Going sober

It’s January which means that many people are busy making New Year’s resolutions that they are unlikely to keep – joining a gym, going vegan, starting a diet, dry January.  The list is endless.  All with good intentions, no doubt, but it has been proven that we rarely stick to the resolutions we make at the beginning of the year and January is probably the worst time of the year to try to change your habits as we are all feeling so low.  So how about dry January?  A good, although drastic, solution post Christmas if you have been knocking back a substantial amount of alcohol over the entire season but what if every month was dry January?

I am talking about giving up alcohol as that is what I did nearly 2 years ago.  I spent my December and New Year’s Eve stone cold sober, as I do every single month of the year.  Why?  Because I had to give up alcohol when I embarked on the anti-candida diet nearly 2 years ago (click here for more on that) and whilst I found it hard for the first few months, even though I thought it was only temporary, it then became easier and easier and I discovered all sorts of benefits.  My skin became so much clearer, I started to win my battle with the bulge and I slept so much better at night that after about 8 months I realised I didn’t want to get used to drinking again and that was probably it for me and alcohol.

Statistics show that one in five adults drink more than the recommended guidelines, and I must admit I have a friend or two who just cannot go a day without a glass of wine.  They struggle with Stoptober or Dry January as they just need their fix.  This might explain why I am met with incredulity when I explain that I don’t drink alcohol and I have even been asked, on the odd occasion, if I am a recovering alcoholic.  It’s a shame that it has to be this way.

Cutting out alcohol can, in the short term, improve your energy levels and make your skin glow and your eyes look brighter as you are less dehydrated.  In the long term it will lower your risk of getting cancer (alcohol consumption is linked to breast cancer ladies), should reduce your chances of getting liver disease or from suffering a stroke.  So many people I have spoken to that have gone on the wagon for any period of time report that they felt so much better and lost significant amounts of weight and that, along with the improved sleep and skin, really should be enough to tempt anyone, shouldn’t it?

It is a shame that so many people believe you can’t have fun sober.  Someone went so far once as to comment on what a good sport I was to have come to a party as I didn’t drink.  Does that mean that you can’t possibly enjoy yourself if you aren’t off your head?  Is it really that much fun to end the evening sliding down a wall, mouth and teeth stained dark red from too much red wine and trying so hard to sound sensible when actually you are just looking stupid?  And that’s not even mentioning the next morning when you are just going to feel shite.

However, as time goes on I find a glimmer of a suggestion that this might all be changing as I meet more and more people who have also given up, or at the very least have significantly reduced their intake.  Some have given up due to the toll it was taking on their health.  Others simply realise that they were drinking too much and there is just as much fun to be had from not having a glass of whatever every evening.  Think of the money you save!

Being sober isn’t boring and it is becoming easier now that there are so many alcohol-free alternatives around (Seedlip anyone? ) as well as resources from books to online forums to Instagram accounts.  You can have fun when you are out at a party, dinner party, clubbing or whatever your thing is.  There is no argument about who is driving and no waking up in the morning trying to remember what you did the night before and cringing in embarrassment when it all comes back to you.  And best of all, you are trimmer round the middle and bouncing with energy from all that sleep you are now getting.

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