Lessons from an Alcohol Sabbatical

What started out as an experiment for a few weeks to see if my overall health would improve turned into a three month alcohol sabbatical. And, boy, did I learn more than I expected. Buckle up as I take you down a list of all the things that IMPROVED in my life by giving up alcohol for three months.

Sleep

Something I learned from a health coach many years ago is to stop drinking at least 2 hours before you plan on going to sleep to not totally ruin your quality of sleep. I stand by that method when I do choose to drink. But, what I can say, is that my sleep is still disturbed and not nearly as deep on nights I have alcohol. And, it doesn’t matter if it’s one glass of wine or the whole bottle (we aren’t judging here). I wake up FAR more rested and recovered when I abstain altogether.

Energy

It goes hand-in-hand with the sleep, but my energy levels for the next day (or 2 if I’m being honest) are higher, more productive, and level throughout the day compared to when I drink the night prior. Blame it on age or blame it on alcohol, but my energy levels tank the day after I drink and usually trickle over into the day after that too. It’s such a disappointment each time when I am trying to keep up with the demands of life and a lower energy than I am used to. And no, more coffee did not help!

Mental Clarity

All of these improvements build off each other if you haven’t noticed. It was a ripple effect that was unexpected but impossible to ignore. When I slept well and therefore woke up with more energy, I found my brain to work better overall. Less losing my patience, less adult temper tantrums (remember, no judgment!), and less brain fog. AND, with the absence of all of that, I noticed my thoughts were clearer, sharper, and much easier to articulate when I needed to be “on”.

Less Cravings

While we’re talking about mental clarity, know what else was better when I didn’t drink? The poor eating choices I would make both WHILE drinking and even more the day or two after drinking. I noticed that my overall nutritional intake was lacking if I drank the night before and therefore was more sluggish and tired because I was fueling a craving instead of my overall wellness. Nothing wrong with indulging, but I want to do it when I’m clear headed enough to decide that for myself, not because the post-alcohol me is making the decision.

Exercise

I am slugggggggish at the gym if I drink the night before. This was not new information to me, but what really solidified it for me when I consistently showed up to the gym for three months and never felt that post-drinking grogginess. I was stronger and had more stamina than I had in a couple of years and I can only attribute it to the consistency of not drinking.

Confidence

It’s no secret that I am pretty competitive against myself, and so this alcohol sabbatical that I took was equal parts curiosity and equal parts wanting to prove to myself that I could do it. I am a born and raise South Louisiana girl and alcohol is just simply a way of life. It’s not (well sometimes it is) a bad thing, it’s just the culture. I’ve found there to be a lot of similarities here in Houston And, to be able to show up to events and gatherings or have a tough day and not turn to alcohol to *help* the situation really showed me that I can show up as my authentic self and not need to want to turn to alcohol. And also, no one cared. Not one time did anyone vocally care that I was not drinking. To my surprise, I was met with more curiosity and encouragement from people than I expected.

Post alcohol-sabbatical, I still enjoy a cocktail and a glass of wine on occasion, but it’s easier to pick and choose those moments than ever before. Cheers!

 

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Becca Vidrine
Becca is a small-town {and likely barefoot} Louisiana girl who’s journey to Texas was unexpected to say the least. After getting her Masters in Social Work from LSU, she spent a few years working in mental health before she found her true social work love in hospice care. Not long after getting hitched to the best guy she knows, Becca and her husband welcomed their full of life red headed son {2018} and they now refer to themselves as “the big 3”! Fast forward to early 2021 when Becca was diagnosed with something that changed their lives forever and so, they picked up and headed west. What was supposed to be a short time in Houston for these small-town folks turned into a big city romance, a mortgage, some unexpected friendships, and a few opportunities to grow. Some might say Becca tends to err on the side of sarcasm and stubbornness. But those same people would also say that Becca is brave and compassionate. She’s a straight shooter, a little bit crunchy, and a lover of all things love. When she’s not building forts or playing pretend, you can find Becca roaming the isles at the grocery store, cooking for hours, or snuggled up with a good book. Follow her journey on Instagram at @thisblissfulpursuit.

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