Dryathlon: Week 1

SOPHIA VAHDATI reports back on her first week as a Dryathlete.

Alcohol cancer research charity donate drink dryathlete dryathlon gin o' clock launch sick sober Sophia Vahdati uncle VK

After a year of overindulgence, poor time-management and too many mornings spent dashing to the bathroom 5 minutes before a supervision to grace the toilet with a rainbow sick of Blue VKs, Jaegarbombs and red wine, I decided that 2014 was going to be my year of being wholesome.

To kick this off, what better way to ensure that I behave myself, lose my christmas weight and spend more time doing my work than complaining about it from the depths of a prickly hangover than to become a DRYATHLETE? The Dryathlon (no alcohol for 31 days in aid of Cancer Research UK) appeared to be the perfect plan.

1) I would stay off the drink because otherwise I’d be cheating a CHARITY.

2) People won’t try to pressure me to drink because then they’d be indirectly swindling a CHARITY.

3) Instead of spending my student loan on carefully crafting my own set of physical and mental health problems, I could take a break for a month and feel like a good person by donating lots of money to CHARITY.

Oh little did I know that not drinking for 31 days would be harder than I initially thought…The initial plan of drinking so much on New Year’s Eve that I wouldn’t properly recover from my hangover until February backfired in that I woke up and felt relatively normal, in fact, I looked longingly at the wine being served at lunchtime and almost decided to give up altogether. NO, said a voice inside me, THIS IS FOR CHARITY – (plus I’d already informed all of my friends and family in a superior and abstemious manner that I was becoming a Dryathlete and it would have been too shameful to back out at this point). Glass of wine with lunch – avoided.  I remained iron-willed.

The next test presented itself in the form of a snapchat from an old friend…

Another obstacle swerved.

This week held one more hurdle: going out in London.

This was when I realised that reason no.2  was but a naive dream and that actually lots of people didn’t really care about me raising money for charity.  My uncle offered me a glass of wine as I entered his house. I presented my little wristband and spiel of ‘make mine a donation!’ to the family. Everyone carried on about their business as if I had been on mute, my uncle offered me a glass of wine again and my cousin winked at me and told me that she’d sent me a text donation and that my uncle would end up paying it anyway since he pays off her phone bill. Ace.

My uncle’s sentiments were echoed that night as one friend told me that I was being ‘boring’ and another told me that no one would ever donate money instead of buying me a drink…

Luckily, the music was sublime and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that when you dance sober you can concentrate a bit more on your moves; I was feeling adventurous and so tried a few variations on the otherwise constant motif of throwing my arms around and bobbing my head up and down. I was having a great time. Clubbing sober was also the perfect time to try out my new game Drink or Drugs™ which is like a high stakes version of Hipster or Homeless. As it turns out, it’s often surprisingly hard to differentiate between a dribbly slur and an almighty gurn. One lovely girl who fell clearly into the latter category of the game told me that I was an awe-inspiring and amazing person for becoming a Dryathlete and gave me a well-earned break from dancing (surprisingly tiring business) with a long and heart-felt hug. She then whispered in my ear

“But as a Dryathlete, you’re allowed to do drugs right?”

I replied that I’d have to check the terms and conditions but that I was pretty sure it was still illegal to take drugs, even for Dryathletes, she smiled and danced off towards the lasers like a fairy.

The smell of beer, body odour and something that was either bleach or mephedrone was slightly off-putting towards the end of the night and I really felt like I’d had a proper work out, but other than that it was a total success! I hadn’t really been tempted to drink and although I had looked longingly at some of the people who looked like they were having the time of their life, I had mainly just danced to great music with some lovely friends and laughed at really fucked people.  Here’s to week 2,  I fear it’s only going to get harder once we get back to Cam…

If you can find a couple of quid to donate I’d really appreciate it. Despite all the rubbish I talk, Cancer Research UK is a great charity and one that I feel passionate about.