I’ve always been an avid craft beer fan, and while I wasn’t what I considered a “heavy drinker,” during the first month of COVID lockdown I started to drink every night—usually four to six beers and a few whiskeys. My first thoughts the next morning were ones of shame. I was sick of feeling like that. I would often prioritize drinking over my marriage and my young daughter, without even really noticing.
In late April, I decided to go alcohol free for 30 days. Quarantine seemed made for giving up booze since I wasn’t surrounded by alcohol in social settings. I’d done alcohol-free challenges before, but this time I was alone, and knew that I was going to need some support.
I started reading self-help books and looking at my beliefs and habits around about alcohol. I realized that the rituals I had built around alcohol (a can or four on the couch) were going to be harder to break than the reliance on the substance itself. First, I removed the substance, replacing it with non-alcoholic beer. That helped with any cravings. Then, I developed other ways to cope; I started waking up with more motivation and started running.
Every part of my life has changed since giving up alcohol. I lost almost 22 pounds, I’m more positive, I’ve saved money, and my relationship with my family improved. Once I hit the 30-day milestone, 100 days was the next goal. I felt so amazing once I got there that I’ve extended it to a year. I don’t plan to drink after 12 months. Never say never, but the difference is that I don’t have to drink now. Life is better without it. I’m better without it.
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