If you’re in the UK right now you may have signed up for something called The Dryathlon. The idea is that you don’t drink alcohol for the whole of January – and you get sponsored for it. It’s a great idea – although I do admit that most of the liver specialists I’ve spoken to would rather we just gave up alcohol two-three days a week, every week than take a month off and go back to drinking every day afterwards, but I’m not going to be a Grinch. Anyone who completes the challenge deserves a prize in my book.
Now, one of the first posts I ever did on this blog was after my own month of non drinking – in fact, I did 46 days until the wine fairy came calling, so in an attempt to hopefully impart wisdom, and keep anyone wavering on the wagon this first weekend of the challenge, here’s that post again…..hopefully it’ll help.
Those of you who have spent any time in Australia may have heard of OcSober; if not, the idea is that you give up all alcohol for October. They also have FebFast and Dry July (I’m not sure why they need so many either). I’m two weeks in and it’s not going badly. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far.
1) Anything drunk from a wine glass is relaxing. I’ve realized it’s actually the ritual of lifting the glass that I associate with the end of the day chill out not what’s in it. Coconut water was a shock though as it looks so winey. Tastebuds expecting Pinot Grigio, getting Pina Colada = complete mindfart.
2) The Allen Carr anti-smoking people also work with alcohol and sent me their book Easy Way to Control Alcohol. It’s a bit heavy going, but I did pick up on one tip that’s really kept me focused which was. If you could go the pub and talk to your friends but not drink booze– or, drink alcohol but not talk to anyone which would you choose? Umm, I’m thinking if I chose the second rehab is in my future. Thankfully I didn’t. But it has made me realize I go out to see people or get out of the house, what’s in my glass doesn’t matter.
3) But saying that…..I’ve also realized half the time I order wine I do it because I don’t want fizzy water or diet coke and couldn’t think of anything else. Now I’m having to take my time at the bar (apologies to the staff at the White Horse) I’ve found all sorts of exciting alternatives. Grapefruit and soda, pomegranate and soda, elderflower cordial. Non-alcoholic cocktails are also my new friend: I can firmly recommend the Elderflower Collins at Jamie Oliver’s Barbacoa inLondon.
4) Giving up drinking does not mean automatic weight loss. This one I’m not thrilled by as I was sure it would fall off – although that might have something to do with the coconut water, red grape juice, and Elderflower Cordial!
If these tips helped you out, you might want to know that I’ve actually written a book on how to quit drinking for a month – and it’s full of even more useful advice. Click on the cover below to go to its page on amazon.
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