Thinking of going alcohol-free for while?
‘I am never drinking again’ were the words I said way too often. Waking up with only snippets of the night before, a banging headache, achy body and anxiety at an all time high. Not to mention the huge amount of money spent on drinks, taxis and greasy food for the journey home. Don’t get me wrong a pink gin and lemonade on ice sat in the sunshine will always have my heart but it very rarely ends up just being the one. With crazy, busy adult life and lots of goals to tick off, one morning I decided I would take a break from alcohol (initially just for a month or two) to allow me to focus on my health and in turn my goals, business and life plans.
I am 3 months down the line now and with just two alcoholic drinks consumed (a champagne at a friends wedding and a Pimms at a summer BBQ), I can hand on heart say I haven’t missed it one bit. My head is clearer, my fitness has improved, to do list is up to date, made moves on house projects and saved a tonne of money.
I was going to write about alcohol-free dates in this blog, however as I came to think of it, there shouldn’t be any difference. For example a date day in Brighton used to consist of getting the train in the morning with a bottle of fizz, a wander round the lanes and a spot of shopping followed by lunch and Sangria. We went recently and instead I drove, we had just as good of a time shopping, enjoying lunch and driving home when we were done. A big win was waking up the next day fresh as a daisy and was able to get out for a beach walk.
Gay Pride was another example - a day usually full of alcohol and partying. Again I drove, enjoyed a fresh water (I don’t drink fizzy drinks so this is as adventurous as it gets I’m afraid!) and some snacks whilst everyone else got on it. When we were ready to leave we didn’t have to worry about taxis or getting the train. Instead we jumped in the car, got a Burger King on the way home and were in bed by 10pm!
If it is something you are thinking of doing but haven’t quite tried it yet, here are some things that helped me:
- Remember the why. Saying I wasn’t going to drink because I wanted to lose weight wasn’t enough of a reason. Nor was the fact ‘I want to be up early tomorrow’. Focusing on what no alcohol could really bring to your life was the game changer for me - similar to what I shared above this could be more money to spend on meaningful things, better mental health, improved health and fitness, time on a Sunday morning doing something you love rather than in bed, working on a house project, quality time with others etc etc. Find what the drivers are for you and remind yourself daily of them.
- Keep making the normal plans you would. Not drinking doesn’t mean you have to cancel plans - instead keeping the plans you would normally have is really important so you aren’t missing out on time with loved ones. OK I haven’t braved a bottomless brunch sober yet but there is defo the option to do so. And I am sure it will be just as good a day out, dancing with friends and enjoying good food.
- Remember the why. This isn’t a typo! I genuinely think that if your reasons for stopping are more impactful than letting your hair down on a night out (which you can still do sober may I add!), this is the only tip you’ll need.
Now I am not saying I will never drink again but weirdly the longer I go without alcohol the less I crave it when out and about. I know I’ll drink on holidays (ticking off goals and working on fitness is the least of my priorities then!) and special occasions most likely. It’d be great to hear from anyone that is thinking of having a break or has stepped away from alcohol already. I am seeing more and more giving it a go and would love to hear how you found it.