On Tuesday 18th June I finished a 21 Days No Alcohol Challenge and I would like to share my experience with you.
I decided to go dry for 21 days because I could feel that my alcohol consumption was a bit out of control. Having 4, 5 or 6 cans of beer a day for 3, 4 or even 5 days a week was taking its toll on my body. I had 35 kg of overweight -not just because of the alcohol, obviously-. I was feeling swollen, my belly inflated like a balloon and I looking like a cosmic hogshead. The words of a friend of mine to his son made me think: “You can drink 10 beers one single day and that’s not bad. It’s bad if you drink 10 beers everyday”.
After his words and looking at myself in the mirror a couple more times I decided to reduce my beer intake. I haven’t gone on this challenge straight away because I’m my worst enemy and couldn’t be able to finish it. Staying sober for 21 days was the final step of several weeks of reducing my beer days to once a week, once every 10 days and once after two weeks. Without this “training” I would have failed miserably in the first week or 10 days of the challenge, with disastrous consequences for my self-esteem.
By the way, I love challenges. I love the feeling of being focus on something, reaching the state of flow, giving my best and accomplish a goal, learning new skills or knowledge during the process.
How did it go?
It was hard, but not as hard as the training weeks. Those days were terrible. Being back home after an intense day at work without a beer as a reward was distressing. Even more when your partner is having nice cans of Cobra and you can only think of the flavour of a Desperados, the punch of a K Cider or the easiness of a Stella Artois with lime and a pinch of salt.
The training weeks were the real challenge. Doing the 21 Days No Alcohol Challenge was just the next natural step to prove myself I was being serious about it and really wanted to make a change in my lifestyle. So I had to come up with non-alcoholic and interesting drink ideas: fruit juices, hibiscus water and my usual Breakfast and Mint tea. I specially enjoyed the juices: pineapple with mint and lime, and watermelon, cucumber and strawberry. Tasty, refreshing and providing all the vitamins and nutrients I used to get from the beer. They were delicious! Although I reckon they get better with some gin or white rum. 🙂
Can be anything bad from not having alcohol? Of course! I got terribly boring. I had nothing to talk about on social gatherings and wasn’t funny at all. Horrible. I realised how much alcohol lights a spark in my brain and its role as a social lube.
I have lost some weight during this process, I guess mostly water and some fat. I don’t look that swollen anymore and feel kind of lighter. And the hangovers. It’s amazing to wake up without that terrible feeling in your body. And I’m lucky because I don’t suffer from headaches when I’m hangover but I hate them, specially when you have to work on that day. You just want to die.
I also have saved some money on the way, not too much because the money I used to spend on beer I spent it on fruits and vegetables but I guess my finances are happier now. My lungs are happier as well after this challenge as I am an occasional smoker who likes his fags alongside his beers.
Loads of benefits!!!
And after the challenge?
After this 21 Days No Alcohol Challenge, now it comes the most difficult stuff. To build the habit of drinking just once a week and not get too wasted that day. To beat a challenge is easy compared to build a balanced lifestyle, where alcohol has its place but do not overflow your life.
I don’t really know if beer or wine are truly healthy or those statements are just pure marketing from the producers, but I fully believe that alcohol in the right amount makes your life better. It makes us funny and bubbly, it enriches our meals, refreshes our warm days and spice our nights up. But with a limit.
And now the patronising ending
If you drink to feel better because you think your life sucks or your job is too stressful… If you have 6, 8, 10 beers on a Saturday night because you are bored and have nothing better to do with your life… You, my friend, should stop, step back and take this shit easy. There’s nothing good, prestigious or canalla in becoming an alcoholic. Just pain for yourself and the people who love you.