When you are starting out on the alcohol free journey, every social occasion is hard. It is a battle of will versus temptation and if you are not committed, it is likely you will cave on your promise to yourself. For a few short hours, even minutes of indulging in alcohol, the next day will be full of guilt, shame and negative self-talk which could well lead you to drink again.
Starting out going alcohol free at Christmas time is just a bad idea, end of. You are stacking the deck in favour of failure as your mental resolve is not calloused yet and social invites are everywhere. That being said, this Christmas could be different…
To give up alcohol for any length of time is admirable in my opinion, whether it is for 10 days, 100 days or even 1 day depending on where your relationship with alcohol is at. When I started a challenge with oneyearnobeer back in June 2019, I had reached a point of just being so fed up of the booze and the impact it was having on my life – the hangovers, the excuses, the irritability, the poor food choices, the impact on my body (beer gut, liver damage) and brain (the fog), the “fear” the following day, that awful feeling of not being in control of what you said or did on a night out and the general feeling of being dragged backwards in life instead of forwards.
When I started out on my alcohol free challenge in June 2019, I had quietly hoped to achieve 90 days without drinking alcohol. That was a mountain to me from where I was.
I live in Ireland, a country where alcohol consumption is so deeply ingrained in the history and the culture that to not drink is social suicide. If I was 20 years old now, I’m not sure I would have the experience, maturity or courage to row against the very strong tide of drinking pressure that remains alive and well in this country.
I am writing this post as I return home from a week long work trip that I attended with about 120 other colleagues from all over the globe. I’ve been on these trips many times before; the formula is familiar. Long days in a fancy hotel, numerous workshops on different topics, breakout sessions, team building activities, dinners in posh restaurants and if you are lucky, maybe some free time somewhere in the packed agenda.
Tomorrow marks my 200th day since giving up the booze. 200 days. It is hard to believe, I can still remember 10 days and thinking that was amazing. Now 20x times later, here I am.
There is no doubt in my mind that the last 200 days investment in my health is paying off big time. I had 2 health checks this year, one in February and again at the start of December. I have moved the needle on some important biomarkers this year and giving up the booze has played a major role in this.
It’s hard to believe it’s been this long since I had a sip of alcohol. 160 days, zero blips. I started this on June 4th 2019 by signing up to the OYNB 90 day alcohol free challenge. I enjoyed it so much that I am now going for the 365 challenge. A whole year with no beer, even now with 160 days under my belt, it still feels a bit surreal.
Why did I decide to give up alcohol? These are my why’s.
Moderate alcohol consumption offers perceived benefits for our health in terms of stress management, relaxation and social enjoyment but the reality maybe quite the opposite. Additionally, the definition of “moderate” can vary wildly from one person to the next.
Excessive alcohol consumption and binge drinking negatively impacts our bodies in a multitude of ways.
I’ve decided to challenge myself to do 90 days sober. Not one drop of alcohol for 3 months, and to make it a little bit harder, it is the summer months. I am on Day 11 so far but already my eyes have been opened in new and surprising ways.
Yesterday I went out in the afternoon to watch a football match. I wasn’t even that interested in it (I had to google who was actually playing – I know) but it was more to meet a friend of mine and relax in a pub. I had been pretty bad at meeting up with my friends in recent months and this was the excuse I was telling myself to justify me going out to meet up with him. Anyway a good afternoon was had but in the end, I was a mess.