day at work, all three kids in bed, chance to relax, reward for a busy day, and so on. 

Looking back, it was not that difficult

So I wasn’t totally confident at the beginning that the month would be easy, and indeed there were a few moments, those “reward” moments, when I had to remind myself what I was doing and why.  But I certainly felt after the first weekend “I can do this”.

“There were two particular things that helped through the month.  One was to create an interesting soft drink – maybe tonic, lemon, no gin of course, ice – and to have that at my sit-down-and-relax time.  I first did that at the end of a stressful day, and I really enjoyed it.  I think I’ll keep doing that into the future sometimes.  The other help was that my mates were supportive rather than sabotaging.  I went out with them a few times during the month, and there was no childish “go on, we won’t tell”.  I suppose we’re all grownups now, and they were definitely a plus rather than a minus to me.

“The month progressed, after all it’s only 31 days, and soon enough I’d done it.  Looking back, it was not that difficult.  If you ask me what were the outcomes, I’d say I feel a bit better in myself, but not dramatically.  My wife was pleased to see that I was much the same man to be around.  I did more exercise than usual during the month.  And I’ll think about my drinking a little more in the future – do I really need the last pint when I’m out with friends.  And no, since you ask, I didn’t go out and get wrecked to celebrate November 1st!”

The final outcome was that Mount Carmel received a donation of over £500, courtesy of Mat, and thanks indirectly to his friend Richard.  A win win win situation, you could say, and we are very grateful indeed.