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What I’ve learned from 36 days off the drink

off the drink

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…



3 thoughts on “What I’ve learned from 36 days off the drink

  1. This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing. I noticed when I quit sugar the massive differences to how I felt, and although I don’t drink a lot, I think it’s really interesting what you noticed when you’ve cut it out for a while. x

  2. Good for you! It’s neat the things you noticed. I need to try the same thing with wine. It has become a habit, one that I don’t know if I can give up. However, I’ve been wanting to lose some weight, so I decided to cut back to just having wine on the weekends. I still have over the recommended amount (just one glass? Pleeeeease!) on those nights, but not drinking at all during the week has helped me lose weight! Now that I’m getting used to it, maybe I’ll do as you have and go a whole month to see how I feel. Thanks for the inspiration!

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