I decided to give it a go for a month: absolutely no alcohol. While I’m not quite the kind of person who needs a drink, I love to unwind on the weekends with some cocktails with friends. But I wanted to challenge myself, and decided to jump in and see if I could make it. I did. And while I will gladly enjoy a glass of Sauvignon Blanc tonight, I know that I can do without it, too. Regardless, I learned a few things in the last 30 days, and here they are.
1. Your friends aren’t as entertaining as you think they are when they’re drunk. The first night I went out, I was waiting for my friends to be wild and crazy to provide me with hours of entertainment, while I secretly and vicariously lived through their drunken stupor. But quite honestly, we’ve gotten to the age where the drunk antics are dwindling down, and every one was more or less “chill.” I guess it’s just a little more fun to see your friends drunk when you have beer goggles on, too.
2. The red solo cup is your savior at parties. Yes, I still went out. You can easily pretend to be drinking at a party, thanks to the trusty red solo cup. I didn’t feel like answering to strangers “why aren’t you drinking?” so I brought my own giant bottle of Smart Water, and would sneak into the coat room to fill up my red cup when I was on empty. This way, I didn’t have to explain myself to people. Because face it, everyone is usually appalled to find out you’re not drinking, and I just didn’t feel like defending my decisions.
3. People will pressure you to “just have one!” If I had a dollar for every time I had heard that phrase, I’d have enough dollars saved up to buy myself a drink at the end of this all. People love to break you, and not maliciously. They want you to have just as much fun as they are. Sometimes it’s hard to see other people’s goals are from your perspective. While it was a pain, I did appreciate people’s intentions to make sure that I was having a fun time, too.
4. People will find any excuse to drink. In the wise words of Kendrick Lamar, “Pour up, drank, head shot, drank. Sit down, drank, stand up, drank. Pass out, drank, wake up, drank. Faded, drank, faded, drank.”
5. Those extra pounds fly off when you abstain from alcohol. I decided to adjust my eating habits during this time period, and boy, was it a lot easier to do so when I wasn’t adding extra calories from alcohol. I ended up loosing 11 pounds and 20 inches. Three of those inches were off my butt. I was sad to say, “Rest in peace, Booty,” but I finally got rid of those ten pesky pounds I had gained from moving to a new city.
6. You save mega moolah. I can’t even go on about how much money I saved from not ordering 2-5 drinks on a weekend night or from not eating drunk food at 2 a.m. Saving that money helped me invest into some more healthy activities like my overpriced gym membership or buying new clothes to fit my new look.
7. Dating is hard when you’re not drinking. What do you do for a first date when the weather is near freezing and you’re not drinking at the time? Well, I’m sure there are options, but let’s face it, going for “a drink” is the most common first date option. Going for drinks is not only fun, but it takes the edge off when you’re both nervous to meet each other for the first time. During these last 30 days, I decided to lay low in the dating scene. Which I was okay with, because who doesn’t need a break from the dating game once in a while? Plus, now I look and feel better than I did before, so why not be my best self when meeting someone new?
8. Staying out late is also hard when you’re not drinking. Oh my god, for whatever reason, alcohol gives you the ability to stay up until all hours of the night. I’m typically a night owl, but the lack of liquid energy had me leaving the party by midnight.
9. On the other hand, waking up not hungover is glorious! Even though I couldn’t stay up late, waking up early had its perks. You have no idea how much more you have to your day when you don’t wake up hungover or lay in bed until mid-morning. I found myself finishing my “to-do’s” a lot earlier in the day, which allowed me to do whatever I wanted with the rest of my time. Is this what adulthood is?
10. You see everything a little more clearly. Now, this sounds cliche, but it’s true. I had a clearer vision of what my goals were when I wasn’t drinking those 30 days. You see people’s true colors a little brighter. You realize how people behave and how you react. You’re able to view the world in a way that you probably haven’t since before you began the habit of grabbing drinks every week in college. You are a little more clear on where you stand in the universe.
11. You realize you have a lot more willpower than we’re led to believe. I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I really didn’t. I always thought that anyone who did any sort of 30 day restrictive diet thing was nuts. As someone who is very prideful in her Irish heritage, I straight up don’t trust a person if they won’t have a drink (ever), so going 30 days looked quite daunting. But, I did it. I made it 30 days. And while I do plan to drink again now, I know that if I ever wanted to hit restart or test my willpower, I could. And so could you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.