This post was a no-brainer for me to write. I had planned on writing about what I learned when I gave up booze - with one or two days left to go in my 24 Day Challenge, but that didn't happen. Actually, I'm glad it didn't happen because I feel like I learned even more after re-introducing booze back into my life. It was legit eye opening how giving up booze makes you feel, and what happens when you actually give up alcohol.
First, I'll pat myself on the back because I made it through the entire challenge without giving in. Aside from a couple of specific events (St. Pats Parade + Bacon and Beer Festival) it was pretty easy. I didn't put myself in situations where I was setting myself up for failure and that was the key. I packed my lunch and snacks with me everywhere I went. I also drank club soda with lime like it was going out of style. I love club soda - my soda stream is my bestie - so that was a HUGE help.
I'm going to be totally honest in this post. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that my skin cleared up and I was bippity bopping all over the greater Dallas area with so much energy I was going to BURST open if I didn't move.
It did not have that effect on me....
2. NO (ZERO, ZILTCH, NADA) ANXIETY
This one I realized after I reintroduced drinking again. I woke up with a hangover and with so much anxiety, it was terrible.
I said to CB, "Oh my gosh my anxiety is out of control."
He asked over what - and I couldn't give him an answer. I didn't know. When I have a hangover I don't just have nausea, I have uncontrollable anxiety and I can never pinpoint the cause.
If you get this, it's the WORST thing in the world. Anxiety is no joke.
It occurred to me, as I was laying there completely stressed out, that I never had a single ounce of any anxiety at all while I wasn't drinking.
Before I did this 24 Day Challenge, I had myself convinced I had an anxiety problem that just probably wouldn't get solved. I was too nervous to talk to my doctor about it (don't ask me why, I just don't know) so I just DEALT with it.
Turns out, it is caused by booze. This was hands down the biggest eye opener for me.
No drinking = no anxiety. Really interesting.
3. I Saved So Much MONEY
This one was fantastic. My drink of choice (dirty gin martini) is always expensive. Generally around $10 a pop. Not drinking craft beers, pinot noirs, martinis or old fashioneds sure was light on the wallet. I obviously knew I'd save money, but with packing my lunch everywhere we went and not drinking -- there were a couple of weekends I made it through without spending a single dime. Making it through a weekend without spending money, mind blowing.
4. I Thoroughly Enjoyed Being The DD
CB and I take Uber or Lyft everywhere when we go out drinking. We don't mess with drinking and driving, EVER. I have to admit, we do a really good job of planning to avoid drinking and driving.
Usual scenario: We go out in Deep Ellum pretty often. When we do, we will drive to Deep Ellum and leave a car there in favor of Ubering back. The next morning (probably hungover) it was always such a pain in the butt to plan the whole day around going back to get the car.
I could drive our friends around, we didn't need to worry about paying or planning around an uber, and I had my car with me the next day. I'm not sure why I loved having my car with me so much, perhaps it was enjoying having control, but I really liked being Designated Driver. I felt great about getting my friends home safely, and I felt even better that I didn't have to worry about if my car was safe in the lot I parked it over night.
5. I Was Kind Of Lame Once 10pm hit
I was fine to go out with everyone and stay sober, but the second 10pm hit I was totally over it. I was yawning and had a hard time staying focused in the conversations.
I also REALLY HATED - I mean REALLY hated - being sober when literally everyone around me was blasted. When we got off our float after the St. Patrick's Parade and walked down Lower Greenville, people were falling over, passed out in the street, stumbling into me, pushing, yelling, slurring words. I DID NOT like it, at all.
I sometimes have anger issues (ok, I'm a loose cannon on occasion) and my anger management problems were in full force. Drunk girls slamming into me because they downed 400 jell-o shots, yeah, not for me.
There was a whole weekend out there that I didn't know existed. You mean, I can go workout on the weekend? Like, what?
Waking up without any kind of hangover meant I could go do Soul Cycle, got up early to have coffee with a friend, we played a full round of golf, went to the Arboretum and looked at flowers, took a road trip. We did all sorts of things and I wasn't forcing myself through the motions because I had a hangover.
When you have a productive weekend, especially on a Sunday, Monday didn't suck nearly as much. Also, perhaps a reason there was ZERO anxiety to be had.
7. I did not have a "GLOW"
I had read a few "Things That Happened when I Stopped Drinking" posts and they almost all mentioned how glowing their skin was. My skin was fine, but it wasn't any different than before. Maybe it is because I've always been a big water drinker - I usually meet my water intake goal by 10am. I thought I'd have this dewy complexion that would appear after a week without booze, but that never came.
8. Blood Pressure Improved
I've had high blood pressure for the past several years. I wrote about when I was first forced on blood pressure medicine HERE. It was shocking to be my age and told I needed blood pressure medicine. Although I'm not ALWAYS religious about working out, I have always been pretty good at sticking to a healthy eating plan during the week. Spoiler: it's the weekends that get me.
Even while on blood pressure medicine, there are times when I go to the doctor and the number still freaks me out. Sometimes 130/90.
Well, on day 21 of 24 of not drinking - I went to the dentist who took my Blood Pressure.
My BP was 117/70. I squealed, I was SO excited about this.
9. No Shakes, No Rapid Heart Beating, No Shortness of Breath
After a night of drinking, the next morning there are MANY times my hands will be shaky, my heart feels like it is going to race right out of my chest and I can't seem to catch my breath.
This was of course non-existent. Again, another reason I didn't have anxiety.
10. I had full control over myself
When I get halfway through that 2nd drink, I start to question the way everything sounds coming out of my mouth.
Did I say that weird?
Can they tell I'm feeling it?
Am I talking too loud at this person right now??
Am I talking TOO much?
Did I just slur that sentence?
As much as I love a craft cocktail, I HATE feeling drunk.
Well, let me rephrase that, I hate thinking that someone else thinks I'm drunk.
I like to think I'm a smart woman, and I think the second you get finished with that second drink you throw all of your education, poise, intelligence out the window when you can't pronounce words correctly or slur everything you're trying to say to someone.
Knowing I was sober and completely put together was downright lovely. I really enjoyed that feeling. I felt very confident because I knew I had my shit together and I knew what was going to come out of my mouth was exactly what I wanted to say, when I wanted to say and and how I wanted to say it.
I also think I'll try and reserve the cocktails for events and weekends only. I don't need a Tuesday night glass of wine while sitting on the couch, I just don't. Sure there will be bad days where a glass of wine is the only remedy, but in an effort to continue to lose weight and save money, cocktails/beer/wine need to be viewed as a treat, not a requirement.
I don't want to bring that anxiety back into my life, and if I am thankful for one thing on this 24 day challenge it's that I've learned the root of my anxiety, and how to get rid of it. That alone made taking, and succeeding, in this challenge a win in my book!
Oh and I lost weight and won my DietBet! Whoop!
P.S. - I'm doing another DietBet again this month. It started today but you have a couple of days to complete your initial weigh-in! Come join me!!