For years, I wanted to challenge myself give up drinking for one month. I always managed to find an excuse. January was my annual Down the Hatch drinking day with all you can eat wings. February was the Super Bowl and usually a vacation. March was my birthday month. By then it’s April and drinks are outside on patios. I found it easier to just drink rather than say no and get questions of why I was giving it up for a short period of time.
And then I became pregnant and stopped drinking. I wasn’t a mom that snuck a glass of wine or had a beer. I’ve been sober since the moment I found out was pregnant on June 15 (minus one teeny tiny sip of champagne).
So as my life went from throwing back a couple of cocktails with clients and any excuse for beer Olympics with friends, to being 100% sober, what have I learned? If you are thinking of giving up drinking for a little bit and doing a “Dryuary”, here’s what you can expect:
1. You’ll save a lot of money.
By no means was I ever sucking down $27 cocktails once a week. But, the moment I gave up drinking, I noticed how cheap dinners were out with friends. A dinner at a Thai restaurant was only $18 with appetizers, tip, and tax – vs. my usual minimum of $30 after a few glasses of wine. A dinner at Dos Caminos, sans margaritas, felt like nothing. While I will admit some dinners out I took a cab home to make it to Grand Central on time for my train home, I felt like I took far less cabs than in my drinking days. Why? I easily (and patiently) could stand the subway on the way home.
2. You’ll curb your friends’ drinking too.
I felt like a lot of times I went out for dinner 1:1 with friends or family, my lack of drinking impacted their orders. I’d encourage a friend to get a drink, but because I wasn’t drinking, they decided to abstain too.
3. You’ll be amused by your drunk friends– for a bit.
I remember watching friends get hammered when I was drinking, but never really seeing the progression of the downfall – mostly because I was alongside with them. When you are sober, you slowly watch as people start to unravel. It can definitely be amusing, and you can definitely get some good gems as people become vulnerable. At the same time, if a loved one (e.g. your husband) becomes really intoxicated, it starts to become a little obnoxious – and more so than ever before when you are sober.
4. You’ll realize you are not a good dancer.
God invented alcohol so we can dance. Without it, you’ll quickly realize how uncomfortable it is to dance at a wedding and the moves will not easily flow through you like they once did.
5. You’ll have the freedom to schedule events, without planning for a hangover.
Any time I had a large night of drinking planned – a birthday, a holiday party – I knew the next day would be an absolute waste. When you are sober, you never have to take into account how you’ll be feeling the next day or week. Because let’s be honest, when you are in your 30s, a hangover lasts several days.
6. You’ll still say stupid stuff.
We all have that moment where we wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep. Why? We’re worried what we said the night before when we were drunk. Even when you are sober, you may still say something that is off-putting in front of a group of friends. At least you’ll know you said it, but it may still keep you up at night. So alcohol may not always be to blame.
Have you ever stopped drinking? What have you learned?