October is upon us, the shops are filling with Halloween tat, low yield explosives are on sale and Christmas is hovering in the background waiting to pounce. This month sees the start of “stoptober” and “go sober October”
The first is an initiative run by the United Kingdom’s health service and if you look at its official website has smoking clearly in its sights. The second is run by Macmillan cancer support charity.
There is a bit of confusion flowing around social media at the moment people seem to be declaring stoptober is in support of not having a drink through the whole month, clearly this is not the case by looking at the official website aims. So how has this been appropriated and linked to having a dry October? I have no idea.
The Macmillan one is at clearer on its aims and it wants people to go dry for a month from alcohol and get sponsored for it. Proceeds go towards the charity. you can read about it here
So we have a case of an NHS campaign getting labelled as a stop drinking campaign and a big national charity jumping in on it too with their campaign.
The idea behind a dry October for charity or any month for that matter (I’m looking at you dry January) is flawed. Yes it is most definitely a noble cause but its whole execution is wrong. In an unintentional way it targets those in the pub and bar trade, starting with the brewers and other producers right up to the guy serving you in the pub. It’s usually most obvious in January as people are recovering from over doing it over the festive period.
The Irony is that Pubs and bars contribute a lot to charities. From the collection tins on the bar to whole charity nights there must be a substantial amount raised during the year from drinking establishments that goes towards local and national charities. So why fight against that? Why not work with pubs and bars? Heck I went to a charity beer festival in the summer that i know will really help out the community centre it was hosted in.
At the very least the industry does not need another group telling people not to go out for a drink! It’s hard enough during January they don’t need another potentially dry month.
So why not instead of abandoning the booze for a month just give to charity anyway? Or be a real anarchist and host a charity night in your establishment for these very charities!
I also have a sneaking suspicion though that people attempting the go sober for October are probably not serious pub goers anyway? There wont be much hardship if they only go out once a month will there?