30 Day No Alcohol Challenge: My Experience

I recently completed a 30 day challenge to myself involving abstaining from the consumption of alcohol. I have to say it was a very worthwhile endeavor. Hopefully you will find something here of value, something that may change the way you perceive things. Or maybe not, and that’s fine too.

I’m composing this particular post in list form with a total disregard for writing by the way (In retrospect I can see that’s not true, but I DID make a list. Sort of.). Call it laziness or simply an experiment in getting to the point without the mess of composition, grammar rules etc. I think you’ll get the important concepts and I hope you give it a go yourself if you’re so inclined. It’s really about the inquiry and what that inquiry reveals.

It’s important to note that none of this is meant to be holier than thou. I drink. And I definitely have the gene that always reminds me if one is good, two must be better, three has to be great etc. Drinking is forever a managed activity for me and frankly a mental struggle at times. I’m very aware that it’s either that or choosing abstinence permanently which I’d rather not do as of this moment as I’d still like to be able sit down and have a couple cold ones with friends when the opportunity presents itself.

OK, here is the brain dump/my thoughts and realizations:

Committing initially/speaking the intention out loud was probably the hardest part.

Once you get some distance IE get off the sauce it’s really no bigE.

The whole world is addicted to drugs, this one just happens to be legal and of the socially accepted variety.

People don’t separate the experience from the booze. IE they can’t possibly NOT drink at an infinite variety of things ranging from sporting events, to family vacations to social get-togethers.

Alcohol deadens. So each time you drink you effectively blunt/numb the experience. I don’t want to go through my life numbing everything down.

If you don’t drink you are one step away from being a TOTAL FREAK. It’s not “normal”. Literally it determines who people hang out with and dare I say whole perspectives on life or at least what you should spend your time in life doing.

I thought it would be a sort of super power in terms of my work productivity. In truth I think I handled things at about the same pace as usual. I do feel it was a bit like a superpower because you always have the potential to feel at your very best. Many of us will likely replace drinking with an activity like more exercise or positive output which could be good.

When you no longer have a designated day or days and times of the week set aside for catching a buzz you are left wondering “now what on earth will I do”?

I definitely feel like I had some clarity over the month. It’s confounded by other major changes I perceived going on with myself over the same period of time. But I do feel like there was a clarity.

Responding to the end of a day, to a specific event, to stress etc. by drinking is another form of auto-pilot, another example of how we are all sleep walking. I would like to WAKE UP.

I had lots of thoughts on doing this at the exact same time every year regardless of circumstance (discipline), doing it every other month, doing it twice/year etc. I think I’ve settled on 2x year unless I decide to do something more “severe”.

It is helpful if your significant other is on the same page :).

It helps if you can talk with others who might have the faintest clue why you might do something like this.

There was some anxiety about the end of the challenge.

I’m still thinking about how I’m going to proceed.

It did change me.

Ian

PS If you enjoyed this post or think someone you know might benefit from reading it or giving it a try please pass it along!