If you want to learn about what alcohol does to your body, or what happens when you give it up this isn’t the right place for you. I’m instead just going to tell you our story. I believe some people have an extremely healthy relationship to alcohol and that’s great. We however, did not.
About a year ago Andrew and I made the decision to stop drinking. It was February 2018 and initially we decided we would do a ‘dry month’. That month quickly turned into several months and several months turned into ‘let’s cut it out indefinitely’… because the positive impact it had on our lives was undeniable.
It’s funny how many people thought I was secretly pregnant for a few months because I wasn’t drinking. Each time we declined a drink and were asked why we would just tell people we were doing it to be healthier. This is and was the truth but when we sat down to think about it the reasons to give up alcohol began to stack up quickly.
Alcohol as a habit
We both started drinking when we were in high school. From that young age most of our social gatherings were centred around booze. It wasn’t really a party if people weren’t drinking. This escalated quickly in college when binge drinking a few days a week was the norm. Not only is it the norm but it’s encouraged. It’s sold to us in movies, commercials and so on from a very young age. Which is all fun and games but then college comes to an abrupt halt.
Suddenly you are working 9-5 and the party is over. How are we expected to make such an abrupt transition? Society promotes heavy partying in college but doesn’t tell you that when college is over your desire to drink won’t go away with it.
We went to work then we came home and would have a few drinks, and on the weekends, we still went out to bars and clubs where we would heavily consume alcohol. There is nothing wrong with enjoying some drinks… the problem is when it is excessive. Drinking became a HABIT. It became as normal and natural as a coffee in the morning. We did this for years and never stopped to ask why, or how it could be affecting us on a larger scale.
Alcohol as a crutch
We often think of alcohol abuse as someone who drinks to the point where they can’t function in day to day life. They drink from morning to night. They are always drunk…
The actual definition of alcohol abuse: the habitual misuse of alcohol. I think many of us can resonate with this at one point or another in our lives. At one point or another we had to ask ourselves.. are we abusing alcohol.. are we.. addicted?
Whether we like to admit it or not we begin to rely on alcohol. We rely on it as our source of fun, as a bonding tool, as a coping mechanism after a stressful day at work. Dependency on alcohol for emotional, or physical pain has become cool and trendy. It’s become a meme that we all repost because it hits home and makes us giggle at the same time.
I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve relied on alcohol. If I was having a bad day I’d say, “I need a drink”, if something good happened I’d say, “let’s celebrate with a drink”. Alcohol was truly at the centre of everything.
At our worst, we were doing shots mid-week just the two of us… just for fun. We were drinking in the middle of the day on Sunday’s because why not? Again, it was fun. College ended but the party didn’t have to.
Alcohol and our body
Regardless of all the psychological and emotional reasons to stop drinking there is no shortage of physical health reasons. The more into healthy living we got.. the less it made sense to drink. We couldn’t justify drinking ginger tea, green juice, exercising, eating healthy and doing all these healthy body promoting things only to cancel it out with alcohol.
We even went through the typical “I don’t drink during the week only on the weekends” phase.. thinking we were doing our bodies a favour. Staying sober Monday-Friday and drinking on the weekend isn’t balance. Your body takes longer to recoup from the damage than that. It would be like eating healthy all week then eating nothing but junk food all weekend… doesn’t make sense.
Alcohol and our vibration
Similarly to our healthy lifestyle, the more spiritual we got the less it made sense to keep drinking in excess. You’ve heard me talk about vibrations before. Or at the very least you’ve heard the term “vibe”. If you are spiritual in anyway, if you’re into manifestation and the law of attraction, or if you are just trying to live a happier more conscious life…. This one’s for you.
Alcohol is a natural downer. It slows everything down. Slow moving energy is what we spiritual folk call a ‘low vibration’ AKA a bad mood, anxiety, short temper, fatigue, laziness. Alcohol causes these things, and it brings them to the surface.
I found that anytime I drank I would experience an emotional hangover. I’d feel ‘blah’, low, and essentially monotone for days. It’s not that alcohol made me sad, it’s just that it slowed me down. It put me in one of those “I’m in a bad mood and I don’t know why” kind of moods. Sometimes this feeling didn’t kick in until a few days later… but it always came. This can become a very vicious cycle when you drink regularly. It took me a long time to realize that alcohol was the culprit.
Alcohol and our wallet
While this was far from a driving factor it was kind of crazy once we realized how much money we were saving.
A 12 pack of beer cost approx. $30
A bottle of vodka costs approx. $30
A bottle of wine costs approx. $12
At our worst Andrew was going through a case of 12 beers weekly and I was going through a bottle of vodka biweekly… sometimes with a bottle or two of wine sprinkled in there depending on our weekend plans. This means we were spending about $250 a month on alcohol. I will just leave this right here…
Alcohol and fun
When every social gathering is centred around alcohol you start to think that you can’t have fun without it. You start to believe that drinking is the fun.
One of my favourite things about Andrew and I giving up booze is that we both learned how much fun we are without it. We realized that having a fun and wild night without booze was so much better than having them with booze. We also loved that it didn’t hinder our ability to enjoy those alcohol centred gatherings with friends and family… we still attended, we still stayed late, we still laughed and danced and made memories.
Our idea of fun has also evolved from being tipsy to doing all kinds of other things and even finding our true interests and passions.
Our relationship with alcohol going forward
There were a few occasions in 2018 where I broke my own no alcohol rule. When we travelled to Portugal, at my best friend’s bachelorette party, and on Christmas.
I drank because I wanted to and that’s okay. What I’ve come to realize is that it isn’t about limits and putting myself in a box. It’s about doing what I want and what I believe to be right in each moment… this means that 95% of the time I won’t want to drink… but the other 5% of the time, a few times a year on what I deme to be special occasions, IF I feel like it… I might have a few.
Giving up alcohol helped me to take control of my relationship to alcohol.
If anything in this blog post resonates with you try doing a dry month… you might really surprise yourself.
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