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Monday, 29 September 2014

Go Sober For October

What a strange nation we are. We enjoy various indulgences, but then meekly accept being directly or, in the case of Go Sober In October, indirectly harangued for doing so. Go Sober is a health campaign with a difference, as its aim is to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, undoubtedly a worthwhile charity. The Go Sober website is mostly devoid of the moralistic disapproval of the likes of Alcohol Concern, and I see that it's nicely timed to avoid the build up to the Christmas season: I wouldn't have put any money on Go Sober In December succeeding. I shan't be joining in, but I don't have much of a problem with this particular campaign.

In contrast, we have Dry January, which is run by Alcohol Concern. Same idea, and you are invited to "become a Dry January fundraiser, and help make a difference to the lives of those affected by alcohol harm." The website is fairly coy about the recipient of your money, but with a little digging I confirmed what I expected: all the money goes to Alcohol Concern itself. I wrote about this supposed charity most recently on 7 September, saying among other things: "The fact that Alcohol Concern is itself almost entirely financed from public funds completes the circle whereby the government squanders our money to pay a pressure group [i.e. Alcohol Concern] to lobby that selfsame government." Not the behaviour you'd get from a responsible and respected charity such as Macmillan.

What I do wonder is how effective dry months really are. The likelihood is that some participants will have a quick binge before the dry period, and if they last the course, another to celebrate their success, which will surely negate some of the health benefits of abstention. On the other hand, I doubt a Take It Easy In October campaign would raise much money.

If you want to give up booze for charity, I'd go for October and support a very good cause, although there is of course nothing to stop you supporting it anyway.

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