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Do these magical dates for “Fresh Starts” put us under too much pressure?

Also, I talk about this week’s Booze in the News (Baby Boomers v Millennials booze consumption) and What’s New this week at Sober Sassy life.

You can also watch this episode LIVE on Youtube.

My newsfeed at the moment is filled with articles and memes about the new fresh start that we can all have in September – kids are back at school, most people are back at work, pencils are being sharpened, notebooks are crisp and brand new, and we are all motivated to GET SHIT DONE before the mythical deadline of Christmas…

And it’s no different for those of you who are feeling the hangover of summer and contemplating finally getting this sober thing down before…you know, Thanksgiving, Christmas. And the reasoning is sound – boozy BBQs are over, the kids are back at school and you are not herding them around like a bunch of cats everyday – summer guests are gone – and here’s a good one – there’s a good long stretch before Thanksgiving (if you are in the US) that you can get some sober time – under your belt (whatever that means).

And I’m not going to burst you bubble here, – I’m firmly encouraging everyone to quit drinking today – because it will change your life for the better, forever.

But I am going to be a tiny voice of warning.

Putting all your faith into Fresh Starts can also be a huge pressure.

Because we expect these FRESH STARTS to somehow have magical powers. But as January 1st is just another day – so is September 1st – or 5th, or whenever your arbitrary September start is happening.

And when the magic doesn’t happen – it can be demoralizing, we can feel like we can’t get back on track, we have somehow missed an opportunity – and we slide back into old habits, telling ourselves that it will work next time – January 1st. Next year. A Fresh Start.

So hands up everyone who has failed miserably with New Year’s resolutions. Ok my hand is up.

Every diet that ever was – is doomed to failure if you start on January 1st. And some reasons why – there’s too much food still around, you are invited to a New Year’s Day party – so you blow the diet on Day one. It’s too cold/wet to go to the gym, you have guests staying – literally the list of why a diet fails on January 1st is a really long list.

I remember starting school in September. I LOVED the idea of a new school start – I had all new stuff, everything was crisp and clean – and back in those days, we had a school uniform. And everything was new. And I wanted that FRESH NEW START to be perfect.

And here’s what happened – the weather would be warm and sunny – and instead of arriving at school in my new uniform – I would have to wear my old summer outfit from last year. And for some reason – that really pissed me off. My “fresh start” was blown.

Fresh starts don’t have magical powers. Our sobriety doesn’t come from external forces. Our sobriety isn’t dictated by the weather, by other people, by any external force.

It comes from within. It’s an internal decision, a mindset – which ironically we have more control over than anything else. Yet we put all out faith in external factors that we can’t control and don’t matter.

So if you missed the Magical September Fresh Start, start now. Today is the same. In fact today, is the most magical day you will have – because you can’t control yesterday, and you can’t control tomorrow.

So ignore the date on the calendar. And start now.

Love, Jackie xx

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