Earlier this year I committed to being “dry,” alcohol free, for a full 30 days…I called it an Alcohol Fast. At the end of 30 days I decided to hold out a few more weeks until after my Series 7 exam, the fast eventually ended after 47 days in mid-August. Fast forward to today and I’m coming off of a month and half long stretch filled with two weddings, a trip to Savannah, Thanksgiving, some work parties, and my own 30th birthday; these all lead to my admission last week that my weight has been creeping back up. So, this week, I decided to launch a quick 14 day break from booze. Earlier in the year, during my more extended break, I was scribbling notes about the experience but was not actively blogging, here now are some of my collected thoughts on temporary, intentional sobriety…
You Are Your Own Uber
The first thing that hit me as remarkable about “not drinking” is that you never have to worry about getting anywhere, at least not like before. How much can I drink and still drive? How much would Uber cost to get there and back? I wonder if I can crash on John’s couch? These are never things you have to worry about when you’re sippin’ on soda all night. This may not sound like much, but I found this to be a uniquely freeing feeling. I wasn’t bound by my ABV or the cost to get home… I could come and go as I pleased.
A Bar Tender of a Different Variety
Speaking of which… don’t hesitate to bring your own sodas and “mocktails” to a get together. Most folks hosting a party will, if you’re lucky, keep Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite on hand (if your friends stock Pepsi products, find new friends). I found having the soda that I wanted (Diet Root Beer for me) helped me feel less like I was missing out by not having booze like everyone else. I also brought materials for a low-carb “mocktail” (find that recipe here) to a party where I knew three other people weren’t going to be drinking either. I was surprised to find that I, the guy mixing drinks WITHOUT booze, was the life of the party.
No More Security Blanket
Speaking a little more philosophically, it’s amazing how much a of a social blanket a drink can be. For example… how many times have you been at a bar or work party and, to avoid an awkward silence, someone has shouted “how ‘bout another drink!” before scampering off to the bar? How many times has that person been you? A drink in hand can be a fidget spinner for adults…something to mess with to help from feeling awkward or otherwise sedentary. In both of these examples, and plenty of others, not drinking can force you to, I don’t know, talk to people. Which actually works out…some people are pretty cool.
Speaking more pragmatically…fasting from booze has plenty of benefits. The most noticeable, for me, during my 47 day fast was the quality of my sleep…I was a champion sleeper. Additionally, though I’ve never been one to make a habit of going to work hungover, not drinking anything at all definitely leads to more clarity and less “mental fog.” Also worth mentioning…alcohol, particularly at bars and resturants, can be incredibly expensive. Cutting off the sauce, even for a brief period of time, can also be a great savings in your budget.