November 4 2020
’twas the night before the second national lockdown.
Myself and three friends descended upon The Ale House, located underneath the rail arches of Chelmsford train station for a night of cask ales around a barrel outside the watering hole, with nothing but a patio heater and the clothes on our backs for warmth – as close to normality four friends who don’t live together could get after the reopening of pubs.
We arrived at 19:30 and stayed right until the 22:00 curfew, enjoying a mixture of lagers and cask ales with social conversation about this, that and everything until it was time to say good night.
I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since.
November lockdown and tier four
When I got home from The Ale House prior to the second lockdown back in November I knew I wouldn’t drink for the entirety of the four week circuit breaker.
It’s not that I get overly depressed when I drink. I just thought that living by myself in an anxiety inducing situation such as lockdown I didn’t want to give my depression an advantage nor create bad habits by drinking alcohol. Plus with gyms shut I wanted to keep myself as healthy as possible until they reopened.
Four weeks later and the restrictions were lifted, and with that, pubs reopened. However, this time it was different and you could only get alcohol in a pub if you ordered a ‘substantial meal’ with your household.
Again, as someone who lives by himself, I wasn’t first in line to order a scotch egg for the sake of a pint, so I decided to stay off the alcohol a little while longer.
There were only a couple of weeks between national restrictions being lifted before Chelmsford – where I live in Essex – was placed into tier four due to the spread of the mutant strain of COVID in the area. This meant non-essential retail, gyms and hospitality venues had to close their doors once again – essentially lockdown under a different name.
We all knew Christmas would be different in 2020 before we heard the words tier four, and with those restrictions the end of year traditions went out the window, especially the ones where I would usually drink.
Christmas parties, the PDC World Darts Championships, Christmas eve eve trips to Colchester and Christmas Eve in the village pub were all cancelled due to the pandemic – and I never usually drink on Christmas day anyway.
I’ll also traditionally ease off the alcohol between Christmas and New Year before returning to the village pub to see in the new year, but again, that was cancelled last year, so I found myself being alcohol free for close to two months, and it almost happened accidentally to be honest. It certainly wasn’t something I was consciously thinking about every day nor was it something I craved – it just happened.
Then, just four days into 2021 we entered lockdown three and that is where remain almost six weeks later.
I stopped drinking alcohol for one month, which became two months, then three and now I’ve passed one hundred days.
100 days alcohol free
Saturday, February 13 2021 marked the 100th day since my last alcoholic drink, a Millionaire Stout which I rated 3/5 on Untappd – a smartphone app to record all the different beers, ales, cider and stouts you drink.
During the darkest days of my depression between 2012-14 (Age 18-20) I drank too much, not to say I depended on it, but every Thursday (student night in Colchester) and Saturday night I didn’t have a few drinks to have a good time with my friends, I drank to get as drunk as I possibly could.
I used it as a method of escapism from my mental illness which was quickly becoming out of control, and it all came to surface with my mental breakdown on the eve of my 20th birthday – which alcohol also played a part in.
Cue nine months of therapy and one life changing round the world trip in 2015 and the difference between me on my 20th and 21st birthday was like being in the room with a different person, my depression was at a manageable level.
Although my mental health journey since then has mostly been a positive one, I do associate being really drunk with the days where my depression was at its worse. Which is why whenever I drink alcohol now it’s for the social aspect of it.
I always loved going to the pubs with my friends in the pre COVID world, on a Friday night after work, for a game of live sport or a game of darts and I look forward to the day where we can freely do that again, I really can’t. But I’m always mindful of how much I’ve had to drink and I’ve become quite good at managing that now. Obviously there are times when I do have too many, but I’m only human after all.
The last 100 days
When I’m hungover – like most of us – my level of practicality is non-existent. I have written-off many Sundays in the past for nothing more than the amount of alcohol consumed the night before.
Obviously, in 100 days without touching a bottle that hasn’t been the case. Instead, my practicality has increased, well, as much as it can during the lockdown world we currently find ourselves in.
I also think there has been some correlation between the success of my London Marathon training and the absence of alcohol. It’s definitely not the main reason because you have to bare in mind the level of exercise and my much improved diet but I’m sure it’s a contributing factor – you can’t out train a bad diet after all.
Will I drink again?
The short answer is yes, definitely.
The long answer is – I don’t know when.
The top shelf of my fridge is full of 330ml bottles from Beer 52 as well as an untouched crate in a waterproof bag on my balcony which will have to stay there a little while longer.
There will also come a point where I stop drinking alcohol until I cross the finish line of the London Marathon, with my main aim of 2021 to run it to the best of my ability.
I’ve always had a lot of admiration for teetotal people. Whether that be due to recovering addiction, lifestyle choice or anything else and I know that is something I will be in the future but it is so far away at the moment that it’s not even worth speculating over.
Simply put, I drink alcohol for the social side of things and because of lockdown that has temporarily been taken away, so from now until at least the end of lockdown the idea of drinking alcohol is completely off the table.
2021 London Marathon
I’m running the 2021 London Marathon for Mind!
If you wish to donate or keep up to date with how my training and fundraising is going you can do so by following the links below.
Fundraising Page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JordanCamp
My new Instagram page dedicated to my London Marathon journey: @26.2MilesForMind
Mind Website: https://www.mind.org.uk