Over the Christmas Holidays this past year I made the decision/bet with myself to abstain from all alcohol until my sisters graduation 4 months later. At the time of the decision I was probably a bottle of red wine in and looking for another. Nonetheless starting on New Years I began my endeavor of no alcohol.
What was it like not drinking?
First month w/ no alcohol
The first half of the month actually flew by. After binge drinking my way through the holidays it was actually a nice cleanse. Skipping past the first few weeks though I started to start missing that glass of bourbon after work. Cravings for my favorite beers staring me down from the beer fridge also started setting in.
Early into the second month is when I really began to notice changes. My water intake increased drastically and I was feeling much more awake in the mornings. My boxing workouts felt more productive and I began feeling less sluggish throughout the day.
I really began craving sweets. Not sure if this was related or not, but since I rarely drink soda and was drinking so much water I started allowing myself a can of Dr. Pepper or ginger ale when I started getting cravings. I feel like trading a single can of soda for the multiple alcoholic beverages was still a win. Around this time I also changed up my diet to healthier protein heavy meals.
Month four was actually the most challenging by far. It was epitomized by a last minute opportunity to go on a low budget ski trip with a few of my friends. We were fortunate that a few of them had recently moved to Colorado so we had a great place to stay. While there though the group decided to check out a few of the craft breweries and we ended up going to my favorite, Left Hand Brewery. While it was hard at first, I ended up taking advantage of my time there and stocked up on as much beer as I could fit in the car. OverallI I probably spent more than the four of them combined, but I now have a fridge stocked with beer that you could only get at the brewery.
More awake in the mornings / Better sleep
This was by far the most noticeable change. I will admit that I am the complete opposite of a morning person. After a few weeks of not drinking any alcohol and pushing through the initial cravings, I actually felt much more awake. There were many days where I even forewent my typical morning cup of coffee for water instead.
Heres someone who had similar results: No Liquor and No Coffee
I am not sure about you but I really enjoy a good cocktail. Unfortunately those run anywhere from $7 to $14 a drink where I live. A single drink at a restaurant basically doubles the cost of the meal. Even more so if we order a second round. It’s simple, restaurants and bars are expensive.
First Class Flight Upgrade
Fortunately my job has me flying all over the country and with that I am finally reaching the airline statuses that actually get you nice perks. With that being said, I finally got a first class upgrade but had to abstain from the champagne and spirits for the entire three hour flight. The benefits of more space and meal service were still very nice though.
While I do not have any quantitative numbers to prove that cutting alcohol alone cut weight. I believe that my workouts began to feel more productive and after four months I was down 15+ pounds.
Hanging out with friends at the bars was awkward
There is nothing like being a full time dedicated driver. This is where my fiancé really won out. Over the time I wasn’t drinking there were many events and festivals going on in our city. While my friends were very supportive, it was just awkward to be at a bar and not have a drink in my hand.
Friends were Supportive
When I made the decision to give up drinking just after Christmas, I thought that my biggest problem was going to be giving into pressure from my friends. My fiancé was extemely supportive and she actually noticed herself drinking less. Many of my close friends made a few jokes at first, but ended up being very supportive throughout my four months with no alcohol.
Four months without alcohol ended shortly before my sisters graduation and family vacation. I found myself to be a little more prone to the effects of alcohol after four months of no drinking. Yes, I was a lightweight. But it definitely saved me money on my bar tab.
With this experience in mind I drink significantly less than usual. Currently I am only drinking two, maybe three drinks a week. I feel more productive and have much more energy than I did only four months previously.
Has anyone else tried going on a no alcohol challenge?