So the bell finally rang on my month of abstinence from drinking alcohol.
For my personal life, this month was particularly lively in terms of major events:
- My other half had a launch party for the opening of his new cocktail bar
- It was my brother’s 40th birthday
- I quit my job
- My uncle Fred died suddenly
- I made a speech at Fred’s funeral
- Had a mini break with my boyfriend (the first bit of time off we’d both had in months)
My preconceptions of this ‘challenge’ were:
1) that it would be really difficult
2) I would feel amazingly healthy
3) My bank balance would be brimming
What happened in reality however was remarkably different….
1) Constant cravings?
My mind adapted really well, and I didn’t even have a last night of freedom party! Will power isn’t usually my strong suit, but for some reason I had it stored up by the bucket load for this. The usual drink inducing events such as late night home from work, stressful day, spaghetti bolognese, it’s a Wednesday….came and went with all but a flicker of a thought to ‘I’d love a glass of wine’. But then there was the grand opening launch party for my other half’s new cocktail bar. Free cocktails all night! and I was on the juices. Hmm. The sudden death of my uncle was a tough challenge. Racing over to be with my brother, his best friend, and doing a speech at the funeral. My mental resolve was alarmingly refreshing, and although a glass of something would have been ultimately relaxing at the end of the night, my ability to manage many of life’s complexities made it worth it to have retired with a cuppa instead. All my friends and family were really supportive, and the boyf was amazing, telling me how I’d be gutted if I gave in, on those times I was really hankering after some red.
2) A picture of health?
I felt dreadful. From day one. I expected to feel a bit weird and probably irritable and headachy but 2 rotten colds, and 2 periods were most certainly not on my planned agenda. For 2 weeks I could barely raise my head off the pillow, my nose resembled a dripping tap for most of the time, and PMT for 2 weeks just wasn’t funny. At the end of it however, I am a touch slimmer, as I can now fit into a suit that made me feel miserable attempting to put it on about 6 weeks ago.
3) Bank balances
A £200 electric bill and a borrowed car that drank petrol put paid to any savings I had envisaged making. On the plus side, I would have been more overdrawn than I was if I had been drinking. The savings on rounds of drinks are incredible. 2 drinks (1 alcoholic, 1 soft) for £5 as opposed to the usual 2 drinks for £10.
Whilst my own personal story was an interesting experience, what’s more important is that I managed to raise some money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The people in their care have difficulties way beyond missing out on the odd drink for a few days. For them, their challenge is life long.