What Happens When You Give Up Alcohol for a Month
At the beginning of the year, my boyfriend and I embarked on a 31-day no alcohol challenge (or “Dry January” as it’s called) to kick off the year on a healthier note and reset after the craziness of the holidays. Well, it’s now February, and Dry January is “officially over.”
So, what happens when you give up alcohol for a month?
I wish I could say I had some insane life changes over the past month or some enlightening revelations to share, but the month really just came and went (for me). Sure, there were stressful moments when it would have been nice to unwind with a glass of wine at night, and there were plenty of occasions (Mexico, anyone?!) when a spicy margarita or good tequila at the rocks would have been appropriate. But overall, the experience helped us both reset, focus on our goals for the month and clear our minds (and bodies). And when February 1st came, I still opted for sparkling water over champagne.
What I learned from giving up alcohol for a month
Social plans can get dicey.
It immediately became very apparent just how heavily alcohol is used as a social lubricant. Once you say you’re not drinking, it seems like every social event revolves around alcohol. I found myself thinking, “well if I’m not going to drink, is it even worth going?”
Expect some strange reactions.
You’ll also definitely get some strange (and weirdly strong) reactions from friends and coworkers. People seem to LOVE giving you a piece of their mind on your decision to not drink. Some people in your life will be positive and encouraging and look for other ways to make time for you. Other friends you might not see as much anymore, and you realize how much of your relationship was based off of going out and getting drinks together.
Opt for mocktails if you have to.
I will say that in many industries, social drinking is a huge part of networking and getting ahead, so sometimes the pressure to drink is not only social, it’s professional. If you’re trying to drink less in these situations, I would recommend nursing one drink the entire evening, or sticking to sparkling water or soda in a cocktail glass (a water glass is a dead giveaway for no booze).
Were there any benefits of not drinking for full month?
For me, hands down yes. There are real benefits. The ones I experienced: waking up every morning naturally refreshed. Not having a hangover (or regret). Not eating crap food or wasting a Sunday away on the couch because of said hangover. Clearer skin and better digestion. Feeling less bloated – dare I say, I see the beginning of some baby abs? Holding myself more accountable to my goals. Having more time to focus on other things that are important to me. Being more productive. Working out more.
One of the biggest (and most obvious) benefits:
Alcohol is expensive! Especially when you’re not drinking at home. When we went out to eat, our dinner bill seemed to be half of what it would normally be if we had each gotten a couple cocktails or split a bottle of wine. To be fair, selling liquor is how most restaurants make a profit, which is understandable. Although we definitely noticed it in how pushy our waiters would be when we turned down drinks.
At our resort in Mexico, it felt as though we were being asked every 5 minutes if we wanted something to drink. Can I get you something from the bar? Are you sure you don’t want a margarita by the pool? While we didn’t go into the month with the intention of cutting out booze to save money, it turns out that you can save a lot of money by eliminating that glass of wine every time you go out to eat.
My final thoughts on giving up alcohol for a month:
Going a month of intentionally saying no to every drink that was offered to me made me rethink my own drinking habits. I’m not a big drinker and have a relatively small frame. So even one drink at night can sometimes lead to me not sleeping well and waking up groggy the next day. Also, now that I’m in my late twenties, the two day hangover is REAL, guys.
Then there’s the whole “adulting” of it all. Most corporate jobs aren’t a 9-to-5 gig anymore, and it’s a busy time of year at the studio where I work. I had to set priorities for myself, and they were: family and friends, work, wellness, and blogging. I don’t drink much because I really just can’t afford to. And a lot of my friends my age and older agree. I know, it doesn’t sound so fun – but I’m also a huge proponent of having fun without booze. I 100% believe you do not need to be liquored up to have (or be) a good time.
That’s why when February came around, I wasn’t jumping to drink and passed on the opportunity. I’m not saying I’ll never have a drink again, but Dry January definitely made me rethink my priorities and set some new intentions. So with that said, happy February everyone, and cheers! xx