Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Dry January - A Recap of my Month Without Alcohol

Well, the end of the month is finally here!
I have a little under 48 hours until I am allowed to indulge in a cocktail (or six), and I have to say I'm pretty excited.
This month, I challenged myself to not drink alcohol (with the exception of my Brother's wedding) to give my body a break after the holiday season, recharge for the new year, stay focused, and manage my health a bit.
So how did I do?
All in all, I would give this monthly challenge a rate of 75% Success, 25% Mess.
There were a few slip ups. I did really well up until the wedding, but as soon as I allowed myself that pass, it was so easy to say "just a small white wine spritzer" when I was having dinner with a friend, or after wedding dress shopping with my mom.
The truth is, my life is full of celebrating these days, and celebrating often means alcohol. 
Though, for all that I didn't slip that much. There were nights out with friends where I stuck to soda water, absolutely no drinking at home, and even Kris cut back in solidarity for most of the month.
Would I do it again?
Scaling back entirely is a wonderful thing if you can do it, but it's not for me. 
My first few weeks of no drinking were AMAZING. My skin was glowing, I lost weight, I was sleeping better and felt better... but after the first 10 - 14 days, the benefits kind of plateaued. I cleansed again after the wedding (I don't even want to know how much champagne I drank) but I bounced back fairly quickly and then... nothing.
If you caught my post from the weekend you may remember that I've been really stressed. I've been going back and forth on whether not drinking during this time has been a good thing or a bad thing. A relaxer was very much needed, but staying focused when I'm that busy was SO important that I think alcohol would have hindered more than helped.
I'm also wondering if the stress is impacting my health so that I am not noticing the effects of not drinking.
So what are my next steps?
I'm going to keep up my existing "No Drinking on School Nights" rule; it serves me well and keeps me productive at work (and calories out)
I'm also going to take more steps to drinking LESS when out with friends. It's such a habit to be holding a drink and sipping along during a party or when out at a bar... but if you switch to water you don't feel awkward or out of place... just less drunk, and more in control.
Finally: if I'm just hanging out at home, no drinking. Unless Kris and I are having a date night and feel like having some wine or beer together, I don't think either of us really need it. 

As for alleviating stress? I think it's time to explore new methods that aren't substance related for that... but more on that on February first for my next monthly challenge!
If you're considering a month off drinking, I encourage you to give it a try, even if only for a few weeks. 
It's a tough change at first but you really will feel a lot better at first. It can also help you overcome some social anxieties about NOT drinking around friends so you can reevaluate your habits. Even if you decide like me not to make it a regular thing, it can be good to get back in touch with yourself and reestablish a baseline.
You might find that you're just as charming and wonderful without the booze as you are with it!
Have you ever taken a month off drinking? How did you find it? Do you have any tricks for not drinking overly much when  you go out? Share them in the comments!
xxox, Laura