When autumn leaves those habits behind

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October is a month for abstinence, or so we’re being told.

Despite the cold days and long nights drawing in – which, let’s face it, leave many of us feeling more than a little down – two different campaigns are asking us to show some inner strength and give up the most addictive of vices – smoking and drinking.

The first, funded by Public Health England, is ‘Stoptober’ – a 28-day challenge to stop smoking.

Why 28 days, you ask? Are you allowed three quick ciggie breaks? Apparently not. No, the science behind the scheme suggests that, after 28 days without a cigarette, people are five times more likely to quit smoking for good.

The second campaign, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, is ‘Sober October’.

Yep, you’ve guessed it, this time we’re asked to give up alcohol for the month, and get friends to sponsor us for doing so.

As I understand it, participants are given two ‘golden ticket’ days, when they are allowed to raise a glass for a special occasion.

So, will I be partaking in either challenge this October? I’m afraid not. A fan of clean air and healthy lungs, I have never and will never be a smoker, so no need to worry about that one.

And as for going sober – even for an incredibly worthy cause – I’m afraid it’s not on the cards for me. Firstly, because despite it only being October 3, I’d have already used those two precious golden tickets.

A catch-up with the bestie and date night with The Boy both required a cocktail or two this week.

As for the rest of the month, I’m not sure if ‘It’s cold, dark and wet outside and I’ve had a terrible day at work’ really constitutes a golden moment, but from past experience, a glass or two of red should make things a whole lot better.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people trying to live a healthier way of life. Heck, colleagues tire of my diatribes on diet and exercise.

But I’m not the biggest fan of being told when and how to give things up.

A rebel without a cause, perhaps, but that devil on my shoulder still says, ‘I’ll do it in my own time and in my own way, thank you very much.’

That won’t be the case for everyone, I’m sure, so good luck to those who are putting down their packets of cigarettes or banishing the bottle this month.

You’re better people than I...