Monday, October 29, 2012

Post: 30 day no alcohol challenge

So it's been a little over 30 days since I took on my no alcohol challenge. And now it's time for a post evaluation and some honesty. Honest to blog post. While I'm quite a grump this morning, and a cold is approaching, I've never felt better. Let's break this down.

Allow me to preface this post with the warning that, no, I do not have an alcohol problem. At 27 years old, I am childless, in a healthy committed relationship with a responsible man. Together, we are comfortable, happy, and young. It is so easy, with our lifestyle, income, and age, to spend our discretionary cash going out, enjoying ourselves, and having a good time. Living in Augusta, Georgia, our downtown is very alcohol driven, with 15+ bars in a three block strip of downtown, plus, I'm a bartender part-time.

My favorite photo of my mother and Tom, in an apple orchard in Michigan.
The main reason I wanted to go alcohol free for 30 days, aside from health reasons, and my previous habits, was for my late stepfather. He passed away from an alcohol induced disease a few years ago, and I miss him everyday. He was my second dad, and an amazing person. Well, Tom's birthday was October 1st, and he would have been 60 years old. I know for the rest of my life, that day will always be difficult for me. I wanted to remember and celebrate Tom's birthday without alcohol. The previous two birthdays of his, without him, were numbed by alcohol, and I don't want to do that anymore. He wouldn't be happy to see me celebrating in sadness and drinking. So I've decided every October will be alcohol free in remembrance of Tom.

Mom and Tom's wedding day. About 13 years after they'd been together. Took em long enough ha. He wore his favorite Levi's and a camo shirt. There were only a few of us in attendance and it was perfect.
Starting Tuesday September 25th, I was completely alcohol free for the first 13 days. I bartend part-time  Monday through Friday at a local taproom. Well the second Saturday, Matt and I had had the longest day ever. Working out in the AM, family BBQ all day, worked on Shelby, ran around town, ran errands, and more. We were on our way home, and I was so worn down and in the worst mood. I grumbled at him, "Let's get a bottle of wine and go home and watch a movie." He said, "You sure? Ok." I felt bad knowing that I was breaking my challenge, like I'd be letting Tom and everyone down that knew of my challenge, but sometimes a gal just needs a glass of wine to calm down. My brain is always on overdrive, I'm a workoholic, and I stress out over everything. I just wanted to unwind with a glass of red wine with Matt and head to bed. Crazy little tidbit, that morning at the gym I weighed myself and I had lost 8 pounds in 13 days!

A silly antler thing Tom made, that my mom gave me the last time I was home. I hung it up yesterday as a jewelry display next to my dresser. Not sure if Tom would be happy with my use of his hard work, but I absolutely LOVE IT!
Abstaining for alcohol the next week was no problem. I was seeing the physical results of not drinking. My waist was 26 1/2 inches for the first time in years; well, since Tom passed away and I got scary skinny from grieving, illness, and not eating for a long time. I figured I had lost over 10 pounds. My clothes were fitting so much better, and that layer of fluff all over my body that I didn't even know was there, was gone. I looked leaner and more tone, and I hadn't been working out like I regularly do. It's incredible to realize how fattening alcohol can be, and you never realize until you quit. 

That following Saturday, I had a cocktail at home. Then, I didn't drink the rest of the weekend. Two weeks later I had a few more cocktails with Matt after my trip to Chattanooga for the blogger mixer. Then I went and finished my 30 days just in time for Halloween festivities this past weekend.

And I feel absolutely great. I sleep better. My skin looks better (most people don't realize how much alcohol robs your skin of moisture and causes premature aging), my body is slimmer, my brain quicker. Everything is better! From this point forward, Matt and I have decided to be alcohol free, completely, Monday through Friday. We'll allow ourselves a cocktail or two on weekends. No more liquor in the house. Beer and wine only. Being a football freak, he loves his football and beer time. I miss wine and my favorite, salty dogs (vodka+grapefruit+salted rim).

Overall I think I went down one full size, I lost about 11 pounds, almost 1/2 a cup size, and two inches on my waist! Too bad my feet didn't shrink as well. I'm looking forward to my new version of sobriety and the chance it will give me to have a clearer head, a better business head as well. I can't conquer the fashion world if I'm not giving 200%!

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  1. I think this is a great way to honor your stepdad. He is smiling and watching over you :)

    I don't share this with many people but I don't drink either. Other than New Year's Eve or a VERY special occasion, I alcohol is not part of my life. I gave it up during high school and although I was always made fun of, I liked being myself. In all honesty, I blame my productivity, happiness, and well being on the fact that I don't rely on something/someone other than myself to wind down, relax, or escape.

    I think drinking only on weekends or for an indulgent is completely fine. If we ever have a meet-up, I know what we WON'T be doing :)

  2. Sally, thank you for sharing this part of your life with us and being an honest human. Congratulations on the leaner physique! I love my glasses of wine or cocktails with the girls. Just last night it was late but I cracked open a cold beer anyway. I know I shouldn't be doing this, and lately, maybe inspired by your first post about abstaining, I've been more aware of when too much is too much, or when I just don't need it and can have water instead. Unfortunately, several winos have come into my life recently and we converse over wine while my friend makes delicious food at home...but man, do I feel like crap the next day! Hangovers are the reminders of just how bad alcohol is for you!

    It is so wonderful you have a person like Matt by your side to support you and take this challenge with you! He is truly a mensch!! I wish you both the best, and I must say, that antler piece is awesome and I bet Tom would be honored you are putting it to good use! That is a treasure you can carry with you wherever the world takes you. <3

    Hope you have a wonderful week, and thank you for sharing and inspiring, all the time...

  3. Bravo Sally.... what an excellent tribute to your step dad and health benefit as well.