Health & Fitness

I ditched booze for a month and this is what happened

October 9, 2016

I know what you’re thinking. Why would you do this? Well, there are the usual reasons, I wanted to do a bit of a detox and shed the pounds that alcohol had clearly helped me add on. I basically wanted to try and be one of those healthy people.

I was also going through a break up and found myself suddenly living with a ton of emotions I wasn’t ready to deal with and quickly realised that alcohol was just making it worse.

But the main reason for my month of sobriety is because I had some serious beef with booze…

I’m not sure if it was my anxiety, my relationship/break-up situation, or maybe just my age *rolls eyes* but this year, hangovers turned into chronic comedowns. Gone are the days of The Fungover, where I’d spend all day in my PJ’s watching chic flicks, drinking tea and laughing over pictures from the night before. Instead I’d wake up to feelings of sadness, loneliness, embarrassment, as well as a head full to the brim of paranoid thoughts, all toppling out one by one as my brain couldn’t handle the weight of them. The tiredness (and regret!) totally unbearable

As I’m sure many of you are aware, alcohol is in fact a depressant. Whilst we all feel the light buzz and giddiness after a couple of beers, soon enough deeper emotions begin to creep in, all brought on by alcohol. This is how fights break out, this is why people start crying, or in some cases this is why people start spilling their deepest and darkest secrets to all. Alcohol is responsible for all of the above and I was no stranger to these emotions and actions.

Basically, alcohol wasn’t my friend anymore. Somewhere along the line, Booze had turned it’s back on me. And rather than try and reconcile with it, I decided to turn my back on booze too … well, for a month at least!

It was time to give my body some love, to give my brain a break, and to see what really happens when you live an alcohol free life. Here is what happened over the four weeks that I ditched my so called mate, Booze. Let’s get the negatives out the way first, shall we?

Severe FOMO (fear of missing out)

I knew this would happen, so it wasn’t too much of a shock when I wasn’t invited along to boozy social events or had to turn down invites out, but I’ll admit, it was lonely at times. It was a weird feeling to work throughout the week, counting down the days until the weekend, only to get to Friday and feel like I had nout to look forward to because I wouldn’t be drinking. Although, this was a wake-up call in itself. Had I really been living for the weekends? Or living for the need to get p*ssed on the weekends? Which was it?
For the first two weekends I constantly had that anxious feeling of FOMO running through my mind. I so badly wanted to reunite with alcohol so I could go out and socialise and join in all the fun. But I just had to remind myself of JOMO (joy of missing out) which includes movie nights in with popcorn and waking up Hangover free on Saturdays and Sundays.

Honestly? That is pretty much the only negative. It’s a big one and it massively affected my social life, but it really is the only negative to not drinking. So let’s move onto the positives…

Better Sleep

I’d had sleep problems for months. I assumed it was due to stress, as well as relationship and break up issues playing on my mind. I would have problems actually falling asleep, then I would toss and turn all night and then want to sleep all day. But by week two of removing alcohol from my life, I was fast asleep by 10.30pm and could sleep straight through until the morning.

I actually became a morning person!

Because I was getting such a good night’s sleep, I began waking up earlier. And I’m not talking about waking up red-eyed, grumpy and wanting to go back asleep. Nope. Each morning I woke up fresh as a daisy, feeling happy, motivated and ready to kick the days arse. Throw in some singing animals and every morning was like a scene from Snow White.
Even on weekends, I no longer wanted to sleep all day and lie around in my PJ’s, I wanted to get up and be active. No booze basically gave me plenty more hours in the day.

So much more energy (AND I lost 6lbs)

I would like to point out that during my month of sobriety I was making an effort to eat healthier and run a few times a week. When I started the no booze challenge (early August) I’d been running on and off for 15 months and had a love/hate relationship with it. But I couldn’t believe how much more energy I had by cutting alcohol out of my life.
Before I started my month off booze, I had a massive bender with friends (obvs) and two days later I tried to run and could barely run 1.5 miles. But by week four of being alcohol-free I could run 7 miles, whilst feeling fit and amazing and ready to do it all again the next day. The lack of alcohol in my system, in addition to running, most certainly played a big part in me losing that 6lbs. That’s nearly half a stone! Half a stone that I’d been struggling to shift for soooooo long, and I managed to knock it off in a month thanks to ditching booze.

My Skin was Glowing

Not only did it feel softer, but I could actually see a difference. To be fair, I’ve never really had ‘bad’ skin or suffered acne, but my skin can often look dull and get a tad blotchy at times. But three weeks into no boozing and I literally felt like my face was glowing and even had a few compliments on how fresh faced I looked.

I felt Happy, like, a lot!

I honestly did. Minus the FOMO moments, and the random cravings for wine, I felt incredibly happy throughout my four weeks of sober life, which was surprising considering I was going through a break up and living in my Sisters spare room. But I loved having my weekend’s hangover free to go out and do stuff, and I found myself every now and then almost having a natural high; a sudden burst of joy I couldn’t explain would take over me. Of course, this could have partially been due to running, but I like to think my mind and body being completely alcohol free played a big role in it too. I know it did.

There was a pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow

I didn’t drink everyday, but spending money on alcohol, especially in London, was all too easy. Whether it’s buying a load of booze from the supermarket for drinks at a friends, or paying a ridiculous amount for overpriced cocktails at a bar, alcohol, for a long time, has been a HUGE expenditure of mine.
So, I decided to put £30 away for each week I was sober, as a minimum of what I would have spent on alcohol if I was drinking. Then I was able to reward myself with £120 at the end of the month. Of course, that was an absolute minimum, if I had actually been drinking throughout the month of August, I imagine I would have spent a lot more on alcohol – especially as I am the worst for encouraging everyone for ‘one more round’ and then whacking it on my card at the end of the night.

**

So overall, a fantastically positive outcome. The benefits to giving up alcohol are incredible – healthier, happier, lighter and even wealthier! What amazing results.

Will I be giving up alcohol forever?

Nope!

You would think that after such an experiment and after such amazing results, I would be swearing off booze for eternity. But truth be told, I did miss drinking. And as I said earlier in the post, it hugely affected my social life. I most certainly do not want to go back to drinking all the time and spending copious amounts of money on booze with nothing to show for it the next day – bar regret. I don’t want to go back to putting on weight and being that lazy hungover girl I would be nearly every weekend. No way!

Going forward, I want to massively limit my alcohol intake, and I have been since the experiment ended. My drinking has been massively reduced. No more boozing multiple times throughout the week just for the sake of it. Now that I have seen the damage alcohol was really doing to me, and the amazing and healthy lifestyle I can have by limiting it, I most certainly want to do just that.

 Could go one month without alcohol?

If you think I’m mad for quitting booze for a month, then check out my friend Amy. She has pledged to go Alcohol-Free for 12 months to raise money for Mind – The Mental Health Charity. Sponsor her sober butt here!


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