Remember that time I didn’t drink for 4 weeks?

 

I made it. I went 4 weeks without booze. Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie. I allowed myself one beverage when I was in Atlanta on that work trip. The best part of traveling is eating the food and drinking the drinks. Period. I allowed myself one, and that is a serious testament to my willpower.

There was nothing particularly mind-blowing. I might have lost a pound or two. My skin was not noticeably better. However, it does seem noticeably worse a week and a half after this booze fast has ended, which is great. A friend told me my face looked thinner, but this particular friend tells me I look thin a lot. I’m not saying it’s not true. It’s just a hard thing to gauge. It could have been the way the dim restaurant lighting complimented my face that night.

The biggest change I noticed was in my quality of sleep. I slept easier, and I slept through the night. I even stopped taking Valerian Root for a while, and I was completely fine. Maybe not completely, but mostly. In any case, that’s a huge deal for me. I also generally felt better. I was in a better mood most days.

The downside was that it was a very lonely month. I spent just about every weekend alone. No one called me (or texted because let’s be real-millennials don’t call people), and I didn’t call anyone because I didn’t know what on earth I could suggest as an activity for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon if alcohol wasn’t an option. I think alcohol has robbed us all of our creativity. It didn’t help that Harrison was playing guitar for a local Rocky Horror production the first 3 weekends of October. He wasn’t even around most of the time. I watched A LOT of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc…

By the way, Amanda Knox on Netflix is bonkers. I highly recommend it. If you get through 13th without tears, you’re a monster. Oh, and You’re the Worst is actually hilarious.

Since I’ve been “back on the sauce,” I’ve said “no” to alcohol way more than I would have before, and I think that will probably continue. When you spend a few weeks sleeping better and generally feeling a little bit better, it’s important to acknowledge that. I love having drinks with friends, and I really love craft beer. There is no reason I need to have a beer with dinner every night, though. There just isn’t.

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Four weeks, no drinks

I started a 4 week challenge this week. During these 4 weeks, I will not consume alcohol. That’s the plan. Why, you ask? I’ll explain.

First, I should say that I’m not necessarily going into this with any outrageous expectations, or because I’m concerned that I have any sort of addiction issues. You may recall that I do not enjoy being drunk, and I do not enjoy being around other drunk humans. But I do enjoy drinking. When Harrison and I have nothing to do on a Saturday or Sunday, we find a brewery we haven’t been to, or we go to one of our nearby favorites and try something new they’ve recently put on tap. We live in Denver- the capitol of the best state for beer in the country, and we have a love affair with craft beer and supporting the local breweries who make them. What I’m saying is that I’m going to have to be a hell of a lot more creative with my free time over the next few weeks.

I’m not sure that my aversion to getting hammered means that I have a healthy relationship with alcohol, though. And it’s not just me; it’s basically my entire generation and even beyond that. We include alcohol in so many things we do on a daily basis. If we meet an old friend to catch up, we meet over drinks. If we want to keep it a little bit classy, it’ll be dinner and drinks. If we go out with friends on a Friday or Saturday night, we go to bars. If we have a stressful day, we have a glass of wine or a beer (probably more like 2 or 3 or more regardless of beverage choice) to unwind. We drink at concerts, sporting events, plays, musicals, art galleries, parks, movie theaters. The hair salon I go to even keeps beer and wine on hand for customers, and several local craft breweries host yoga classes. It is everywhere, and to be honest if I screw this up, it’ll probably be because I’ll forget that I’m not supposed to be drinking right now. As I sit here approaching 30, it has simply become a natural thing to order a drink with dinner without even thinking twice about it.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing or that drinking is bad. I’m totally going to a brewery yoga class when this is all over, because those are two things I love.

What I’m saying is that I think that sometimes things we think we have control of get away from us, and we don’t even realize it. I notice as I get older, “just one more” is sometimes one too many, and I just don’t feel great. Let’s be real- this is totally a little bit about control for me. It’s definitely about giving my body a break, but it’s also definitely about control. This is me making sure that I have the ability to say “no” in circumstances where it is almost expected that I have a drink in my hand. Instead of thinking about this idea of what is socially expected, I need to make sure that I am being true to what I actually want at any given moment, in any establishment I find myself in.

I’ve had friends who have given up drinking for similar lengths of time. They have said that they lose a little weight, their skin clears, and their mind clears. Maybe some of those things will happen for me, maybe they won’t. It would be a bonus.

This is going to be hard, but so far, I’ve made it through a concert and dinners with Harrison where I would normally have a beer without even thinking about it. I’m excited to see how I feel at the end of 4 weeks. I’ll report back.