On the 12th of June 2020 amidst a global pandemic being in and out of lockdowns. I thought it was a good idea to go sober for 12 months. God, I hate my brain sometimes.
Ive been back on the sauce a few months now and like my previous blogs, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the decision and how being sober for 12 months affected me.
Why go sober?
So why did It do it? Why did I think it was a good idea to quit alcohol and go sober for a year. Well, there were 3 main reasons.
The first was curiosity. I simply wanted to see if I could. Being an avid drinker since “18” and alcohol being the catalyst for many of the best stories and nights of my life. I wanted to know if I had the mental strength to cut out the weekly beers and stand up to peer pressure on nights out. Deciding to do this mid pandemic when nigh outs were few and far between helped.
The second reason was my health. I had noticed an increase in my weekly beers which slowly turned into a weekly bottle of whiskey, rum or gin. Not all in one night but the whole bottle over the week. This was WAY more than I used to drink and thought I’d best cut back before it became something worse and I could never be sober.
The third reason was I had a goal. On the 12th of June 2021, I was meant to take part in a Tough Mudder event. The event was meant to be in June 2020 and got pushed back a year due to the pandemic. After finding out this news and wanting to cut back on alcohol to become healthier. So instead of just cutting back I cut it all and went sober for 12 months. With the goal that my returning alcoholic drink would be at the end of the Tough Mudder course.
How did it go?
Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way I expected. In short winter hit and my training for the event went out the window. I tried to start daily running back up in the new year but that didn’t last too long either. Then the event was pushed again and I called it quits and got a refund on the event. It was quite disheartening, to be honest. I could have stayed on but the friend I was going to run it with had already pulled out and didn't want to run it solo.
The only good thing was I was still sober. Regardless of the winter blues and not taking part in the event I was still sober! I really surprised myself, to be honest. Over Christmas being around family and in a merry mood, I found it a lot harder to grab an alcoholic beer from the fridge rather than an alcoholic one. That being said I managed it. I managed Christmas alcohol-free I was astonished.
After Christmas had passed and the event refunded, I still wanted to stick to the goal of 12 months sober with my eyes set on the 12th of June 2021. Fortunately, I had another goal. An old friend from uni was travelling the country with his soon to be wife and wanted to meet up for a meal.
This happened to land on the same week that my sobriety was due to end. So In the end there was no prize and glory of completing the Tough Mudder event and drinking some cheap beer for my return to alcohol. No, it was in a pub in Wales with Rach, Daisy, My friends from uni and their dog called Fish. In case you are wondering what the returning drink was. It was a pint of Guinness and it tasted all the better for the company.
Pros & Cons
There were some pros & cons to the whole experience. The main pros are the lack of any form of a hangover for 12 months. Seeing people suffer from hangovers the next day when I was fine was oddly satisfying. Being sober whilst on a night out then waking up fresh-faced, bushy-tailed and ready to go made me feel great. The health benefits are also another plus. I noticed some weight loss but not too much. I think my training kept up over winter it would have been more drastic but that’s due to lack of motivation not lack of alcohol.
Night outs were a double-edged sword. The pro was I could drive my friends home and enjoy the company. The con was it was a lot harder to keep up with their vibe and keep the jokes going. I didn’t find things as funny as they did because the booze had overtaken them and I just felt a bit awkward from time to time being the sober one of the group. Don’t get me wrong after the whole pandemic and lockdowns I was just happy to be out catching up so I would happily do it again.
Looking back on the 12 sober months I can only think of 1 thing I would do differently. Don’t drink alcohol-free beer. Don’t get me wrong some of them taste oke and sometimes you do forget you’re actually still sober and not getting drunk with them. I just feel like I wasted the opportunity to try new drinks and experiences like new mock-tails different soft drinks.
Generally, it was a good year and I think due to drinking alcohol-free beer I didn’t really notice a difference until midway at Christmas when I really wanted a nice glass of whiskey. Not for the alcohol but just to sip, enjoy and take in the festive spirit.
Going forward I don’t think I will take another year off booze. It was a fun experiment but I did miss the freedom of having anything I want to drink.
I guess if it taught me anything it was to enjoy the drink more, don’t just buy cheap beer for the sake of it. Buy a drink that you actually enjoy the tastes of and take it in moderation.
That's it for this week. I hope you have a positive and productive week.
Cya next week.