Last Thursday I had my first alcoholic beverage in 31 days. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you are probably very perplexed by this. As you know, I love my wine. And my beer. And my baileys. And my fancy cocktails. So let me back up.
In mid-March I went “glamping” along the Santa Cruz coast, which is basically fancy camping. You stay in a tent bungalow and inside it you have a real bed and electricity. It’s very basic and you’re still on a campground and cooking your meals via fire, etc., but it’s much easier than real camping. It was a blast. Unfortunately, while there I got bit by a deer tick (it seems disgusting bugs are very attracted to me). Because all signs pointed to the possibility of lyme disease, I was put on 28 days of heavy antibiotics. For 4 weeks, I couldn’t drink anything alcoholic. I’m pretty sure that this is the longest amount of time I’ve ever gone without drinking since I started drinking, and this forced sobriety proved to be a very interesting experiment for me. Now that it’s over and regular life has resumed, I thought I’d share my insights.
- No hangovers! This is, hands down, the best benefit. Waking up feeling good every. single. morning. was really nice. Hangovers suck and the older I get the worse they seem to become.
- Increased productivity! Shockingly, you are far more productive when you don’t spend half of your day nursing a hangover.
- Weight loss! Though it wasn’t a significant amount, I did lose a couple of pounds without changing my diet at all — if anything, I was actually eating more sweets. I think this has more to do with the alcohol-related food decisions I would make vs. the lack of alcoholic calories. I no longer had pizza at 1 AM or had to carboload the next morning in an effort to soak up my hangover. When I’m drinking, I often eat really unhealthy food well past midnight, and I wake up being like CARBS CARBS I NEED CARBS!
- Great sleep! I thought I would sleep less, but I actually slept more. My body loved the continuous nights of sober sleep, and I felt like I could have easily slept for 12 hours a day if I let myself.
- Boredom. I was very antisocial for most of this month. San Francisco is a big drinking city, and hanging out with drunk people when you are not drunk is very annoying.
- People think you are pregnant. When you go out and order water, people assume you’re pregnant. Even when you explain that you’re not, you get the side eye because they think you are telling the “antibiotic lie,” and they continue to sneak glances at your stomach.
- Lack of things to drink. Most bars have very few, if any, options for good non-alcoholic beverages.
- My hangovers are now even worse. On Thursday I had less than 3 glasses of wine, but I woke up on Friday feeling like I’d had a crazy night out on the town. WTF? Apparently my body no longer knows how to process alcohol anymore. Not cool.
- I’m now addicted to sugar. I craved sugar like a son of a bitch, and I ate an insane amount of desserts and sweets.
The pros are clearly awesome, but are they so amazing that I am going to give up alcohol for good? To that, I say: HAHAHA! I still love my wine. I love meeting my friends for happy hour and exploring cute new bars, and I love having boozy date nights with Kevin.
Overall I think taking this forced break was really great for me, and I definitely learned some good lessons from my booze free month. I developed some really good habits that I plan on continuing, and it also gave me a peek into what being pregnant is going to be like. Which apparently means that for me, being pregnant equals being very very bored for nine months and eating my weight in chocolate. Awesome!
For all of you alcohol connoisseurs out there like myself, what’s the longest you’ve ever gone without some boozy libations? Did it help change your drinking habits?
P.S. I realize I’ve been absent from these parts for a long long time, but instead of writing some long diatribe about what I’ve been up to and why I’ve been gone and what my future blogging intentions are, I thought I’d just jump back into it, and pretend that we are the kind of friends that can go months without talking and it doesn’t matter, because when you finally do, it feels like no time has passed at all.