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7 million Brits ditch their friends for drinking too much

  • 25% have stopped going for a drink because of their friends’ drunken behaviour
  • 13% of UK adults have stopped going for a drink with a friend because they believe their pal drinks too much
  • Macmillan suggests there is a shift towards ‘soberlising’ (sober socialising) as one in eight young adults don’t drink alcohol at all
  • The charity says: Go Sober For October to raise money for people living with cancer

A new survey from Macmillan Cancer Support has today revealed that 6.7 million (13%) adults have stopped going for a drink with at least one friend because they think the person drinks too much alcohol.

With over 2,000 respondents, the Go Sober survey showed that a quarter of UK adults (25%) avoid drinking with certain friends because of their friends’ behaviour after a tipple. The annoying traits they saw in their mates after a drink included nearly half of these respondents saying their friend gets aggressive (54%) or becomes too loud (47%).

Macmillan suggests people give up alcohol for a month as a way of changing up their ‘normal’ social routines and see whether their friendships benefit from some time off the booze.

Many young people have already chosen to not to drink at all – one in eight (12%) 18-24 year olds say they are tee total. One explanation is that they are becoming less tolerant of these drunken behaviours and are keen to hold on to their friendships. Younger generations are more likely (36%) to stop drinking with a mate than those over the age of 55 (22%).

The research, carried out by YouGov, also revealed that men are twice as likely (6%) than women (3%) to stop seeing a friend for a drink because they believe their friends to be a bad influence.

Macmillan is calling on people to take a leaf from Generation Z’s book – try soberlising – and sign up to Go Sober for October. The potential impact of an alcohol-free month could, the charity says, be remarkable, and might lead to developing stronger bonds with friends. Plus, feeling energised throughout the day can open doors to exciting new experiences. All money raised will help Macmillan support the growing number of people living with cancer.

Lisa Shorter, Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “There are a host of benefits to ‘soberlising’, from feeling healthier thanks to hangover free mornings, to not embarrassing your friends too much on the dance floor. Not only will your mates thank you, but by doing Go Sober for October you’ll be raising vital money so Macmillan can continue to support people affected by cancer”.

Helen Foster, author of Quit Alcohol (For A Month), commented: “Having a drink can become our default option when we’re stressed out or, just as something to do on a Saturday night. Often, we don’t drink for the pleasure of tasting a nice glass of wine but simply because we’ve fallen into the habit.

“Go Sober for October gives you a chance to break those habits, step out of autopilot and change your behaviour – it’s a brilliant opportunity to reassess your attitudes to drinking, but also expand your social life. Now, I make plans to ‘soberlise’ with friends and we do things that don’t revolve around alcohol – my partner and I go to more casual restaurants where there’s no wine list – and brunch is my new favourite thing. Think of Go Sober for October as not as giving up drinking for a month – but finding a heap of new things to do where drinking isn’t the focus.”

Taking place from the 1st – 31st October 2017, Go Sober for October asks people to go 31 days without alcohol and ask friends and family for sponsorship.

In 2016, the fundraising challenge raised £4.1 million and crowned over 68,000 ‘Soberheroes’, with many claiming to; “feel motivated to learn a new skill”, “make new friends” and “save lots of money” after a month off the alcohol.

For more information on Macmillan Cancer Support’s Go Sober for October, visit www.gosober.org.uk.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with #GoSober.

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