A Weekend Without Alcohol

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Last weekend I decided to throw away the wine and lock up the beer fridge. Actually it wasn’t that dramatic, but I did decide to have a weekend free from alcohol. I normally drink in moderation and don’t consider alcohol to be a problem in my life (although it was a few years ago). That said, lately I have been drinking more frequently than usual so I wanted to put the brakes on this habit and consider some potential benefits of abstaining from alcohol.

The following is an account of my weekend, followed by my thoughts about the experience.

My Weekend Without Alchol

Friday

5pm: normally I would have a nice, cold, refreshing, delicious beer in my hand at this stage of the week. And there are actually some beers sitting in the fridge just waiting to be drunk. Instead to I go to the gym. So far so good.

7pm: it’s a quiet night at home. I don’t actually feel like drinking now, but I decide to remove the temptation by taking the beers out of the fridge and letting them get warm.

Saturday

5am: this morning I wake early. I spend my first hour awake with one of the funniest books I have read in a long time (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for those who are curious). Then I get writing for this blog. Why do I mention this in an article about alcohol? Well in recent weeks I have not necessarily been drinking large quantities of alcohol, but I have been drinking frequently. And this morning I notice a significant difference between how I feel (great) compared to how I feel the morning after even one or two drinks (ok).

7pm: tonight we are cooking steak for dinner, and my mind automatically drifts to red wine. I resisted purchasing a bottle earlier in the day when I was near a wine store, and at this stage of the night I have no wish to journey outside again (it is raining). The good thing, though, is that my desire for some wine pales in comparison to my desire for something else: food! This is easier than I expected.

Sunday

5pm: tonight I almost give into temptation. We go to a family dinner, and for some reason I am known to enjoy a drink (is it because I am Australian?). I manage to stay strong and decline the offers of red wine. At first people are a little surprised, but it’s no big deal and the night goes well.

Thoughts About My Weekend Without Alcohol

Friday and Saturday nights were surprisingly easy, but for the sake of this experiment I am glad I was tested on Sunday night. At one stage on Sunday night, I did ask myself “why, why why?” I was doing this. As I write this article, though, I can clearly identify the benefits of the experiment.

  1. Monetary: things are a little tight at the moment, so we definitely saved some money by abstaining from alcohol this weekend.
  2. Health and well-being: I noticed that, in general, I felt healthier whilst abstaining from alcohol. Also, substituting the gym for a Friday evening beer worked well.
  3. Productivity: put simply, I got more done this weekend. By avoiding alcohol in the evenings, I avoided the tired feeling I often get from alcohol. And in the mornings my head was noticeably clearer, allowing me to get more writing done, amongst other things.
  4. Social: I noticed that I was more alert on Sunday night whilst interacting with other people.
  5. Self-discipline: it was a good feeling to commit to something, then follow through on it.

All-in-all the weekend went well. I’m certainly not going to give up alcohol, but this experiment was a good reminder about the benefits of drinking less often and, when I do drink, of keeping it in moderation.

Photo by Adrian Pike