I Stopped Drinking Alcohol for a Month, Here's What Happened
Let's face it: There never seems to be a good time to stop drinking for a month. The New Year can bring momentum of healthier lifestyle choices, and even though it can still be challenging, Dry January just *feels* more doable than giving up alcohol in the middle of the summer. On the contrary, summertime is stacked with bachelorette parties, weddings, festivals, and campouts — ALL of which at least seem more fun with a chilled glass of rosé in hand. Which is precisely why I decided to try it. Read on to learn my top five findings from a very dry July.
1. I had a few A-HA moments. So many that I started taking notes. I realized how drinking takes us out of the present moment, and with this departure, negates our ability to hold onto good ideas. Or any ideas at all, really. We still have them of course, but alcohol robs us of a part of our consciousness, making it easier to forget. Personally, I'm my most creative and inspired self when days are long and temps are warm, making summer my prime brainstorming time. Taking booze out of the equation proved to unlock even more of my personal potential. I'm proud to say that dry July gave me some A+ Halloween costume ideas, inspiration to write a desirable partner trait MANifesto, and a solid idea for my first book — among other things.
2. I dozed SO deeply. And I honestly thought I couldn't sleep any better. I'm sorry to all of you who wrestle with insomnia but I have always slept like a log. Some have called it a defense mechanism (I can fall asleep anywhere, under even the most stressful conditions). I was, however, amazed that when I stopped sipping my overall sleep cycle improved. Using my Motiv ring to track my heart rate and hours, I found that not only did I feel more rested but I also experienced less 'restless' sleep and more uninterrupted, deep dozing.
3. I was CRAZY productive. Like, CRAZY, y'all. It kind of seems like it would go without saying, but productivity is different for everyone. For me, setting aside the Sauvy B for a month provided me more time to do literally *everything* else. I read more books, saw more films, cooked, cleaned, created, and did ALL the yoga. Projects that I'd planned to do for months or even years were finally tackled. Not drinking translated to more early mornings feeling clear-headed vs. foggy with the previous night's questionable decisions.
4. I liked myself (and everyone else) MORE. I quit drinking but I didn't stop doing. I still went to every social gathering I was invited to, but instead of mindlessly imbibing (as I often do) I found myself sipping on a Spindrift and having really REAL conversations. I'm not saying that you can't socially sip and have authentic interactions, I'd just argue that booze makes people — and certain conversations — seem more interesting than they really are. Over my sober 30, I actually began to feel more confident and able to decide who was worth my time — and who just wasn't.
5. I saved a TON of money. This may go without saying, but I'm here to remind you just how much moola we spend when, as Colin Jost puts it, we're "up all night drinking poison." If you're as lucky as I am to frequent the hipster bars of the Bay Area, a craft cocktail will run you right around $20 a pop — with bankruptcy not far behind. Believe it or not, I saved around $900 during my dry July. And before you freak out — no, I don't usually spend that much on personal drinks alone. I do, however, end up buying more rounds for friends, taking more Ubers home from bars, buying more food out, indulging in more impulse shopping, and being all-around more loosey-goosey with my funds.
Overall, taking a month off drinking gave me the hard reset I desperately needed. Instead of habitually and unconsciously reaching for a boozy beverage, I was able to integrate a more mindful approach to drinking. Doing this mid-summer, although it proved more challenging, was the perfect way to get in control of my mind and body without sacrificing the good times I was most afraid to miss. I've since started slowly sipping again (I will forever be a fan of perfectly chilled Provençal pink by the pool) but observing a dry July led me to be more conscious and intentional with my drinking and more aware of my endless sober potential. Salute!
(Photo via Getty)