This month at Impact we have decided to conduct an experiment to see if alcohol really is necessary to have a good time. We sent two friends out; one who drank regularly and asked him to stay sober and one who doesn’t regularly drink to excess. We picked Pub Golf as our night of choice, ending up at Crisis. The night was one of the funniest we’ve had with the guy getting drunk proving he could definitely hold his alcohol and the sober guy proving he didn’t need it to still be one of the ‘lads’.
I stepped out onto the tiles with trepidation. Pub-Golf leaves participants in a drunken stupor and the thought that my body might not survive such a brutal sport, left me ill at ease. Nonetheless, I bravely trawled bar to bar ending up in Rock City, having holed-in-one every drink I was handed: 1 bottle beer, 1 triple vodka lemonade, 1 pint snakebite, 1 WKD, 4 shots of various vodkas, 3VKs, 1 double vodka Redbull and anything else I was handed. £20 worth of alcohol later, did I have a better time? Was the night enhanced by the altered reality I experienced? Would I do it again? I think the answer to all those questions is (as surprising as it may seem) no. The positives were that I certainly ended up talking to far more people than I might have otherwise, everything seemed funny, there was a certain camaraderie about downing my drinks with my mates and the club was bearable for more than my normal 2-3 hours and even though I’m sure we spent most of the night queuing to get into places or at bars, I don’t remember those parts.
The negatives were only truly felt when I woke up. My head was in pieces, I was still drunk into the afternoon, the morning after was a right off and my wallet was considerably lighter. On the night out, I lost my keys and half my fancy dress, I was nearly hit by a speeding tram and felt quite out of control of myself. These may seem like funny anecdotes, but thinking back it’s alarming how vulnerable I was. I’d like to think that I went into this experiment with an open mind but really the health implications alone of regularly drinking too much will always make me err on the side of caution when it comes to alcohol.
The thought of going on a night out without the intention of drinking a drop of alcohol is quite a strange one for me. It’s done by more people than most would expect, two of my best friends rarely touch alcohol and always have great nights out with us so I thought I’d give it a shot! Not being involved in pre-lashing or any drinking games was a bit weird, the short walk to town from Lenton seemed much colder in a T-shirt than it does normally. Admittedly it did feel a bit awkward being in bars and not having a drink in my hand. I kept finding myself queuing up at the bar, not remembering my pact for the night. One thing you notice a lot whilst sober is the repetition of various songs throughout the bars. I counted Dizzee Rascal being played at least 8 times and Sean Kingston’s ‘Fire Burning’ 4 times. The songs really didn’t warrant this exposure but watching people getting drunk is an experience which made it bearable. There are so many things that people do whilst drunk that we accept as ‘normal’ behaviour. That’s the problem when you let drunken banter-monkeys loose, they wreak havoc and are almost impossible to coax back into their cages.
When you look back at it, or experience it sober, the actions of others can seem unconventional. The lack of a hangover in the morning is bliss; it allows you to make 9:00am lectures without feeling like Cannibal Corpse was played on full volume. Your body will thank you for not tainting your liver with copious amounts of alcohol and a quick glance in your wallet will show how little you spent on the night, the taxi back to Lenton being the only other expense. £2 nights out sound much healthier for my ever increasing NatWest overdraft. Being sober wasn’t boring at all; In fact it was far from it, I still had a lot of fun. It’s a completely different type of night out from one with alcohol, but an experiment will never make me relinquish that tasty poison we all know and love!