I went alcohol-free for a month, but went back — here’s why

Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

Now more than ever, it seems people are ready to embrace a sober lifestyle.

Where before the idea of a rave meant booze flowing from every orifice, sober raves are now a thing: dance parties that take place entirely alcohol-free.

There are also several awareness months dedicated to the growing sober-curious movement.

Two of the Women’s Health team, copy editor Leigh Champanis-King and managing editor Amy Hopkins, decided to explore sobriety with OcSober, an Australian-founded campaign. In the end, they opted to go back to drinking. Here’s why…

Let’s do alcohol-free! 

“After a few months of over-indulging, my husband, Dan and I decided that we should do a month-long ‘fast’,” says Leigh.

This included all manner of sins: chocolate, eating out at restaurants, and booze. 

“At the end of September, I visited a dietician for the first time and explaining how often I drank during the week was a bit embarrassing.

"After that appointment, I was more than ready to cut it out completely for a bit,” she says.

Amy joined Leigh because she too, felt she was drinking a little too much. “I just felt like I needed to change my habits and help boost my exercise programme,” she says. 

READ MORE: “I Decided To Replace Alcohol With Water And Lost 11 Kilos”

The sober lifestyle

“Alcohol was quite easy for me to give up because while I was having one or two glasses of wine a night, I didn’t crave it,” says Leigh.

Amy agrees. “It was actually easier than I thought it would be – although I didn’t feel any ‘better’ for at least two weeks.”

Amy did notice that she had more energy in the mornings. They decided to use the extra energy to ramp up their workout routine, and opted out of going partying.

“We socialised over brunch and coffee instead, after a group cycle or run,” says Amy.

For Leigh, exercising in the mornings became easier. “My mind was always clear when I woke up and my body stronger,” she says. She also slept better. 

Popping the bottle

Both Leigh and Amy went back to drinking after OcSober.

“We love our wine… and gin and whisky,” says Amy.

For Leigh, the month was always a temporary arrangement. After drinking a few toots on the 1st of November, she slept badly and woke up hungover.

The challenge definitely reframed the way they approach alcohol, and now are more balanced about their drinking. But even so, drinking is a part of their social DNA.

READ MORE: Do You Really Need To Stop Drinking On Antibiotics?

“It’s still fun to have a drink every now and again. And it’s fun to get tipsy every now and again too. As virtuous as catching up with friends over a smoothie is, it’s definitely not the same as catching up over a glass of wine,” says Leigh.  

Want more? Here’s another woman’s account of her month without alcohol, and here are mocktails so good, you won’t even notice it’s booze-free. 

This article was originally published on Women's Health South Africa.

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