Go Sober: Macmillan’s Mike Houghton on the challenges and benefits of giving up alcohol for a month

Go Sober for October challenges social drinkers to give up alcohol for a month to help raisegs16_bottle-cap_600x600 funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Across the UK, 67,539 ‘soberheroes’ have already raised £1,717,655 for Macmillan – and they’re only two weeks into the challenge.

Among them is Macmillan Wales’s Mike Houghton, fundraising manager for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

Mike’s job involves supporting individuals, groups and businesses with their fundraising efforts – but he wants to lead by example and get involved in fundraising himself. He’s thrilled to have almost reached his £150 sponsorship target.

The money raised by Go Sober for October will help Macmillan continue to provide services in Wales – where one in three of us will get cancer, and more than 130,000 people are currently living with and beyond cancer – including funding nurses, physiotherapists, welfare benefits advisers and our information centres in some of Wales’s hospitals, as well as campaigning for better cancer care for patients. .

Mike has been keeping a video diary of his challenge – and was recently interviewed on Bay TV, the local television station for Swansea, talking about Go Sober and his work with Macmillan. You can watch his latest vlog here and catch up with his previous ones here.

You can view Mike’s vlogs on the Macmillan Wales YouTube page, here on our blog, or via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

He says that while there have been challenging moments, he’s surprised himself by how well it’s been going.

“Last week was a tough one,” he says, “mainly because my wife and I weren’t doing anything. We were just watching the TV, doing chores, rather than doing anything new and engaging. So then in the evening, you’re just sat there watching the TV, feeling a bit restless and usually I would say ‘I might have a drink’. But that’s not an option.

“Friday night I was watching the Ospreys, who I support, playing against Cardiff Blues. I watched it with a lemonade in my hand. That was definitely different.”

He says he doesn’t miss alcohol as much as he expected to and even thinks it will have a lasting positive impact on his drinking habits

“I think it will change the mindset,” says Mike. “I might not always want a drink on a Friday night. I have broken that tradition.”

He says that last weekend, he was up at 6am to empty the dining room for the builders, in preparation of work being done on the house.  “All my chores were done by 10am,” he says. “I had a lot of energy. I felt really fresh. I can’t remember feeling that clear on a Sunday morning for a long while. I always thought I was really energetic, even with a hangover, but this has shown me I’m not!

“It has changed my outlook,” he adds. “I can do it. I might drink less in the future and know that I can have a good time on a Friday night without a beer.

That said, he’s counting down the days to his birthday on October 31st. He’s making an extra donation of £15 to buy a Golden Ticket, which gives Go Sober participants a night off their alcohol-free challenge.

“The lovely people I work with have bought me a meal, so I’m going out with my wife, the in-laws are babysitting,” he says.

“And I’m going to have a bottle of wine.”

You can view Mike’s vlogs on the Macmillan Wales YouTube page, here on our blog, or via our Facebook or Twitter pages

For more information on Go Sober, or to sign up, visit the website

You can sponsor Mike here.

For information or support from Macmillan, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm) or visit www.macmillan.org.uk.



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