1 Year Without Alcohol

As a part of Quebecers is preparing for the 28 days No Alcohol Challenge, I thought I’d share my one year without alcohol  experience. 

I can not remember the exact year,  but I know it was in my first years as a new condo owner, so something around 2013. Let us use that year to facilitate the writing of this article.  

First, you need to know that I am a grand “tester”. I love to defy popular beliefs and see by myself, like I did with 1 year without sugar.

This inspiration of wanting to stop alcohol came to me after I realized I could not digest well red wine as I used to. I was about 37 years-old. I’ve never been a huge drinker, but I was maybe taking 1 to 3 glasses ever 2-3 week-ends; generally during special occasions or great diners with friends. I heard about sulfites and started researching the alcohol effect on the liver. In general, a series of questionings brought me to want to do this experiment.

I was determined to start at the beginning of the year.  Few weeks before, I announced my new year resolution to my family. it was very well welcomed. My mother does not drink and my ex-sister in law and my brother are both very in tune with healthy food consumption and global health. 

Oh yes, one of the reasons behind this decision was definitely to cleanse my liver which is generally the organ behind this kind of indigestions, but alsoI had asked myself the question  what is it that pushes us to drink, whether it is on a personal or social level? Yes, I know, we are all now specialists of wine and beer tasting in Quebec, or we all need this reward on week-ends…  but truly, the question was valid: why put alcohol in our body, even with moderation, when we know that it is not good for the liver and that there are other negative impacts? 

So there I was, starting this new adventure in January 2013.  Used to fasting, the first 3 months were not that difficult for me. I remember though there were maybe 2-3 days where I felt a craving for wine (I speak constantly of wine as I dislike beer and was sometimes only drinking martinis aside), Then arrived spring and summer, two very social seasons here. This period was a  little bit more challenging. It was interesting to first observe that the challenge was not to prevent myself from drinking in presence of friends who were,  but it was the idea of wanting to replace the alcohol by something special that would make me feel good. The principle of reward at the end of days or on week-ends marked me incredibly.  This is when I started to observe this reason behind drinking that exist prominently in our society. 

For me, I quickly reprogrammed within this idea of rewarding and I adopted water. I do not like Perrier so yes, even in bars, I would buy a bottle of water! But I also reconnected to my favourite childhood drink when I wanted something ore tasteful: the Shirley Temple!

Now, no need to tell you that during this period and especially through those two non alcoholic beverages, a lot of interesting discussions were started. In those first months, it was interesting to share my “whys” and  observations. There were a lot of  “I wouldn’t be able to!” or “maybe 3 months, but a year!”.

Summer went by quickly as all of our summers in Quebec do, and fall started to settle. I would say that it is around October that the experiment became very interesting. I don’t know why, but many people, from different circles, started trying to discourage me in finishing my year.  In events I’d often get ” but what do you have to prove?” or “come on, it is not just one drink that will make a difference!”  For me, it was an awakening towards the social pressure that exists behind drinking but also how much it is an important sense of belonging ritual. 

I did not flinch and I made it proudly to December 31st, inclusively. 

What did it bring me?
– at about 3-4 months into it, I definitively saw a difference in my vital energy; something renewed and more stable. 

-I realized that there is a social pressure in drinking and now I always question myself if I truly desire to take a drink or not when the occasion arises. 

-I do not drink as much as before. It definitively cleanse the system.I only drank my first drink on the third week of 2014. First, my shoulders went down after my 3rd sip – lol. Now, I can only drink 1 or 2 glasses of wine. One if I want to drive, and if I take two, I take easily 2 hours do decant.

On a final note, I would like to share this next element with love. Some will react, which only enriches the following statement: in Qc,  we are big drinkers. I’d say that there is a certain addiction that exists, non medically dangerous, but it is there. When you surprise yourself by stating “yes but I need my little drink on week-ends or at the end of the day“, o”I rather continue on drink and feeling X ailment” or ” well we need to appreciate the little pleasures of life“, well when there is a need of a non vital element, it is generally a form of addiction. If you can not prevent yourself on a certain period of time, it is an addiction. like I mentioned, not a severe one, but it is there. An observation to each have within.

Love and Light,

#1yearwithouraclohol #28daysnonalcoholchallenge #soberfebruary