Would you be willing to “lose the booze” for an entire 31 days? With the end of September comes the beginning of Ocsober, a month long event that challenges all participants to quit imbibing on any fermented beverage for an entire month. Does that sound completely insane to you? It did to us here at Novella, until we did some research into why a consenting adult in their right mind would willingly give up the nectar of the gods during a month that has both Thanksgiving and Halloween.
Ocsober is a fundraiser that began in Australia 30 years ago, and was borne out of a reaction against the country’s burgeoning alcoholism problem – especially among young adults. The fundraising initiative not only incentivizes youth to save a little money (it’s estimated that the average Australian spends around $35 a week on alcohol), but seeks to educate high school aged children about the dangers of binge drinking.
But why should we care about Australian alcohol and drug use? Well, it turns out that the statistics for binge drinking in Canada are not that much better. The reason that this fundraiser is slowly creeping its way across the pond is because anyone who has ever lived through a Canadian winter or gone to a hockey game knows how much we love to drink. Unsurprisingly, alcohol use is costing us dearly – both literally and figuratively. The average Ontarian over the age of 21 will likely spend around $635 a year on the suds. Not to be glib, but, that’s like, a new pair of Manolo Blahniks from David’s. And I’m sure we have all heard about the staggering – and altogether depressing statistics of deaths by impaired driving – especially among young adults and teenagers.
This is why Ocsober is so important. People who begin drinking before the legal age are twice as likely to develop a dependency on alcohol, and adolescence is the time when most people experiment for the first time. If we can’t stop kids from trying a drink (and we can’t, because kids will always find a way to try it) it is crucial that we educate the most at risk among us about making healthy choices. While Ocsober may be a fun way to see how long you and your friends can hold out – you can also help propel the cause by donating to programs like MADD Canada. After all, if you give up drinking for a month, you might surprise yourself – you’ll likely have enough money left over for both a donation and those shoes. At the very least, you’ll wake up on Sunday mornings a lot happier.