A YEAR WITHOUT ALCOHOL
Hi, so here I am – A year without alcohol, finally I remained abstinent (!!)– here are my personal experiences of going Alcohol-Free (AF) for this year – and almost definitely beyond.
Not drinking alcohol has its benefits. There is a lot to be said for not having any wine, beer or cocktails in your diet and you’d be surprised at how great it can feel!
MY YEAR MILESTONE OF ABSTINENCE AND THE BENEFITS OF GOING ALCOHOL-FREE THAT I EXPERIENCED
I have drunk and drank to excess for many years now (as VERY documented in this blog – the reason for starting writing it in the first place.
It was the time of lockdown and it was pretty obvious that drinking could easily increase – and it did as alcoholchange.org found out But how easy is this life without drinking?
Why even consider a year without alcohol
The UK has seen a 16% reduction in alcohol consumption since 2004, but men are still more likely to drink than women. In addition, the number of people who report drinking at least 14 units per week is 25 percent higher for British citizens as opposed an American Despite this increase in harmful behaviors associated with heavy drinking such as obesity and accidents among others; some may argue that “binge” mode should not be discouraged by public health campaigns because it can stimulate economic activity while other countries experiencing rises
Alcohol is linked to mental health issues such as depression and memory loss, it can lower your libido and sperm count. It also has an effect on the waistline too! Alcoholic drinks account for 11% of UK population’s intake of added sugar – that’s more than two thirds (67%) per person which increases their risk factor in many medical conditions including cancers ,high blood pressure or cirrhosis liver disease . The best way forward? Cut out all alcohol consumption completely; just one drink might do wonders when you’re feeling better after quitting cold turkey
How do I even go teetotal for a year without alcohol? I am a 42 year old married man who has drunk alcohol both socially and anti-sociably for around 25 years. It has been there to support me, to help me celebrate, in probably every aspect of my life. How did I get from that to alcohol-free?
“Over the past year, I think that not only have I learned so much about who I am, but about other people. I am starting to realise what it means to really care and to be there. “
The first month is the hardest
The first month was difficult. But manageable. It is the following months that throw you strange surprises.
When you decide to give up alcohol AND MAKE THAT DECISION, it can be really difficult at first. In my experience, key is making sure your friends and family understand why so that they don’t bother you about the issue any more in future when trying times come along again like they do. Birthday or work Christmas party has finished already! Once most people have seen how committed are with this decision then things get easier as well because what’s worse than being pestered by someone all evening? Getting money from them instead if offered drinks which soon solves everything too
You will have so much more energy!
When I gave up alcohol initially, I went through the pink cloud syndrome a few times. I got all excited and happy, and full of energy. Now, none of these are ‘bad’ side effects of quitting alcohol – but it can be a dangerous time in terms of triggers.
Deal with those, and you are golden. The increased energy I have benefitted from with a year without alcohol is absolutely immense. Immense.
And now at 7am when my kids are looking around for something to do, I am already beating them to it!
No more hangovers are an absolute gift from god.
Non-alcoholic beer actually tastes good
Non-alcoholic beers are the new alcoholic counterparts. The taste and experience of drinking is similar, but without any alcohol content! In 2017 there was an 18% increase in uptake for low or no alcohol drinks as people look to avoid getting drunk while still enjoying themselves at parties with friends who choose not use substances such as liquor
In addition to being cheaper than full strength beer – which can cost up $10 on average per 12 ounce bottle-, you won’t have gain weight from consuming them like if indulging too much wine would do just that because these alternatives only clock 13 calories each max compared
You have better conversations
One of the surprising aspects about going alcohol-free is how I have deeper conversations with friends. When they go quiet, it’s not just because they’re listening to drink or their own thoughts but also trying hard so that we can keep talking until one person breaks down first (and sorry if this sounds dramatic).
I’m finding better ways in which build connections and put more effort into what others say – even though sometimes our answers may be bias due to where those discussions happen socially rather than focused on thematic subjects; however these last few times when discussing serious topics over drinks were far less awkward as opposed before
Having support is important
I started the challenge with my friend Sally and it definitely helps to have someone in recovery as well. We’ve got a WhatsApp group that has been so helpful for me, especially because we can share tips about how best handle cravings or talking about alcohol use with loved ones! Whether you’re going through this alone or not having any support at all – whether family member/partner etc-, it’s important know there are people who will listen when needed most
The post How I Coped When My Friend Quit Drinking appeared first on The Mighty Contributor – Inspiring Humans Through Stories Of Courage , Passion And Persistence Under Pressure
My best advice that I can give here, and I have gleamed this from the Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober Book By Catherine Grey
You save money
While I’m still spending money in the pub on non-alcoholic beers, I’ve become better at leaving a bit earlier and getting the train home rather than an expensive taxi. I realised that after a few drinks your friends often don’t remember if you were there or not. I can drive everywhere too and I’m not spending money on late night kebabs and hangover fry-ups.
I’ve been to my sister’s wedding and a stag do where we went on the Manchester-to-Leeds Ale Trail – it was fantastic! There are so many great stops along this train journey; you get off at each one for some alcohol before heading back out again. And by then, everyone else has had enough drink themselves that they don’t notice if I’m not drinking too much either (which feels almost like being part of their group). Just make sure you avoid rubbing in how good looking drunk people look when hungover as well…
You find new ways to socialise
I’ve started going out with my friends in new ways. I still meet them for drinks at the pub, but now if we want something more adventurous than that then our plan will be different: we’ll head off together on wakeskateboards or go long walks through nature trails nearby! It’s great – not only have you got an opportunity to spend some quality time together while exploring outdoors; you may find yourself coming up with ideas too- like how about meeting by bike instead?
Giving up alcohol can have a knock-on effect on your health
Quitting booze makes you focus more on your health and one thing leads to another. I took up yoga to do something physical and I’ve really got into it, I do it nearly every day. I went veggie about three months into the challenge. I was a massive meat eater but I started thinking more about what I put in my body and I’m really enjoying discovering new recipes and flavours. Taking that one step with alcohol has led to a bunch of other steps that have made me feel a lot healthier and live more consciously.
You’ve got to go all or nothing
In the past, I’ve gone a month or few weeks without drinking. Sometimes it is hard not to drink when faced with social events but all or nothing made me realize that having an occasional break from alcohol isn’t so bad compared with quitting cold turkey every time you have one too many drinks.
Once your mind has adjusted back after taking some much-needed rest (and maybe even gained some self confidence), going out for another round becomes easier than ever before because people can tell by looking at their surroundings if someone’s actually abstaining!