A month off booze

This year I’m quitting something different each month, just because. 
In February I took #amonthoffbooze. Not because it’s the shortest month, I just thought I’d get it out of the way sooner rather than later. What follows is not entirely remarkable…

Neither alcohol nor dairy

I last quit drinking for 3 months in 2011 I think. I’ve never done Dry July. It wasn’t hard to stop drinking alcohol. Most of the time. I don’t have an alcohol routine the way I have a coffee routine but booze sure does go well with some things. Like food. And socialising.

What I drink

I drink beer (either the German lager that’s on special or a strong IPA). I’d have one on Saturday afternoon after gardening or DIY and probably share one with a curry or laksa. If I catch up with someone for a drink on a weeknight I will have a couple of pints.

I drink red wine (merlot if you’ve got a bottle). I would have a couple of glasses with a slow cooked dinner on the weekend. Not so much ‘one for the pot, one for the chef’ these days though.

I like a glass of rosé or bubbles on a sunny day. Who doesn’t. I also drink my fair share of gins and tonics. Occasionally a digestif in the evening.

What I learned

Alcohol is (was) on my list of suspect substances regarding my happiness levels. I know a couple of glasses of red will make me a bit blue and that of course I feel fresher when I wake up in the morning without any alcohol in my system but I discovered that there is no upside beyond that. I don’t feel extra fresh or any happier a week or even a month later.

After about three weeks I was over it. I felt I didn’t have much more to learn from this experience but then something else became clear. Alcohol is a treat. The food I eat is pretty low in sugar and I very rarely have desserts or chocolate. A drink is my little indulgence and a reward for hard work.

I also wondered how much my alcohol intake influences my weight (loss). Here’s a graph from the last few months. There was a small peak at the end of January as I came to terms with the all the self control required this year but the downward trend in February was no steeper than in previous months. I was eating pretty clean in Feb too.

Happy downward trend.

The time I most missed alcohol was on quiet evenings at home when the sun had gone down and just a few modest lamps were casting shadows around the house. Slowly sipping a brandy or a Port would have been lovely right then.

Some other things:

  • Eating out can be quite cheap if you don’t drink alcohol or sparkling water
  • I don’t really like large crowds
  • Verjuice, soda and mint is very nice (thanks katejm)
  • Mocktails can be classy. And delicious.

How I’m going to change

I can optimise my alcohol intake a few ways. Less beer, more gin. And not using it as a reward.

In March, I’m taking #amonthoffdairy. I love cheese and despise black coffee, so it’s going to be a challenging month. At least I can have a drink from time to time.

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