Being a person that likes to do weird things for fun - running 26.2 miles, vacuuming, having children - I thought it might be a great idea to give up my beloved booze for the entire month of January. Thankfully, this is a thing other people do, so a few of my favorite drinking buddies and my very own husband joined me on the wagon. For everyone that thought I was nuts, or everyone that did not think it was worth making a big deal out of because they don't heart Tito's the way I do, I thought I would share some takeaways:
I saved money. Not visiting my local liquor store or buying take-home beer from breweries was a pretty solid plus to our weekly budget, but the biggest difference was not drinking when out to eat. Even just a couple of beers between the two of us racks up the bill, so I was pleasantly surprised every time we went out for dinner. I made sure to tip all our servers extra for the month, too, after reading an article about how terrible January can be for service people during January (sober, broke and dieting after the holidays)!
I slept better and felt better waking up in the morning. I was hoping that maybe I would end January feeling "not tired" but 4:30am running alarm clocks, kids, life, etc. did not quite allow for that. However, there was a noticeable difference with how I felt when my alarm went off each morning and the ease of getting myself up and at it.
I had less anxiety. For me, even if I do not drink a lot, I tend to get anxiety the day after drinking. If I did drink a lot, the anxiety is worse. Of course, I already knew this little cause and effect equation, but sometimes that night out is worth the extra anxiety the next day.
I lost weight. Like the sleep, it was not the miracle change I had hoped for, but between being back on a regular, post-holiday running and gym schedule and the lack of Christmas goodies everywhere along with no booze, 8 pounds dropped off pretty easily.
I got back into a better evening routine. Instead of setting in after dinner with a drink on the couch, I grabbed a book or put on Netflix after spending a few minutes with a real skincare regimen and it was pretty awesome. Some people want to watch less TV but I am just over here trying to catch up on all the series I never have time or effort to watch. Bonus points for not falling asleep as easily while binge watching (and having my makeup off each night)!
I got to have an honest review of my relationship with alcohol. We joke a lot in my circle of friends (parents, runners, retired punk rockers) what boozebags we are but sometimes, I felt that label might ring a little too true. Stopping for a month and getting to think about where I once was with drinking (hello, bad situations in my early 20's) to now (once in a great while bad situation when Mom's Gone Wild) helped me to feel better about myself, my choices and where I am as an adult living the life I have worked so hard to have. I am proud of myself for knowing my limits, even if I sometimes pass them, and being able to hit the reset button for a month.
Honest to goodness, 10/10 would (will) do it again. For now, I am looking forward to a drink over family dinner tonight and holding off a bit more over the weekend so I can catch up on some zzzs.