No matter what social media platform I was on, I would see thousands of comments praising and thanking alcohol during these dark and unpredictable times.
I had an inbox overloaded with “Zoom Happy Hour” requests from long lost friends, co-workers, and family.
“Hey! It’s been a while. We should catch up over a few beers on Skype?”
“Let’s play a quarantine shots game! Tag all your friends!”
“Join us for a Happy Hour Zoom Call – bring your favorite boozy drink?!
As I entered the second week of quarantine, I had depleted my closet of four wine bottles, and emptied the fridge of three cans of pale ale.
Yes, I polished off all that alcohol by myself.
I’m the only drinker in the house.
I could say all those empty wine bottles and beer cans stemmed from the flurry of social invites and Zoom call parties, but that would be a lie.
Like many others, I started drinking more to cope with the increased stress and anxiety brought on by the current state of our world. I needed an escape.
Alcohol allowed my mind to take a short vacation—a vacation far from it all.
But, it wasn’t long before it got to the point that I no longer wanted to return from the vacation.
My husband was furloughed from his job, my mother in law was staying with us indefinitely, and my work projects were halted.
I had all the societally approved reasons in place to overindulge in alcohol with no questions asked.
So, why stop drinking now?
As Celeste shared her story, her family background, and what made her flip the script, I thought of how eerily similar our narratives were.
The only difference.
I was still drinking.
Related: How to Stay Sane During Quarantine
After the interview, I listened to Celeste’s advice and began a 30-day alcohol experiment to prove to myself that alcohol didn’t have a hold on me.
Those red wine migraines were starting to take their toll on me, too. And, honestly, the hubs wasn’t a fan of the dirty wine glasses next to the kitchen sink every night, either.
While I wouldn’t say I had become an alcoholic, alcoholism does run deep in my bloodline.
I’ve witnessed firsthand how alcohol can affect your mood, career, marriage, and family overall.
I was afraid if I didn’t stop and smell the alcohol remains wafting from the empty bottles, I could quickly end up an alcoholic post-quarantine.
Cutting alcohol cold-turkey during a pandemic was not one of the simplest things I’ve done.
But, it has gotten more manageable with time.
I am no longer counting the days of quarantine, but the days I have been alcohol-free.
As I write this, I have been nearly 50 days sober. Easter was the first time in 15 years that I did not drink a drop of alcohol.
I surprised myself.
I didn’t think I could even make it that far.
To be honest, I almost gave up.
I tried to convince myself that it was a holiday, and one glass wouldn’t hurt.
But, fortunately, the angel, on the other shoulder, told me to simmer down and drink a cup of coffee. And, that was that.
Should you decide to embark on an alcohol-free experiment, I swear many positive effects will take place.
Seven of the major effects I experienced:
- Anxiety reduction
- Increased productivity
- Clearer complexion
- Weight loss
- Fewer migraines (or as I call it, “winegraines”)
- Better, longer-lasting sleep
- More $$$ in the bank
I also found myself feeling less frustrated, more present, and more confident.
I started my 30-day alcohol experiment to reduce my rapidly increasing fondness for wine and beer and to prove something to myself.
I am stronger than alcohol.
I am capable of listening to my body and honoring its needs.
Instead of masking my mind and body with alcohol, I am caring for her better.
I am giving her more rest, healthy nutrients, time outdoors, and much-needed grace.
When this quarantine is over, the only thing I want to have become is a better person.
Choosing to stop drinking alcohol doesn’t make me any better than you, nor does it make me worse off.
I’ll still accept you whether you drink beer, wine, soda, or water.
The only change you can expect from me is that when I jump on that Zoom party call now, it’ll likely be a mocktail I’m sipping on.
And, don’t worry, I’ll save one for you, too.