Well, I made it. I survived for a whole 4 weeks without having a drink. I will continue to update my progress for the next year, sharing my insights, difficulties and failures (if they happen). Please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @moneyandimage if you would like to send me words of encouragement!
So, in the first month what did I learn? To be honest, not a whole lot. This is the reason why I chose to push myself to do this for an entire year. Dry February was a success and although I encountered a few occasions where I was tempted to break the streak, overall it was not much of a stretch for me. I will speak about a few specific times where I felt some pressure and also a few things that kept me motivated and on the path to accomplishing this goal.
The biggest “obstacle” that I encountered was when I went to a big sporting event. I was lucky enough to attend the Syracuse Vs Duke men’s basketball game where they broke the record for attendance on a college campus. (Great atmosphere and a great game to be a part of) This is a time where I would have typically wanted to have a few beers and enjoy my time with friends and fans alike. I even had the advantage to being a part of an alumni event where food and drink were provided. So, what did I do? I had a sparkling water and no one really even noticed. I had talked with my friend on the way to the game about the “challenge” that I was attempting and otherwise, no one really cared that I didn’t have a beer in my hand. While it was an interesting experience for me, no one else was as concerned as I was. Any pressure that I felt to have a drink was all internal pressure that I created. I survived the great game and this was a huge win for me.
The social awkwardness is a real thing. As I suspected, it often is the topic of conversation. The main question? Of course was “why?” I almost have a speech prepared at this point. It feels very rehearsed and prepared, but I have had to give it a few times over the past month and I’m sure it will happen more and more as time passes. The awkwardness, as discussed above, is mostly internal. Ordering a water or tea is a different feeling than ordering a beer with friends. I have tried not to avoid social engagements with friends but I do find myself not going out of my way to not go to the bar since I have started this.
What has helped me? Well, drinking tea or sparkling water has been helpful. I never was a person to drink these items. It was regular tap water or a beer but I find myself wanting to order something different or even be willing to pay extra for it. This will be interesting to track for financial reasons (tea for $2 at a restaurant?!) but it seems to be a way for me to feel a part of the fun. I also have started drinking Kombucha more. Some may argue that this has alcohol in it and that I have already failed my challenge but if they can sell it to minors, I’m not too concerned about it.
Something else small that seems to have helped me was to download a countdown/up app for my phone. It seems like a small thing, but looking at that and seeing the days count up has been more helpful than I ever would have imagined. If you are counting up or down (maybe to retirement) consider this as a small motivational tool that has no cost and requires little effort. There are many out there to choose from. Just find the one that you like best (and is free!).
That was a look into my first month without any alcohol. Follow along as a progress through the next year with monthly updates. The easiest way to know when I post a new blog is to follow on Instagram @moneyandimage or to check the blog weekly for new content.
Ian is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Corrective Exercise Specialist and all around active person. Comment below to ask questions, give feedback or interact with him!