Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about body image, an issue that has been a problem in my life for as long as I can remember. I’m a generally carefree, laid back kinda gal, but the majority of my anxiety stems from the anxiety I have about my own body.
Let me note that I was certainly never an alcoholic. I don’t need to drink to have a good time, although I don’t mind the social lubricant at times. I guess I would categorize myself as a “social drinker who occasionally has one too many tequila shots.” Saturday hangovers are all too real, and waking up with why the f*ck did I text that happens on the reg. Drunk pizza, drunk texts, or just overall drunkeness is nothing foreign to me, but I never feel like I needed a drink. Sure, there were those long weeks filled with too many ignorant and horrid people and circumstances that elicited the “omg I need a f*cking drink” reaction, butttt…I was always just being dramatic. Sometimes.
I don’t need alcohol, but I enjoy it. Socially.
While it may not have seemed like I was drinking a lot, I sort of was. Even if it was a drink or two a night, that shit adds up and has more of a toll on your body than you think.
It may sound silly to you that I’m posting about my experience after 14 days of zero alcohol, but, like, seriously, I feel amazing…even after one too many sweets over the holidays. Here’s what I’ve learned in my short 14 day span.
I still have a social life.
Before embarking on this challenge, my social life was a main concern. I was like omg I’m gunna be a hermit. Not true. I have gone to bars with friends while they order rounds of shots and I won’t lie, it is sort of awkward being like “Nah, I’m good!” but that awkwardness lasts for like 1 minute. I’m pretty damn fun sober too, and my friends don’t really care if I’m drinking or not. The only person who really cares is yourself. If you’re still good company, the non-alcoholic drink seems to be a non-issue.
2. I forgot what a good sleep actually felt like.
I just started noticing this the past week. But, my gosh…SLEEP. HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU. My sleeping patterns have sucked since I started bartending 4-5 times a week, and for the past couple of months I have been waking up in the middle of the night at least once a week. With my crazy schedule, sleep is more than a necessity and when I don’t get enough of it, it takes my body days to recover. Not only is it easier to fall asleep, butmy sleep has been entirely uninterrupted.
3. My face…it’s better looking.
I have never had major acne issues, but I do have the occasional breakouts. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not drunkenly falling asleep with a face full of makeup or underestimating how BAD alcohol is for your skin, but my skin has been less dry, and noticeably more”glow-y.” I haven’t been wearing nearly as much make up. My wallet will thank me for not having to purchase NARS as frequently.
4. Speaking of money, I’m saving way more than I thought.
I usually drink for free at work (unless I rack up a tab), but pair that with the generous tip I leave for coworkers, on top of drinks outside of work, and the infamous statement “I got this round guys,” my wallet was averaging a $50-$70 alcohol expense per week, and that’s being frugal. That’s, like, a new shirt from Free People (well, a clearance one maybe).
5. I went on a sober date, and it was totally fine.
“Let’s grab a drink sometime,” says every dude on Tinder. We live in a alcohol-centric dating culture, and it’s easy to say, “Well, what else are we going to do?” Alcohol can make first dates easier, but it’s not always necessary. Granted, the date I went on was with a guy that I had hung out with a few times before, but before we went out, I told him about my 30 day “detox” and like my friends, he was totally cool about it. We did go to a bar, two actually. The first one was a board game bar (which reinforced the fact that I am in fact terrible at Trivial Pursuit) and we then visited my roommate at her bar. The date wasn’t awkward whatsoever, and just further proves the fact that you don’t need alcohol to be good company.
6. But, every bartender hates a sober bar guest…
Speaking from experience, I would be lying if I said sober patrons didn’t annoy me to some degree. Especially on a slow night, there is truly few things more annoying than someone who sits at the bar, taking up prime real estate, drinking water the entire time. The problem isn’t the water though, it’s the sole fact that people often disregard that tipping etiquette should still apply. Maybe your soda water doesn’t cost a dime, but you should still treat your bartenders well, sober or not. I don’t care if you purchase a $13 cocktail, $3 Sprite, $14 Patron shot, or a $0 soda water, I work for tips. Most bartenders don’t give a damn what you’re drinking, as long as you’re taking care of them.
7. My anxiety has significantly lessened.
Part of my interrupted sleep was due to typical late night thoughts, like, you know WTF am I doing with my life?, Why doesn’t Boy X love me?!??!, Omg I have so much sh*t to do tomorrow, F*CK my laundry is still in the dryer, Is the oven still on?, Is the door locked?… you know the drill. This hasn’t happened recently. And throughout the day, I find my brain focusing on things I actually care about. I’m not constantly stressing about what I look like, what things I haven’t accomplished, etc. I haven’t been weighing myself, taking “body pics,” or stressing out about eating a piece of chocolate. I have more control over my thoughts and emotions, something that alcohol often takes away from us.
8. On that note, my time is more focused on people and things I genuinely care about.
I’ve been spending more time writing about the daily happenings of Beth (which is entertainment in itself), reading celeb autobiographies, Facetiming with the most lovely people, and just doing more things that fulfill me more than any vodka soda ever could! (Not sure why I just LOL’ed at that statement). I’ve gotten back into the habit of trying to meditate everyday and making it a point to have more “me time,” and it feels fab.
9. I’ve been killin’ it at the gym.
I can’t say I was surprised about this, but the impact of no alcohol has significantly increased the quality of my workouts. Yesterday I crushed my 3 mile PR and my long runs on the weekends haven’t been a burden. Sweating out alcohol does not feel good, as much as I tried to convince myself it did.
10. I have more control over everything else I’m putting into my body.
Drunk eats. Stress eats. The struggle is all to real. Before, during, and even the next day (or 2), it’s no secret that our health is often neglected when attempting to survive a grueling hangover. My cravings for sweets, carbs, cheese, and all things fabulous in this world aren’t really a thing these past couple of weeks. Did I indulge over the holiday weekend? Obv. But, I didn’t shame myself for it. I don’t really know how to describe it, but there’s something extremely comforting about having a cookie just because you WANT a freaking cookie, not because alcohol and/or stress is telling you to eat it. That goes for stress eating too. Like, OH, HE DIDN’T RESPOND TO MY TEXT?! Let me just eat 3 slices of bread for no reason.
11. Abstaining from something that was once an integral part of my week has made it easier to abstain from other choices too.
This sort of goes hand in hand with #10, but since Monday, I’ve cut out all sugar/carbs/processed foods and it hasn’t been that difficult. I’ve been cooking more creatively, pulling recipes from the Whole30 cookbook I recently purchased, and appreciating food rather than fearing it. Eating well makes me feel good, and I’m finally gaining control and finding that it’s not always just about willpower. It’s not telling yourself “I can’t have that,” it’s saying, “I don’t want that.”
12. My body likes me, and I’m growing to like it too.
I’m not going to tell you my body image issues have completely subsided, because that’s a long term issue that won’t be solved in 30 days. I haven’t been weighing myself (go me!), and it hasn’t even crossed my mind to step on the scale. I feel better and I’m starting to realize that the key to body-positivity isn’t necessarily being at your “ideal” weight, but learning to appreciate the moments that you do feel positive. Even if it’s just for a moment.
Again, I know this post sort of sounds ridiculous after only being 2 weeks in, but I guess I never really understood the true impacts of alcohol until I decided to go without it. So, if you take anything from this or are considering ridding alcohol from your life for an extended period of time here’s a brief summary of what you think might happen but won’t:
- Being forever alone.
- Losing all of your friends.
- Turning into a lame, sad human.
- Dying of FOMO.
- Weeping constantly because you feel like the world is going to explode.