On 1 July I pledged to give up alcohol, and I signed up for Dry July to raise funds for people affected by cancer. A month later and I’ve reached my goal, I’ve abstained from alcohol and I’ve raised $249.75 for Look Good Feel Better, to help people living with cancer. And I’ve been surprised with what I’ve learned along the way.
Why I gave up alcohol
I had a number of reasons for giving up alcohol and signing up for Dry July. Firstly, I was looking forward to the health benefits of not drinking for a month. Secondly, I’ve also lost too many people I love to the hideous illness.
I lost my father to cancer over 15 years ago. Despite his fight, he didn’t make it to my graduation. He wasn’t there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. And he never got to meet his beautiful grandchildren.
Recently we also lost one of my daughter’s school friends, at eight years old. A little girl who loved cats and princesses. A little girl who didn’t make it to her 9th birthday.
Dry July felt like something I needed to do this year. Something positive.
What I’ve learned from being sober
Firstly, I’ve really enjoyed being sober.
I have fewer mood swings. Without alcohol, I broke the artificial stimulus cycle that I have been rehearsing almost daily for as long as I have been a chaotic mother with a career. Wake up – have coffee. Have more coffee until I’ve sufficiently “hyped” myself up. Get through the day. Wind down with a glass of wine after the kids go to bed.
By eliminating the alcohol I found I didn’t actually need that glass of wine to relax after a long day. And by cutting back on coffee in the morning as well, there were fewer caffeine highs to mess with my natural energy levels. Without the artificial stimulus, my hormones have been able to balance out my moods better – naturally.
I “feel” lighter?? What do I mean by that? It means I don’t wake up with that dull thump in my head reminding me that I had a glass or two too many last night. And I don’t feel guilty for grumping at my children. I don’t feel like I “need” to have a drink after a stressful day. I feel relieved of all these things, and I feel lighter for it.
By doing something for others, I also feel more positive. I have raised funds for a charity that is helping people live with an illness that has impacted heavily in my life. I have made a positive change in my life, and I am in control.
My health has been better and my weight is easier to manage.
Our weekly grocery shop is cheaper. My bank account thanks me for giving up alcohol.
What I’ve missed
I have missed having a social drink with Hubby at the weekend, or a glass of rose’ with the girls after work on a Friday.
So although I’ve really enjoyed not drinking, I am also looking forward to a social glass or two of wine with friends and loved ones.
And I’ve remembered (from pregnancy days) how annoying Hubby is when he is drinking!