Maggie and I decided to go alcohol-free on quite possibly the worst month of the year (besides December, I suppose). We made the choice after finding ourselves defaulting to a glass (or 3) of wine at night.
We wanted to know more about the psychology of alcohol.
Why were we drinking in the first place? What was it doing for us and even more importantly, what was it not doing for us?
Here's what it wasn't doing for us:
- It certainly wasn't inspiring greater connection in our love.
- It wasn't making us actually feel any better in the long run.
- It caused us to sleep poorly and drag the next day
- We exercised less
- Our overall level of happiness was lower
We both carefully listened to the stories that we tell ourselves around social engagements, hard days, celebrations and beyond... all things that most people default to alcohol for.
Maggie and I were open about how we were feeling throughout the month. We didn't hide that we wanted a drink. We would simply say so and then we would share for what reason or feeling we thought we wanted or deserved it.
Here are some of the beliefs we had formed around alcohol and why we drink it or even want it for that matter:
- To be more fun in social situations
- Because drunk people aren't as fun when you're sober (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?)
- To stop over-thinking (personally, my brain is constantly going. I like a break every now and then)
- To relax (we find it difficult to stop working and reconnect to life outside of work)
- To celebrate
Here's what we have learned about our alcohol-free August:
- I (Lacy) have been a terrible listener and very easily upset this month. Coincidence? No idea, just reporting the facts.
- We saw ourselves replace alcohol with zoning out mindlessly on social media
- We drank a lot of our homemade kombucha
- I (Lacy) justified reintroducing soda and a boatload of other terrible sugars into my daily routine (maybe next month is Soda-free September? Sugar-free September?)
- We got more done during this month
- We survived!
- The important conversations we had because we had time, awareness and cognitive capacity is worth everything to us.
- We spent FAR LESS money than we usually do eating and drinking out
- We were also hermits... I (Lacy), didn't feel super drawn to visit our favorite restaurants because they also have my favorite drinks
- I (Lacy) most definitely threw a tantrum or two, and even though this was my idea. It's true, I don't like being told I can't do something. I got mad at Maggie for sticking with it when I wanted to quit 23 days in and drink AMAZING wine during a ONCE a year wine tasting and celebration with friends.
- Now I'm mad at alcohol just because.
- I'm smarter, more idea-filled, inspired and connected
- I'm also more emotional on all ranges of the spectrum
People have asked us why we decided to do alcohol-free August. They told us stories of how they started and then when a great opportunity (like freakin' the most delicious expensive wine tasting) arose, they dropped their goal. We didn't want to do that. We wanted to finish it out for each other and ourselves.
People also asked if we're going to celebrate our 30 days with a drink. At first I thought, hell YES! But the be honest, I'm kinda mad at alcohol right now after all my long and hard thoughts on why we drink at all, what it does, what it gives to us and what it takes away...
Now, when you choose to go alcohol-free, and I highly suggest that you do (perhaps choose more calm months to do it, not hot summer crisp beer craving days or survival holidays), make careful note that you ABSOLUTELY will be invited to more social engagement and alcohol centered occasions than you EVER have been during the entire year otherwise.
It WILL happen, so be ready for it. Take it on as your challenge. It's pretty gratifying to know that you can have fun, be charismatic, enjoy yourself, feel connected, sleep well, live and love better and you did it all without alcohol. Anytime I wanted to break it "cause everyone else had" as I told myself, I remembered that I would be disappointed in myself and to be honest, concerned if alcohol was worth THAT much to me.
Thank you to those of you who supported us and chatted with us about our experience this month. We still enjoyed your 80's costume birthday party, your very expensive wine tasting - could smell its deliciousness but not touch, your comedy night, your wedding, and the beer you kept in your fridge for me from my last visit.
To the crummy new, the bummer day, the temper tantrums I threw a few times... BOOM! WE DID IT.
Maggie, THANK YOU, for taking on my 30-day challenge with me. I'm proud of us.
Now it's time for a September challenge!