On January 1 2016 I decided this was the year I wanted to take my health into my own hands. Over the last few years I’ve dramatically changed my diet and I knew I needed to move more by taking up a bit of cardio and more recently F45. Something clicked with me and I realised that my health and happiness would shape my future so 2016 was the year I was going to consciously do something about it.
So, I decided I was going to give up alcohol, just for the year to see what it’s like. I used to drink a lot in my 20’s, partying all night long but over the last two years I’ve calmed it down massively and would probably have a night out once every couple of months rather than every weekend. I found that hangovers were lasting longer and I felt miserable. I also couldn’t remember a lot of the evening so alarm bells were ringing and I was thinking ‘is there any point in continuing this on?’ I hated the guilt I would put on myself, the fear that would build up and the self doubt. It was horrendous and I didn’t want to live my life like that anymore. I also found that Sydney nightlife was pretty rubbish and it really felt like it was time for me to try this experiment I had been hearing about.
Here we are 6 months in. What’s changed? Here’s my 6 months off the booze check in and what I’ve learnt in these months which might inspire any of you taking up Dry July (Australia’s booze free month!).
It was hard at first
To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to be hard at all. I didn’t think I drank much although my partner always had wine in the fridge, I would have a glass with most evening meals. Because I gave up in the middle of Summer, January is the time of the year when Sydney is going off and the time to party and I found it really hard. It was difficult not to have a glass of wine on a Friday after work and because I work in Media there’s always Friday drinks. But I got around it by cycling to work. This was the only way I could not pop up to my work rooftop on a beautiful evening and join in with everyone. I also found it really difficult not to be able to order a glass of wine with dinner but at least one thing I really noticed was how much cheaper our bill was.
Socialising & Going To The Pub
So I remember the first time I went to the pub booze free for a friend’s leaving Australia party. I was nervous on how it would turn out but it was actually mind blowing. Usually I would have spent the entire day drinking and Sunday would have been a day lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself having also spent a lot of money. Instead I drove to the pub, stayed for a couple of hours and once I could see everyone was at that turning point of drunkenness I left. Because I don’t drink fizzy drinks, I spent the time on water which most thought was weird. The amount of times everyone asked if I wanted a drink as it made THEM feel really uncomfortable.
What I learnt from that day was because I left after two hours, I felt it was enough time spent with everyone, I only spent $5 the entire time just on parking and I had the rest of the day to do other things let alone get up at 6:30am the next day and go running. To me, this was a revolution. I was absolutely gob smacked at how much better my weekend was all because I didn’t drink.
Another thing I’ve changed is I have a group of friends now that all don’t drink. This wasn’t planned at all and it’s amazing now much better our evenings are that we can have a brilliant catch up and laugh together without getting smashed.
Getting more done on weekends
Completing my first half marathon!
So following on from that, I’ve noticed I am way more productive on weekends now since giving up booze. I now wake up and go for a run early in the morning and I can now work more on this blog and other passions of mine. The only down side is weekends seem to fly by now. I’ve always found that when I’ve spent the day hungover, the day seems to go on forever. This is not a good thing but I remember the weekend’s seem to last much longer when I drank before.
A good thing is that I sleep way much better now and I don’t need nearly as much sleep anymore. I think because I’ve cut out alcohol, I don’t have that crap night’s sleep for the next few days after a big night. That being said I don’t have anymore anxiety dreams like I used to which would always wake me up in the night.
I’ve really noticed that I am way more focused when it comes to work and my personal life since giving it up and I have a lot more energy. I also find it much easier to work out now as I used work out during the week and then let it go at the weekend. So many people seem to do this which is really not a great way of life. It’s all about 80% what you put in your body and 20% exercise not the other way round. That being said, I eat much better now. If I was hungover I would have gone straight for a pizza and fried food but now being vegan, these are out the window for me.
What’s it like living with someone who still drinks?
My partner gave up alcohol with me but caved 2 months later. I was proud of him to last that long as about a month before we took up the challenge, he was drinking about a bottle of wine a night. When he did drink again and a bit too much, he has been a nightmare the next day. I always seem to forget he’s on a hangover and once I’ve worked it out, it makes sense why he’s acting very different and difficult. He becomes irritated quite quickly and it makes me wonder how we lasted as a couple when both of us were hungover. It’s incredible what a different person you become so at least now I can tell him to calm down as it’s so obvious he’s hanging. He hasn’t gone back to his old drinking habits though and only drinks once every couple of weeks. He’s way more productive and has become a morning person which he definitely has never been before!!
So have I drank anything in the last 6 months?
3 years ago in South Africa wine tasting
About a month ago I decided to drink at a work do. I don’t really know why but it was probably anticipation that got me, you know the feeling of wondering what it would be like to drink again. At first the wine was really bitter and was too harsh on my throat. I then carried on and the night went on longer than it should have done.
The next day was horrendous. I really noticed how dehydrated my body was and it couldn’t cope. It really made me wonder how my body had probably been so dehydrated for most of my 20’s. Most of all, it reminded me that yes, I won’t be drinking again. For me I hate the way it’s plays with my mind and I don’t like the feeling of being out of control of my body let alone putting pure poison into it.
So that’s 6 whole months and 1 night of drinking. Although I let myself down, I’m still proud of this accomplishment because it’s the longest I have gone without any alcohol since my teens. One thing I know is I have absolutely no desire to go back to alcohol any time soon because it’s just not for me at this stage in my life. I’ve noticed I’m much happier, way more focused and I feel alive!
If you’re thinking of giving it up, why not try out Dy July. Australia’s booze free month, this is a fantastic way to try it out and see the benefits. Then if you like it try it for longer. A friend from work usually does one month on, one month off.
Have you given up alcohol? Let me know what it’s done for you below in the comments.
Thanks for reading