Those who know me know that I love an ale or three. Not commercial, water-weakened lager, not what passes for bitter these days…but a proper, craft-brewed, hipster-approved real ale. And luckily, with the swift rise of the craft ale movement, there are new beers hitting the shelves every single day. Woo!
Although, recently, I have to admit the reasons for drinking beers became slightly blurred, along with my vision. I had got used to necking 3 or 4 bottles a night, which might not seem like much, I’m sure. But it had become part of my routine, and routine breeds complacency. Becoming complacent about drinking 3 times over the recommended amount, every day…well. It isn’t a good thing. I find that after a few beers (or wines) ideas flow more freely, inspiration awakens, conversations deepened. But I didn’t want to rely on alcohol as a crutch to create.
So, along with some other dietary changes, I just woke up one day and stopped. I wanted some clarity and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive that I wouldn’t actually be able to cut down, especially with a few bottles of the local brewery’s limited edition DIPA waiting tantalisingly in the cupboard…but 36 days later, here I am, and this is what I’ve learned so far.
– Stopping drinking comes with some odd side effects: excessive tiredness, terrible skin and the best of all, really, really weird dreams.
– Tonic water is ace: especially with raspberries and honeysuckle syrup.
– Beer was an integral part of my social life: it felt a little strange to adjust to a missing part, especially something I enjoy so much.
– It’s easy to get used to a ‘few beers’ and not think you’re drinking too much. But read the guidelines on the bottle. A single craft ale is pretty much the daily limit for women in the UK.
– It takes a few weeks for your head to clear: I feel like my eyes can see a little more vibrantly. I feel I notice different layers of light, like my vision is somehow expanded. I don’t think this is actually ‘a thing’, but it’s something I’ve noticed, or seemed to notice…
– My skin is WAY better: This might have something to do with quitting meat and dairy too. But wow, I feel glowing!
I’m not sure if quitting drinking totally is something I want to do. But I definitely feel after this break that I’ll look at drink in a different way, and view it as a treat rather than part of an evening routine. Plus I’ve lost half a stone without really trying.
I intended to do a month, 31 days, off the drink. But I have an app on my phone that counts the days….and I don’t want to have to reset it…