How to Give Up Alcohol for One Year
I did it! I made it 365 without drinking. Here’s a few quick tips concerning how I did it and what the results have been.
I gave up drinking at 11:59pm on December 31, 2018. I set down the glass and that was it. I didn’t toss out all of the alcohol in the house, or force my family to change their habits, or avoid bars/parties/bbqs/etc. I just stopped, and that was it.
Giving Up Alcohol Tips
Here are a few tips that might help you do the same:
Prepare for the Change
If you want to give up drinking for a year, you need to mentally prepare for it. I made the decision to do it two months before I started, spoke with my wife about it, then told other people I was doing it before I began. Being “public” about it isn’t totally necessary, but it will assist you in committing to the action mentally.
List Your Reasons Why You’re Doing It
There are two reasons to list your reasons: #1 people are going to ask; #2 you need to justify the commitment to yourself.
The reasons could be health, work, family, religion, etc. For me, it was mainly about energy… I wanted to work harder, longer, and smarter, and the easiest way I could think of accomplishing the task was to stop consuming depressants (duh).
Don’t Make It a Big Deal
The more you think about it, the harder it will be. While the act of giving up alcohol will be tough for a little bit, you’ll get used to it. It’s not the end of the world… it’s not heroic… it’s just something you’re doing for yourself. Good for you. Move on.
What to Expect
Here is a quick list of things you can expect throughout the process of giving up alcohol for a year:
- You’ll have more energy in the morning, at night, and throughout the day.
- You’ll wonder what you should do with this energy you didn’t know was missing in the first place.
- You’ll crave sugar and desserts more than you usually do for the first 30-90 days (or at least I did).
- You’ll need a new outlet for stress/anger (I chose exercise).
- You’ll stop looking forward to the weekend as much… Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are just three more productive days during the week.
- Waking up is easier and staying up late isn’t as detrimental as it used to be.
- You might lose weight (I only lost 5lbs but I lost 5% bodyfat).
- You’ll need a new way to help you sleep (I didn’t realize I was using alcohol as a sleep supplement (horrible) but I was. Exercise and CBD oil became a MUCH better alternative for sleep assistance).
- If you’re an introvert, you might look forward to social gatherings less than when you did when you were drinking. As an introvert myself, this fact made me feel more introverted which isn’t good or bad, but it may change your weekend plans.
The Results of Giving Up Alcohol for a Year
Here are some of the results that I can directly or indirectly attribute to giving up alcohol for a year (these are not in order of importance):
- My best sales/growth year in my Branding/Website Design Business: MegaMad Websites
- The best, most consistent sleeping habits I’ve ever had in my life
- Improved self-awareness, energy, and ambition
- Reconnection with emotions and motivations
- Wrote first children’s book with my son Declan: Captain Blah Blah and the War on Silence
- Created YouTube channel for my son’s Lego-obsession: Declan Builds
- Created a new blog and started making donuts: YouDono.com
- Helped create a new non-profit with my wife: SpecialWithaSideofMom.com (I’m on the board)
- My wife is happier and loves me more than ever and thinks I’m super incredible (independent verification of this fact by speaking to my wife is not necessary)
I know many people who have given up alcohol for a time and never went back… I am not one of those people.
I believe that our body’s reaction to this particular poison (and in all aspects alcohol IS a toxic substance to the human physiology) is a happy little miracle of nature that should be enjoyed responsibly.
While I appreciate the energy and vitality I feel while 100% sober all of the time, it can also be very stressful and mentally draining. I have no “off” switch, and this experience reminded me of how intense and relentless my thought processes naturally are.
I look forward to relaxing with friends and family again :)