Hola, how was your January? Depending on which part of the world you’re from you’re going to have a different response.
All my Aussie mateys will probably agree that Jan is by far one of the best months of the year – sun, surf and Aperol Spritzes are on the menu most days.
Meanwhile, my US buddies will be glad to see the back of a cold and brutal winter with a delicious mulled wine or a warming glass of red in hand. Then Europe and UK pals are sorta, kinda, somewhere in the middle?
For me – January was a very sobering affair. From the 1st till the 29th (aka: ma Birthday) I went stone cold sober and here I am writing about it.
But first. Some context
For seven years I worked in an industry that involved entertaining clients: Advertising. It involved a lot of it.
Most weeks I’d be brunching, lunching or just plain out drinking with clients and colleagues.
Heels on, rosé in hand and a free-flowing tab to take you from A to Campaign Sign-Off.
It took a toll on my body and I struggled with hangovers, brain fog and general un-productivity. It was the pits.
But then I embarked on this nomadic adventure with Simon (who’d also been working in advertising) and we cut out drinking by…well, I’d say 80%.
Running your own business means that if you’re too hungover to work the next day, the job doesn’t get done. Same goes for exploring amazing cities and venturing into the unknown. And lastly, treating your body like a temple does not bode well with getting boozy.
With great hangovers comes great idleness. So we just stopped drinking (for the most part). And we enjoyed it.
But we’d always wanted to go the whole hog – a month off the juice. And since the last few months being in Melbourne had involved many catch ups with friends and loved ones and therefore cheeky bevvies (not to mention the silly season) we were in prime position to start the new year on a good, healthy, resolution keeping note.
So, back to the plot.
The rules were simple. No drinking alcohol of any kind. Not even kombucha. Haha, just kidding. I love kombucha.
Here’s what hurdles we faced in January. ie; our social calendar and the times we wanted to celebrate.
- 1x 30th Birthday Party on a glorious summer’s evening on one of Melbourne’s finest rooftop bars
- Several fam bam BBQs and dinners with one persistent Father who loves a cold ice beer and someone to enjoy it with
- 1x weekend getaway with friends down the coast
- An overdue catch up with old colleagues (cue pregnancy gags)
- Securing and moving into a rad new pad
- 2×1 hour phone calls to a telecoms provider who was trying to overcharge for an awful service
- Australia Day public holiday (a day in the Australian calendar on which it’s almost absurd to not drink)
Ok, so ya feel me?
I had some fears. I thought people would try and convince us to ditch the challenge. Then I thought they might stop inviting us to places altogether. The two sober do-gooders trying to prove a point to themselves.
But of course, I was wrong. Everyone was mega supportive and encouraging. So really – we had no excuse.
I’m not going to give you a play-by-play and week-by-week because that would be boring. But yes, each week got a little tougher and more willpower was needed, but we got through four exciting, Summery weeks without even as much as a sip.
NOT taken in January ↑
Alright. The Big Reveal. Here’s where I show you some before and after photos.
The truth is, I didn’t feel remarkably different. I didn’t lose a bunch of weight or notice that my complexion became flawless.
But I felt good. Really good.
I felt good knowing I can enjoy myself when I’m out without needing a little tipple. I felt great waking up every morning without even the faintest hint of a groggy head or a hangover.
I was incredibly productive and creative. I got stuck into an exciting new project (wayohhh more on that soon!)
I came up with activities that didn’t require drinking and social gatherings didn’t need to all be at the pub. Heck, even board games were fun sober. Alright, ya got me. Board games are always friggin fun.
I have a new found confidence in knowing I can have a ripper night out and not touch a drop.
And I certainly enjoyed waking up fresh every damn day. In fact, our wake up times got earlier as the month went on. 6.30, 6.00, 5.45 am.
The Raw Data
Look guys, I’d say my quality of life improved by about 20%. Pretty darn great hey.
So, amigos – a few tips for anyone undertaking Feb Fast or Mundane March or Avoiding Alcohol April.
- Don’t swap alcohol for soft drink – it’s even worse! Sip on soda water with lime/lemon or soda, lime, bitters for a little flayva flave
- Wine lovers – order your soda water in a wine glass. It really helps in social situations and if you want to avoid a million questions.
- When dining out with friends who are still very much off the wagon, might I suggest BYO restaurants? It takes care of the awkward splitting pay scenario.
- Do it. Stop talking about wanting to do it, and just commit. 20% life quality increase speaks for itself.