My relationship with alcohol could easily be described as, “She doesn’t know how to quit, no matter how much she hates herself and her bank account after.” Not exactly the most healthy relationship I’ve been in. After too many mornings of the classic, “I am never drinking again,” and a wedding blackout that I really wish I could remember–I decided to stop messing around and quit drinking for a month. Though drinking for many people is about letting go, for me, I had let go a little too much and needed to feel somewhat in control again. The next day is always blah with tons of guilt and embarrassment, and I knew that I could be better to myself.

At first, I didn’t think that stopping drinking was going to be a big deal. I figured life would continue as normal and at the end of the month I could shrug it off and move on to my next phase. But I began to realize quickly that most of my social plans are usually accompanied with drinks: wine nights with the girls, dancing and tequila shots, and mimosas at brunch with my parents.

Not drinking was much more difficult than I thought. I found myself having to explain myself over and over again to people who I never felt like I owed anything to before. Once I turned down a drink and said, “I’m not drinking right now,” my statement was usually met with expressions of confusion. “I want to stop hating myself after drinking” began to feel like a lame excuse rather than my genuine feelings after having said it to yet another person. The looks of confusion were often accompanied by disappointing sounds and sometimes an empathetic, “Sorry, that sucks. Let me know when you start again.”

Regardless of how it made other people feel, I made a change for myself and not anyone else. I noticed some slight changes in my lifestyle while undergoing my dry run. Before I stopped drinking, I had some difficulties falling asleep and spent the night tossing and turning. Surprisingly, I felt like my sleep has improved tremendously and I am also able to wake up feeling rested. However, the biggest change I noticed was in my bank account. I saved so much money by not drinking, it was a pretty big difference in balances.

After my month was over I learned that alcohol had seeped into much more of my life than I had ever realized. There were many more situations that I had to explain myself in than I expected. For me, giving up drinking was a part of getting to know myself a little better and realizing that I have the option to control my health and choices. Guilt doesn’t have to go hand in hand with alcohol. I don’t think I’m going to go back fully to the way I used to drink, but hey, everything is better in moderation.

Photo by: Andrew Dizon

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