I publish this article as I celebrate my 5 weeks alcohol-free. It may not seem like much to you. But if you are used to drinking alcohol regularly, ask yourself: how long has it been since you went 30 days in a row without drinking alcohol? at all ?
Why did I quit alcohol?
“You weren’t drinking that much!” I am often told. Well, yes, for sure, when I see friends, I drink 5-6 glasses on a Friday evening. So yes, when a friend sees me “I don’t drink that much”. But on the week I’m at 10-15 glasses ! No alcohol Monday through Wednesday night, shall we say.
Every week. For years. Rarely less. Often more, during holidays with friends, or with family… In short, I drink too much alcohol. Since I was 17-20 years old, I drink on weekends and holidays in large quantities. So I have practice.
And I tried to decrease: I can’t.
Drinking just a drink or two at a dinner party with friends, I can’t do it. As an aperitif: 2 glasses of rosé and with dinner, 3 glasses of easy wine. Then more if the evening lengthens.
With my husband we like wine. We drink a lot. We are generous, we always open several bottles for dinner when we receive at home. It’s part of us, it’s our pleasure. We don’t like it when waiters at weddings ration wine at the tables by putting 3 sinkers to serve the guests. There must always be wine at the table! At will!
So no, I’m not the alcoholic on duty who ends up dead drunk every night. I hold the alcohol. I don’t look defeated at the 6th – 7th glass. I go home, I take off my make-up, I put the children to bed, I go to bed. And the next day: yes I have a bit of a headache, a bit of this feeling of being muddy. But it is okay. Except that for 2 – 3 years, and in particular following the confinement of the Covid where we had drunk even more every evening, I began to realize that I always drink a lot.
In short, I was fed up with alcohol.
So at the end of December 2022 I told myself that I would try the Dry January 2023, but without really believing it. Because I never managed to make a Dry January in full. Each time it’s 7-10 days max! And again… And this year, it didn’t fail.
I drank practically every night in December after my swimming test in Morocco. Because lots of parties, occasions, evenings too where I wanted to have a little drink during dinner or while preparing the meal with the children next door…
January 1: no drinking. January 2 either. On January 3, to celebrate the day of the new school year: with my husband we finished the 3rd bottle of Marche – a sublime Italian wine – which we had not finished on the 1st of the year with our friends. And it was I who offered these glasses… And the weekend that followed we had friends over for dinner and we drank a lot to celebrate our friendship!!
And so fire the dry January, clearly. On Sunday 8, when I had skipped my running training because “too tired”: I decided to stop drinking. Really. I downloaded the I am Sober app. I recorded facecam videos that I quickly published on Instagram to directly put me an obligation of result.
Talk about, it advances.
I felt the need for support of my community. Because my social media community is not a band of followers / haters who constantly admire me. It is a welded world women (and men) who have the same life as me. Women who work, who have children or want to have them, women who want to succeed in everything in life. The job, the spouse, the children, the body, the house, the passions. Brief. We understand each other, we know what we are going through. And what we live: it’s hard. It’s good and it’s hard. Both at the same time.
So I wanted to tell them. Because they have seen me progress too. In my work, in my life as a mother, in my vegetarian diet, in stopping smoking… I still had this last scale of health that I couldn’t manage to unlock. An unbreakable link for me. A friendly, festive aspect, which – as they say – “makes me human and makes them feel guilty”.
except alcohol it’s insidious. We don’t realize it. But many, many women drink more than they should.
10 doses of alcohol per week: it’s starting to be risky drinking.
10 glasses. It goes quickly. And it’s true that drinking for a woman is seen as a strength.
In any case, that’s how I felt I understood the world. Or that’s how I felt like I made a difference.
Attention, I do not necessarily want to convince you to do like me, that everyone stops drinking. I’m talking about my story, my experience. And if no one understands, it doesn’t matter, it does me good to tell all this in writing.
The benefits of quitting alcohol
So it’s been a month. And the effects are incredible. I didn’t expect to feel so many benefits.
The first thing that jumped out at me was this feeling of clarity of mind, lucidity during the evenings and especially at the end. That is, the conversations were clear to me, I was more connected with people, less in a feeling of collapse and fatigue as the evening progressed. I was the same person at the beginning and end of the evening. It had never happened to me I believe. Except pregnant!
The 2nd thing: it is the radical increase of my patience. Patience with my children especially. Really. In the evening, I am much more with them, less in avoidance, less in the permanent annoyance of their cries, requests, solicitations, small disobediences…
I totally feel that. And this from the first 3 days. And it’s true that in the end when you drink 1 or 2 glasses while the children are nearby: we are less with them. We have our drink, they don’t. We have this need to change our emotions, they don’t. We quickly enter into a gap in fact. Which does not improve the situation at all, on the contrary.
By pretending to relax, these 2 evening drinks cut from the essential and the simplicity of the relationship.
The 3rd thing: it’s that I have much, much, much less body aches. But it’s crazy. I did not expect this effect at all. Before, my life was a permanent stiffness. All the time full of aches. Monday to Sunday and again.
In 1 month, I had to have 2 times aches, quite moderate.
While I train thoroughly, especially in swimming and muscle building. It’s’huge surprise for once. And it makes me want to explore this subject even more.
Sorry for this super long blog post. Besides, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything personal on this blog. You like ? You read ? Is it too long? Tell me, because my goal is to be read and to take you you too on this path.
And after ?
The following ? I don’t know. I would really like to achieve 50 days without alcohol. And then we’ll see. Drink 1 or 2 glasses when it’s really worth it, when the wine is really good, when I’m really going to appreciate it for what it is. Why not.
A bit like the relationship I have with pastries, for example. I love good cakes. But I only eat it very rarely, when really I know it’s going to be very good and that it’s worth it, that it’s really homemade. Otherwise a “chocolate fondant” thawed in the microwave quickly in the local brasserie: I pass my turn, no interest.
I would like to have this relationship there with alcohol, finally. 1 or 2 glasses when it’s really worth it.
For the taste. For the real pleasure. And not to change his emotions, not to change my state, not to show others that I hold on better than everyone else, not for the competition of who is less torn the next day.
A last word, to all the young mothers who drink alcohol because it’s a bit hard at night when you get home. To all the guys who are in a hurry: drink 1 or 2 beers when they get home from work. To all the women who think drinking a lot is cool and fashionable. To those who think that those around them expect them to drink to be appreciated. Anyone who drinks more than 10-15 glasses of alcohol per week. You can decide to quit.
Good luck, I’m thinking of you.