Frequently Asked Questions about the MOB

We will use this page to collate and answer any questions that come up during the MOB. If you have a question, you can ask it at one of the weekly webinars, the Club Soda Facebook group, or by emailing us!

Q: MOB? Sober Sprint? Which is it?

A: Both! The programme was originally called “the MOB”, but we renamed it as “Sober Sprint”. But since this website uses the word MOB everywhere, we decided not to start changing it. So we talk about both, but they mean, and are, exactly the same thing.

Q: Some of the videos mention a questionnaire called AUDIT. But I can’t find it?

A: Don’t worry – you’re not missing out. When we first started this course, we suggested that people complete the AUDIT questionnaire. AUDIT is commonly used in healthcare settings and gives people a score out of 40 which helps medical professionals understand if drinking might be impacting their health. It’s really commonly used, and if you Google it, you’ll find it all over the internet (if you’re interested in taking it).

We’ve stopped using AUDIT, for three main reasons:

  • First, AUDIT is a health screening questionnaire and we’re not medical professionals – so we’re not really qualified to tell you how to interpret you score.
  • Second, we know that drinking affects your social and emotional life can as much as it impacts you health – but AUDIT won’t help you think about this.
  • Third – and for us most importantly – healthcare professionals often use AUDIT to try to convince people to change their drinking. If you’ve signed up to do the Sober Sprint, you know you want to change – it’s our job to help you work out how, in ways that work for you.

Q:  I’ve just got the first email, and rather than feel excited about the challenge ahead of me and the possibility of a better quality of life I just feel a bit tearful and terrified. Help!

A: I think it’s really honest of you to admit there’s both excitement and fear in change. These earlier emails do contain some of the more ‘serious’ facts and information about drinking, and words like ‘risks’ and ‘dependency’ can increase our anxiety. Once the MOB gets underway we hope the daily emails increase your excitement about the change you are making. If you would like to arrange a short chat over Skype, just let me know (helen@joinclubsoda.co.uk) . Warm regards, Helen

Q. Do 0% (non-alcoholic) beers contain sugar?

A: According to this Belgian website (and they should know about these things!), yes they do, often more than regular beers in fact: “The average sugar content of alcohol-free beer is estimated at 55 g/litre, compared with 35 to 40 g/litre for ordinary lager-type beer“. Though we believe that this depends on the method used to make the non-alcoholic beer, for example whether the beer has been brewed fully, or only for a short while. So it’s always best to check each brand’s details if you can.

Q: I have been getting problems getting off to sleep. Thoughts?

A: We wrote a whole blog post on this topic a while ago, that could be a useful starting point. Another MOBber had this to add: “It’s all about retraining your body to wind down at a reasonable hour. My mum bought me a book and CD by Paul McKenna called I Can Make You Sleep which was useful to me. It took a while (a week or two) but I got there in the end and found I got naturally tired around 11pm (which is when I would stick the CD on). Once your body gets into that routine then it gets much easier to get quality sleep and didn’t need the CD anymore.”

Q: Why do I find it so easy to stop completely for a month, yet just can’t seem to stop half way through a bottle of wine?

A: I think that we are often able to successfully apply ourselves to a big project because it’s “all” we are doing for a period of time – maybe we ‘write off ‘ certain things (hey friends, you won’t be seeing me this month because I’m doing a MOB etc). This project takes all our focus and we change our life around quite a bit for that period of time, we become fundamentalists about this pet project. But this is not the kind of change we can or are prepared to sustain long-term, it’s even perhaps a bit of an unrealistic set-up. Eventually, other things (life) starts creeping back in and we can’t give that ‘big project’ all our energy and focus any more.

So actually, maintaining control over alcohol for the long-haul (e.g. allowing yourself “some, but not too much”) is the harder task. You need constant vigilance, you need to plan for and use moderation strategies constantly, you need to be aware of when you are sliding back into old ways and nip it in the bud etc. A crash diet before a holiday is easier than sustaining year-long sensible eating.

Clients in my controlled drinking group usually say that it is easier to be successful on their planned days off alcohol each week than it is to be successful on the days they do plan to drink, but intend to drink moderately (e.g. they often over-drink on the days they drink). The reason? We have far more self-control and care more about the consequences of our decisions when we are sober. Two drinks in (5 units in half a bottle of wine) and we will care less about consequences and are less able to resist thoughts and urges to finish the bottle. Being in control of alcohol with alcohol already inside you is a huge challenge! So…a behavioural/environmental solution to that is to just have less wine to start with, knowing that at least if it’s not there you can’t get hold of any more! Buy two small bottles rather than one large. People say that’s uneconomical or that the wine they like doesn’t come in the small bottles etc, but it’s certainly a solution.

We will be doing some reflections about ‘what now’ at the end of the MOB – some people might hope to return to a more controlled drinking, others to carry on not drinking at all.