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January is the time of year most of us make promises to live a cleaner, healthier life and ditch our bad habits, so The Hour decided to follow three wine-loving girls, who vowed to ditch the booze for the first month of the year.
Sharon McKinley, 28, Nicole Wilson, 24 and Claire Kay, 24, all work in PR which means they are often surrounded by free champagne and cocktails are work parties and events.
After being asked to keep a booze diary, all three admitted they got a “wakeup call”; in the space of just one week between Christmas and New Year, Nicole downed a shocking 74 units of alcohol, Claire necked 51 units and Sharon 31. The average for a woman should be no more than around no more than 14-15 units a week.
So all three, who spend a lot of time socialising as part of their job, decided that it was time for a change, and vowed to give up alcohol for the first month of the year.
Oli Norman, the ladies’ boss, admitted before the challenge started that he didn’t think Nicole, Sharon and Claire would be able to stick to their promise. “When I hear Nicole, Sharon and Claire were giving up alcohol for the teetotal challenge on The Hour I to be honest looked to see if anyone would take odds on that, because not only are they trying to give up in January, they’re trying to do it on national television.
“You’re talking about three girls who treat alcohol much as you would milk in your cereal. These are girls who are out constantly at champagne-filled events, so good luck to them, that’s all I’m going to say!”
But they’ve done better than he anticipated. Surprisingly Nicole – one of the biggest drinkers out the trio, and the one who the other two girls thought would be the first to fall off the wagon – has actually stuck to her promise to drink no booze.
“I stopped drinking on the second of January and I’ve not been drinking since, it’s going really well. I’ve noticed quite a big change so it’s really encouraging,” she said.
“I’ve got a big birthday tonight, I’ve got a big birthday tomorrow and I’ve got a big birthday next weekend so if I can get through them I can get through anything.”
Claire, who often embarked on booze binges during nights out with the girls at the weekend, didn’t do so well and admitted that she started drinking after just nine days on the alcohol-free plan.
“I think initially when we were asked by STV to take on the challenge I thought ‘oh yes that’ll be easy,” because January is one of those months. But I didn’t anticipate how tough it would be,” she revealed.
Claire added: “I didn’t last more than ten days; on day nine had a rose wine, then I had a bit blow-out with the girls on the Saturday night. I felt bad the morning after, I had the guilt. I fell off the wagon. I tried but I failed. I think I might have the month in February when we don’t have the challenge – maybe the pressure got to me!”
Meanwhile Sharon, who drank the least out of the three girls, is actually enjoying her challenge and admitted that she’s feeling the benefits of drinking less.
I was quite scared of going out to a work even without having a drink, I was quite nervous about that. But it’s definitely not been nearly as I thought. I was out last night and I had a great time and just drank soft drinks all night and I was home at a reasonable hour. It was great, I actually felt a lot better for it.”