One of my favorite feelings in the world is waking up to blue skies and sunshine, feeling rested and refreshed. I think that was one of the best parts of not drinking for the month of January: every morning, I woke up completely ready to take on the day.
I went out on February 1 to celebrate a month of being alcohol-free, and woke up on February 2 with a splitting headache. For the first time in a month, I wasn’t excited to see blue skies outside my window. Instead, I wanted to roll back under the covers and spend a few more minutes, another hour, most of the morning in bed. It wasn’t a good feeling.
I think it was that moment that made me rethink my drinking patterns as a whole. Yes, I missed having a glass of wine after a long day or sipping on a cold beer while watching a football game. But I didn’t miss those hungover mornings: nothing good has ever come from a round of tequila shots.
Cutting out midweek happy hours meant I didn’t skip yoga class. It meant I woke up early to go grocery shopping on Sunday morning, painted my room on New Year’s Day, cleaned out the kitchen and the bathroom–all of those things that get pushed back too easily after a big night out. Sure, I may have saved some money–but the real benefit came in how much more productive I was able to be.
I think the biggest misconception of not drinking is that it completely shuts down a social life. I watched the 49ers play in sports bars, caught up with friends at a housewarming party, met up for nice dinners–all while sipping sparkling water, ginger ale, cucumber water.
Going without alcohol for a month was more of a personal challenge than anything: to prove to myself that I wasn’t relying on drinks to build a social life, that I wasn’t just throwing my cash towards a headache.
A friend sent me a postcard with an Oscar Wilde quote: I can resist anything except temptation. More than anything, it reminded me of my favorite Oscar Wilde quote: Everything in moderation, including moderation. That last one pretty much sums up how I felt about this month: I’d rather stick to moderation the vast majority of the time. Yes, I’d like to have a glass of wine or a pint of beer–but for the rest of 2013, I’m going to try my hardest to stick to moderation.
Because no one wakes up miserable if they’ve only had a drink or two.