Why take a break from drinking?
Alcohol is an interesting topic. As a drug it is widely accepted in society, central to so much of our socialising and leisure. There seem to be lots of health benefits - so we are told - yet there are also a lot of problems in terms of health, relationships and lifestyle that come from drinking.
Over a few years I'd begun to become aware and then concerned that I was drinking too much and too regularly. I am in a busy and stressful job and sometimes a glass of wine after work to relax is really helpful. But over time, one glass became two. Two glasses became ....I might as well finish the bottle. A habit got established....and was starting to get too entrenched.
I'd tried to impose a few rules - the glass ceiling for example - but I usually ended up breaking my own rules. Realising that I needed to cut back and break the habit, I started reading some "sober blogs" like The Sober Journalist and Gray's Grog Blog In mid December I cut out alcohol for a couple of weeks and then focussed on cutting it out totally for at least the whole of January.
Dry January is a campaign run by Alcohol Concern in the UK with the aim of having a short break from drinking to let you reset your habits.
With Xmas excess gone, banish the booze this January and make a healthy start to the new year.
By taking on the challenge you’re sure to lose a few pounds while saving a few quid. And with no hangovers you’ll find time and energy you never knew you had, oh and your skin will look nicer too.
So go on, take time out, get thinking about your drinking and prove to yourself that you can say no to a tipple or two.
It is a simple little challenge - no alcohol for a month. I don't like all the martyrdom about it - it shouldn't be a trial - but I decided to ride on the back of it for my own purposes.
There is a similar movement - Hello Sunday Morning - which has similar aims but more of a hipster feel to it. Lots of cool dudes being very cool about not drinking.
What happened? I actually found it pretty easy. Drinking had become a habit. Yes there is a psychological release from some stresses, but so much was just habitual. As soon as I decided that I was not a drinker...then I wasn't. Occasionally a nice glass of red with a meal would have been nice but it was no great sacrifice.
- Better sleep - waking up fresh and rested in the morning.
- A clearer head - I found my thinking to be getting much sharper, my writing much better, my speech more articulate.
- Less money spent
- Less non-specific guilt - those mornings when you wake up feeling like something bad has happened.
I didn't lose any fat which was strange given the reduced calories
At the end of the month I didn't find myself desperate for a drink. I didn't rush out on 1 February and get some wine. I left it until my birthday - 8 February - where we went out for a meal with wine. Had half a bottle. Felt fine.
I've had a couple of glass this week, but I am not looking to get back to where I was. I've considered going totally tea-total but let's try moderation for a while.