On January 6, 2020 I decided to do a 30 day “no drinking” challenge with my husband. Now keep in mind due to some health and lifestyle changes of his, we’d been in and out of a ‘we drink less now’ phase in our lives for about a year; him more so than me. And with the cliché “New Year New You” campaigns filling our inboxes we figured it would be appropriate to set out on a 30-Day Dry Challenge (no if ands or buts about it) and see where that takes us.
Week one went by and it wasn’t so bad, we had one drinking engagement that we chose to not drink. It was an event that took place at local wine bar with buy one get one happy hour glasses of wine.
Spoiler alert: we were the only ones not drinking and the world didn’t end. It was actually great. Although, we would have only had 1 or 2 glasses of wine, we left feeling clear headed and still a lot of energy to go home cook, be productive, and set out our goals for the following day. No anxiety or stirred emotions came to the surface as a result of a tipsy brain and exhaustion from the work day.
We went into week two which included a trip to Atlanta to visit friends and attend two separate events for each of us. Well that trip included dinners at wonderful restaurants with yummy meals and rich conversations – all which would have paired perfectly with a nice cocktail or glass of wine (or so we used to think). Guests at our table ordered very nice bottles of red that I would have normally loved to have enjoyed with my dinner and/or chose a specific meal to pair with the wine. A celebratory moment of not only my husband receiving a new job and making a huge decision for HIMSELF, but my best friend and I launching a new project and it going off FLAWLESSLY; were two more ‘events’ we had to deal with that would amounted to a drink. Moments of celebration throughout life are typically graced with ‘well it’s a special occasion so just this once,’ but how many ‘just this onces’ do we need to continue having in our lives?
The temptations continued to exist and will continue to do so, whether at the dinner table, a celebratory glass of champagne, or the ‘let’s just have one to celebrate.’ And we pushed through them all and once again, it was great. I didn’t even end up missing the beverage and certainly didn’t miss the morning brain fog with a lingering headache to wake up to too. And the productivity and energy has been nothing short of amazing.
So then the following week (today marks day 20 as I’m writing this) we were hit with stress. And when I say stress I don’t mean the “I have a million things to do today, and I’ll never get them done” stress. I mean the earth-shattering type of stress. The stress of your newly hired attorney saying “well that didn’t go as I thought it would.” The stress of what appears to be a magnificently, inspiring global company threatening to sue my teeny tiny Florida based marketing company and even threatening to throw the ‘corporate veil’ because of a trademark issue in our name. And when I speak about this please know that we complied and took everything down. However, in a matters of days, I now not only don’t have a business or a way of making money, but every penny left in my bank account is going to pay for the other parties’ lawyer fees in hopes this lovely individual goes away. Mixed with an onslaught of prayers that the other party doesn’t take us to Federal court, where we’d go bankrupt at age 29 and three years in business. But that’s a story for another time once we get out of this alive.
However, what did happen in week three?
Aside from a borderline panic attack…it would have been the perfect opportunity to just have ‘one drink’ out of desperation to take the edge off. But we pushed through and we didn’t. Sure, it might have been a temporary little pat on the back but what would it have done? Nothing. And probably opened up way more anxiety and restless nights then the current situation was already creating.
So, all in all what I’m trying to say here is if you’ve ever questioned at times in your life if you need alcohol or not. YOU DON’T. Society and lifestyles have trained to believe that without alcohol we can’t go on, or we won’t have any more friends, or will live a life of ‘boredom.’ And I want to let you know that all of that isn’t true. Those are the limiting beliefs in our heads that are keeping us prisoner.
I’ve also never deemed myself to be an alcoholic nor I have substance abuse problems so for anyone who knows me personally, please don’t read this and think “omg I had no idea she was an alcoholic or had a problem.” I don’t and I never did. But like much of our society, friends, and family around us it is common place to just have one drink here and there, which often leads to two or three, and then molds from one night a week to four nights a week, and so on. So, for anyone who’s looking to change up their life, challenge themselves or just prove to themselves that they are capable of achieving a goal…
Try giving up alcohol. Surprisingly I think it’s much easier to give up then certain foods like dairy or sugar. Although now that the nice glasses of wine or new craft beers to try are off my list, perhaps those fancy cheese boards and flatbreads can be too.
All in all, it feels great. I feel great and I feel so much love for myself for achieving this one tiny victory. I’ve also proven to myself (at a time in my life when I seem to be doubting myself left and right) that I am capable of sticking to a goal. I can achieve anything I put my mind to and my destiny lies in my own two hands. This life is mine to be lived and I can get back to being the lifestyle badass I once knew myself to be.
Now mind you I still have 10 days to go to hit the 30-day mark, but if I’ve already made it 20 days the next 10 days can’t be that hard right? (cue the inspirational Spotify Playlist)
For anyone who is interested or thinking about heading over to Google next, let me help you out. Below I’ve listed a few PROVEN things that happen to your body when you stop drinking alcohol:
Your Heart Gets Healthier – Cutting back your alcohol consumption may lower your blood pressure, levels of fat called triglycerides, and chances of heart failure. Despite what you hear about the statement that a daily glass of red wine is good for your heart… I mean haven’t we all figured this was BS and just another form of the ‘I’ll just have one this one time” excuses? Oh, and let’s not forget that it is now common place to drink wine that’s been sitting in a plastic bag for who knows how long. Those plastic toxins are also good for your heart, too right?
Your Liver May Heal Itself – Your liver’s job is to filter toxins and in our increasingly toxic society we need a healthy liver more than ever right now. Alcohol is toxic to your cells and inhibits your liver’s function putting you at risk and more susceptible to toxins, mold, disease, and even death. Without our livers or proper liver function we are doomed. Good news is your liver is capable of repairing itself and even regenerating. When we take alcohol out of the equation your liver can actually focus on filtering the toxins we naturally encounter. So if you decide to not read any further, this right here should convince you to stop drinking.
Less Anxiety – You likely already know that alcohol is a depressant. You probably also know that we live in a world where it has become nearly impossible to “turn off,” the rates of those suffering from anxiety and depression are increasing by the minute. Alcohol throws off the levels of neurotransmitters that regulate emotions and behavior, and control cognitive abilities. Removing alcohol from your life not only helps you have a clearer mindset creating more fulfilled relationships, work and health-related decisions it also doesn’t spike ‘those crazy thoughts in your head.’ Anyone ever felt extremely anxious on a Sunday morning while nursing your hangover? Take a break from alcohol and allow your brain to restore the balance of feel-good hormones, getting back to those “easy like Sunday morning” vibrations.
You Will Sleep Better (eventually) – Alcohol might get you drowsy at first misleading all of us in to believing the common myth of “alcohol is the only things that makes me sleep.” However, once you fall into a slumber, alcohol can wake you up repeatedly in the night. Plus, it disrupts the important REM stage of sleep and may interfere with your breathing. Or in the adverse effect if you are the type that drinks to pass out and you sleep in an alcohol induced comatose – your body and brain aren’t actually sleeping. You’ve more or less simply unplugged your battery for the night leaving you with even less energy the following day, resulting in pure exhaustion. If you can’t give up on alcohol just yet, at least try skipping alcohol in the late afternoon and evening for more restful night sleep.
You Won’t Be The ‘Sick’ Friend Anymore – Even just one bout of drinking too much may weaken your body’s germ-fighting power for up to 24 hours. And it’s been proven that drinking too often or too much is closely associated with several immune-related health effects and inhibits your body’s ability to repair itself. According to the National Institute of Health, “too much” and “too often” is more than four drinks on any day for men; and more than three drinks on any day for women. However, the most important thing you can do is listen to your body, and just because you are of the same sex doesn’t mean your three drinks compared to your friend’s three drinks has the same effect on either of your bodies. Long story short, ease up on drinking so you may better ward off illnesses in a society where chronic illness is on the rise.
Bonus: You May Drop Some Lbs! – This one speaks for itself as alcohol not only consists of empty calories, but it also ramps up your appetite and makes you more impulsive. When inhibited by alcohol or recovering from it the following day, you are less able to resist temptations on the menu or in the pantry. So really removing alcohol in your life could be your next diet plan as long as you aren’t replacing it more sugary and empty calories.
Bottom line, if you’ve been questioning whether or not you need alcohol in your life, thinking about doing a 30-day dry challenge, or simply just frustrated and need a change of ANY kind…
Try reducing or totally giving up your alcohol intake. Chances are you will be able to benefit in some form.