# R2BT Thirsty Crew – Travis Mealing

Consider me ‘Ready to be Thirsty

Alcohol-free challenge an opportunity to examine my drinking habits

Midland Mirror

MIDLAND – One of my favourite drinks is Bailey’s over ice. A glass of wine also hits the spot with certain meals, and I really enjoy the occasional cold beer.

Nonetheless, here I am preparing to participate in “Ready to be Thirsty,” an alcohol-free challenge lasting all 28 days of February. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit initiative is designed to encourage people to make informed decisions about their own health – including moderating their alcohol consumption.

Do I need to moderate my drinking? Not really. I’m the furthest thing from the stereotypical, whisky-soaked journalist. There is no liquor flask in my desk drawer, and I never meet sources in darkened bars.

But I would still describe my attitude toward alcohol as fairly liberal. Although I rarely (almost never) drink to excess, I’ve got no issue with those who enjoy bending an elbow on a more regular basis. As long as they don’t drive after drinking, all you’ll hear from me is a cheerful “Bottoms up!”

I am one of a number of media personalities or community leaders taking part in this challenge. Midland Mayor Gord McKay, 104.1 The Dock host Meg Whitton, the health unit’s Dr. Charles Gardner and Tony Grace of CTV Barrie are some of my fellow temporary teetotallers.

While I can’t speak for any other “Thirsty Crew” members, I can say I’m looking at this as an opportunity to learn about my own relationship with booze. Will I find this challenge difficult? Will I have cravings for alcohol? Will I resist the temptation or succumb to it?

I suspect I’ll breeze through the month without a problem, but it will be interesting to see if any situations arise to test my fortitude.

The health unit is hoping many more people will get involved in the challenge through social media. “Ready to be Thirsty” participants can signal their involvement through their Twitter account by tweeting with the hashtag #R2BT. On Facebook, they can post to their own page using #R2BT so others can find their updates.

I’ll post my own updates to Twitter via The Mirror’s account (@MidlandMirror). Followers will also see retweets from other participants who choose to share their experiences.

For more information about the challenge, visit smdhu.org/thirst.

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