Sober Spring? That's a wrap!

Catherine Gray | June 2020 | 7 minutes

It's the end of Sober Spring - so Catherine Gray asks, what's next?

So, tomorrow marks the end of Sober Spring 2020. What are your plans from hereon in? Are you going to carry on with your alcohol-freedom, or give moderation a whirl? The choice is, of course, entirely yours.

One of the benchmark beliefs of Sober Spring is that people should have a choice. We get to choose what we put / don’t put into our bodies, and we shouldn’t have to explain it nor need to defend it.

We conducted a fascinating survey last year which delved into what 2019’s Sober Springers planned to do after the 93-day stint. Over half of 2019’s alumni decided to carry on being teetotal. Of the remainder, a fifth wanted to take on a similar sober challenge every year, while 28 per cent felt able to drink less post-Sober Spring. We were overjoyed with those results. Sober Spring works!

Six in ten of last year’s Sober Springers made it through the three months entirely alcohol-free - but four in ten experienced slips.

Another stat that you may find compelling is that six in ten of last year’s Sober Springers made it through the three months entirely alcohol-free - but four in ten experienced slips. And this was last spring, before the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuing lockdown and the global anti-racism protests. So we would guess that even more of 2020’s Sober Springers have found it tricky to make it through without a few slip ups.

From a global to a deeply personal level, these cataclysmic events have collectively placed more stress on us than ever before in living memory. We thought 2016 was likely to be the most tumultuous news-led year of our lives (given the Brexit vote and Trump’s election), but 2020 has already utterly dwarfed it, and it’s only June.

If you experienced slips, know this: it’s normal. You have been trying to break a habit of what, ten, twenty, thirty or more years? 99.9 per cent of us do not say, ‘Right, that’s it, no alcohol!’ whether for three months – or for forever – and nail it first time. It’s a try, try, try, learn, learn, learn kind of process.

You might feel like you’ve been failing, but you’ve actually been learning.

The showing up and the trying is the main thing. The rest simply comes with time and practice. It really is enormously similar to learning to ride a bike, play a piece of music, or stand up on a paddleboard. Except not drinking is, on the whole, much more difficult, given how stitched into our culture alcohol is. But my point is that the falling is part of the learning. You might feel like you’ve been failing, but you’ve actually been learning.

Sober Spring itself is an entirely non-profit campaign. This means that everyone involved in it – this includes all of the eleven bloggers this year – have done it for zero money. Yep, not a penny.

Some of our highlights this year have been:

  • Spencer Matthews of Made in Chelsea fame admitting that he wouldn’t be friends with the old, drinking Spencer.
  • Millie Gooch on the five fascinating reasons she reckons millennials are drinking less (clue: one involves viral videos) and the surprising conversation she had in a student union.
  • Marcus Barnes on the spike of ‘we’re home-schooling, so we’ll drink!’ memes doing the rounds during lockdown.
  • Lisa Smith on why a high IQ doesn’t inoculate against addiction.
  • DJ Santero on how he stayed teetotal and happy during over 200 boozy gigs last year alone.
  • And finally, this searingly insightful quote from Lazarus Letcher in our round-up of sobriety-related resources by – and for – people of colour: “What is inclusivity in recovery? For me, that doesn’t necessarily mean a space that is majority BIPOC or LGBTQIA+, but it is a space where all of our intersecting identities exist at once. It’s a space where we can heal as whole people and feel safe while doing it."

We hope you enjoyed Sober Spring 2020. If you found it inspiring and useful, all we ask is that you consider making a donation to Alcohol Change UK, or even setting up a monthly donation. They will use this money to continue their brilliant work in reducing the harm alcohol causes in the UK, as well as continuing to fund future Sober Springs. You can find out more about the harm alcohol causes in the UK here.

We’ll be back next year with free weekly content from top names, sober influencers, authors and experts. We hope you’ll join us.

Until then, stay happy. We are rooting for you, no matter what you decide to do next. And we thank you for coming on this journey with us. You are the most important part of Sober Spring, hands down. Without you, it means nothing.

Huge respect and admiration,

Cath