5 things that happened when I quit drinking for a month
Sober January has become so popular in the last few years that there's hundreds of stories about it online, including a hashtag dedicated to the practice #drynuary. When it first crossed my mind to try out a month without alcohol it honestly seemed pretty difficult. Almost every weekend we host a few friends over and the wine is always flowing. Throughout the week there usually ends up being at least one night where I grab a drink with someone after work or enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I'm not a heavy drinker, so I struggled with whether or not it was really worth it to say no to the wine and craft beer for 31 days. Turns out - it was. Here are some of the things I gained from participating.
1. I was far more productive
If I go out on the weekend or host people at our apartment, there's almost always a Saturday or Sunday that is half ruined. My partner and I love to adventure as much as possible, but when we have cranky hangovers we are more likely to say 'let's do that day trip next weekend.' During our sober time we got out for photo walks almost every weekend, and felt more motivated to do our passion projects outside our day jobs.
2. I saved money
I was probably spending on average between $10-$40 dollars a week on alcohol. It doesn't sound like a lot but there's another factor here: almost every time I drink, I feel the incessant need to eat french fries, chips, whatever fast food or snack I can get my hands on. So while I was spending zero dollars on alcohol, I was also avoiding the unnecessary pizza parties. One evening in January my partner and I went out for a really nice date night. When our bill came we couldn't believe how much cheaper it was without alcohol. We could probably budget an extra fine dine night out a month if we made that a habit! Not to mention the nights where I got a tea ($3) instead of a draft beer ($8). It all adds up!
3. I realized my will power
From a coworkers birthday where he offered me my favourite red wine to the January 29th cottage weekend with my 5 best friends, there was no shortage of awesome opportunities to enjoy a bevy. The latter event was especially difficult, but sticking to it those last few days felt great. I realized that there aren't very many social outings where I don't have at least one drink, and staying sober really didn't make much of a difference. I'm usually giggling and hugging people either way. A dry month forces you to consider the role alcohol plays in your life and how that correlates to the people you surround yourself with. If you're with people who you love and who are fun, you don't even really notice if you're sober and they aren't. And if they're true friends, they also won't judge you or peer pressure you.
4. My partner also stopped drinking
For the sake of transparency, he lasted all the way up until the cottage weekend which was 28 days. Still quite impressive considering I didn't ask him to participate with me. It also felt pretty nice that my actions influenced another person (my favourite person!) to do something positive for their health.
5. I felt good
For some unexplained reason saying I wasn't going to drink and sticking to that also encouraged me to stick to healthy eating. It was probably a mentality of 'if I can say no the wine, I can say no to the cake in the office today.' It was like a domino effect of healthy habits!
So, today is February 1st. Will I be running home to drink the 3 bottles of red waiting for me? Probably not. But am I looking forward to taking a friend to my favourite cocktail bar this week? Yes. And while I've previously said I'm not a huge fan of resolutions, I think a dry January is a practice I will be doing for years to come.