Day 1: Monday
A few weeks ago Richard and I decided it was time to have some time off the booze.
Anyway, day 1. So far so good. Although to be fair, I’m writing this at 1 in the afternoon, so it’s hardly been a challenge so far. It also helps that we’ve been away on holiday for the past week, and have basically had far more to drink that we should have, every single day. So I feel like the break.
I’ve started all enthusiastically, have done yoga this morning and been for a 5km walk. I’ve also signed up for Weight Watchers, in an attempt to lose some of the weight that’s accumulated. I figure that I might as well go the whole hog.
First challenge hit at about 10.30am, when I spoke to my mother about my father’s birthday dinner tomorrow night.
Me: “Mum, you know I’m not drinking, right?”
Mum: “Well, that’s your problem. It’s not really an issue for me.”
Me: “Good, just wanted you to know”
Five minutes later…
Mum: “You know, you could just have one glass of wine.”
Me: “Mum, it’s only day one! Can you please give me a chance?!”
8.30pm: Feeling very tired and a bit grumpy. All the energy I had has disappeared. Time for a cup of tea and bed.
Day 2: Tuesday
Didn’t sleep very well last night, which was a surprise. I’d thought that no wine would make for an amazing sleep, but I’m guessing that a week of hard out drinking with friends at the beach is having it’s impact now I’ve stopped.
Also woke this morning with a headache, and feeling a bit sluggish. Like having a hangover, but without the fun bit the night before. Stink.
Caught up with my friend Anna.
Anna: “Shall we have a drink?” (She means an alcoholic kind just so we’re clear)
Me: “Sorry, I can’t. I’m not drinking for 10 weeks. It’s day two”
Anna: “You could have just one glass”
Seriously? Twice in two days? At this rate, I’ll have been asked if I can have just one glass 70 times by the end!!
Family dinner was a revelation. Firstly, that I can have fun with my family while they’re drinking and I’m not. Secondly, that no one harassed me about drinking sparkling water all night. Thirdly, that I didn’t cave in to temptation.
It was interesting to note at least two times when I lost focus, and nearly poured myself a glass without thinking about it. Need to watch that.
Day 3: Wednesday
Slept brilliantly last night. Felt like I was getting a cold this morning, still a bit headachey and really tired after not getting to sleep until after 10.30.
Thought about a comment my daughter made: “Do you promise not to be grumpy when you don’t drink?”
Clearly this is a thing for me…
5.20pm: This sucks. I feel really tired and scratchy as all hell. Normally I would have a glass of wine and try to get my head back to getting food ready for my family’s dinner. Instead I’m going to have a cup of tea. It’s hardly the same thing.
Day 4: Thursday
Another average night’s sleep, followed by waking with a headache. WTF! Goes to show how long it takes for your body to readjust to life without wine.
On the plus side, my energy levels are pretty good throughout the day. I’m feeling really motivated and achieving a lot more that I usually manage to in a week.
But then, when I get to the end of the day, my energy levels are crashing unbelievably. Clearly my body has become accustomed to using alcohol to fuel me into the evening. Every night this week I’ve been in bed pre-9.30pm!
Day 5: Friday
I wanted a drink SO BADLY last night. It’s not even the weekend yet, but the thought of another 9 weeks stretching in front of me, is daunting to say the least. I held my ground (yay me!) and drank a bottle of kombucha instead. At least I had something in my hand.
This morning I feel like a pile of poo. I’m bone-crushingly tired today. Have a friend who wants to walk at lunchtime, and have to work this afternoon, and really don’t want to do anything except go back to bed. Can’t wait for alcohol to withdraw it’s presence from my body!
Had French colleague offer me a bottle of zero alcohol beer. He can’t for the life of him understand why I would give up for any period of time. But he can’t understand vegetables either, so there we go. I don’t really see the point in replacing an alcoholic drink with one that looks the same, but is booze free. In the same way that I don’t understand vegan sausages. If you’re going to stop, just stop!
Day 6: Saturday
Slept so well last night, but still had a headache this morning. I’m worried that going to Sydney next weekend and drinking will take me right back to where I started. Maybe I can practice moderation instead. She says hopefully.
Day 7: Sunday
Once again I was just wrecked. So tired I had to have a sleep mid-afternoon. On the plus side, I managed to stay awake until 10pm, the latest night so far this week.
What I’ve learned this week: Energy
The hardest part about researching the effects of giving up alcohol is the definition of heavy drinking. Most websites are targeted at people who are alcoholics, rather that people like me who probably have imbibed more than they should have, but are still considered “normal”. However, I have been surprised by the impact abstinence has had on my energy levels this week.
According to Stop Drinking Alcohol:
“You need to remember that your body converts alcohol to sugar, and in turn, this sugar becomes energy. Since you’re no longer drinking your body no longer has access to the sugar rush from alcohol, and you will likely experience a dramatic drop off in energy until your body becomes acclimated to an alcohol free lifestyle.
Most people find that it can take 2 – 4 weeks before their energy BEGINS to returns to normal. Perhaps even longer if you’ve been drinking heavily for many years.
The quickest way to reclaim your natural energy is to ease yourself back into eating a healthy diet and getting some good, old fashion exercise. Get some sunshine, too, as Vitamin D has a great many health benefits.
Also, make sure you aren’t replacing alcohol with caffeine-laden or sugar-filled drinks that will only temporarily spike your energy levels, and then leave you more tired than before. Instead, get in the habit of drinking water with every meal.”