I have been slacking on posts, but I've been SO busy I'm totally okay with it.
With spring comes some of my favorite things: sitting on porches for happy hour, traveling, and weddings. These are also some of the hardest times to avoid drinking for me!
First: happy hour porch drinking.
I love when the weather starts getting warmer, and sitting outside in the early evening (or sometimes early afternoon) and getting your buzz on is perfectly acceptable. I've realized since I started this challenge that I have a much easier time socializing when I am distracted from the act of drinking.
When we're at a concert, out dancing, or doing some kind of outdoor activity I have no problems. But when we're sitting somewhere and there's nothing else to do besides sit and drink - it can be a little harder.
Luckily my friends are usually pretty awesome at animated conversations.
This month I had my first experience with traveling without booze. I tend to use "I'm on vacation!" as an excuse to make a whole mess of bad decisions - from drinking before noon, to overeating, and spending more money than I need to. I went to NYC to visit my big sister, and it was actually much easier than I thought it would be.
Amber did have a couple of drinks while I was there, but there was never the suggestion of "let's just stop in here for a drink for no reason at all" or anything like that. If we stopped, it was to take in the scenery, grab a bite to eat, or purchase some delicious Brooklyn-made taffy. My lovely sister was more than accommodating with alcoholic-drink-substitutes, like fizzy water with fruit juice (which was delicious).
I only thought about the fact that I wasn't drinking ONCE - when we were out at a bar that not only didn't carry non-alcoholic beer, but didn't even have mixers (they only served beer & wine). I felt left out at the moment, but quickly got over it when I realized I could purchase cranberry juice at the corner store and bring it in. It's amazing how quickly I can get distracted from the fact that I'm not drinking.
This month also marked my first wedding I've ever attended without booze. This was extra difficult because all the booze was FREE. UGH! Water water everywhere... you know?
The bartenders were more than happy to mix me up some mocktails (one guy said "just ask for the Beth, and I'll make you another!") which helped, but I found that the best way to stop thinking about the fact that I was surrounded by endless amounts of free alcohol was... you guessed it. DANCING.
We danced like crazy, I didn't get tired nearly as quickly as I would have with booze, and I didn't have a hangover the next day. Win win win. I think I'm getting the hang of this!
Some things I learned in March / April:
- Dancing is the best distraction EVER from drinking booze. Not only is it easier (sloshing a drink all over everyone is never fun), but my stamina has significantly increased. Since quitting the sauce, I've had some marathon dance sessions - 4 hours each! - both times in heels. And I probably could have kept going!
- I've definitely lost weight. I can't completely credit the lower calorie / sugar intake, as I have been working with my trainer and exercising more regularly in general. I also got rid of my scale, as I'm sick of it running my life - so I'm not sure how much weight I've actually lost. But my clothes are fitting better, and I have more energy. That's all that really matters to me!
- I feel like I've been granted the gift of time. Really, it's just that I can stay out later (because alcohol isn't making me sleepy), while at the same time not have any recovery time in the morning. I may sleep in a little after a late night, but I'm not nursing a hangover. I can just get on with my day, and my life. RAD.
- It's getting easier. With developing any habit, the passing of time just helps this whole thing become less of a thought process, and more automatic.
For money saved (I did add in a little extra for my vacation, as I always spend more on alcohol then), I estimated about $928.00. In other words, I've saved almost $1k in 4 months, JUST BY CUTTING OUT ALCOHOL.* That's pretty amazing.
*I'd like to take a moment to point out (again), that I'm not estimating crazy amounts of money here, guys. I'm talking $5 here, $20 there, a few days a week. If you start tracking it, I bet you'd be surprised how much you spend too!
This month, I missed wine the most. Oh, wine - how I miss washing a meal down with your sweet grapey nectar. But damn, I don't miss your hangover. Youch.
As always, thanks to everyone for the love and support, and every time you've said "we can find you something fun to drink" when we're at a bar. You guys rock.