235 Days Without Alcohol


I haven’t had a drink since New Year’s Eve. Since 2015. It’s August 22, 2016. That’s 235 days. I have some friends who say they couldn’t go that long without a drink. Some friends shrug their shoulders and admit that they could give it up. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a drinking problem. Due to some health issues, it’s just something that I can’t have right now. I’m not against it but I don’t miss it. Here are some bulleted thoughts on what it’s like to not drink for 235 days:

  • You start to enjoy other beverages. Things like nitro cold brew coffee or La Croix or just plain water.
  • You enjoy your food a bit more. When you aren’t sharing the spotlight with a cocktail, you really taste your food differently.
  • It’s hard(er) to be social. It’s not that I can’t handle not drinking. It’s just not as fun to constantly be ordering tiny club sodas with lime over and over and over while everyone else gets tipsy.
  • Because socializing is harder, you end up doing all the things you always wanted to do. Things like, painting for 100 days straight or reading books or enjoying your own patio.
  • You lose weight! I’ve heard this from various people who gave up drinking. I can’t really speak to this specifically because I’ve also cut down on sugar/carbs/dairy but I know there’s truth there!
  • You face your stress and anxiety head on. The habit of picking up a bottle of wine because you had a tough day suddenly isn’t an option. You have to realize why you stress drink or eat or binge. It’s tough but it’s good.
  • The challenge? Finding my community in other places!

Have you ever abstained from anything intentionally? What did you learn?

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Comments (15)

  • Allie, I’m not really a drinker – I like a nice whiskey every now and then but it’s never something I crave but I have friends who literally can’t go a week without a drink (yet swear they don’t have a problem >.>) so I really want to applaud you for taking the initiative.

    As for me, due to some health issues my mom had to give up coke/soda/etc back when I was in highschool and when she did, I did too just as a show a solidarity and only within the last 2 or so years have I started drinking it (diet/zero calorie only), and honestly? Without caffeine (I don’t drink coffee or tea or anything like that in it’s place) I tend to be more focused, it’s easier for me to get through the day + I usually don’t hit any sort of ‘hump’ or anything. I’m working on getting back to being without it and just drinking a bunch of water, but it’s a craving an addiction for a reason, so it’s going slow – but I’ll get there :D

    • I do miss whiskey and bourbon. I was never into really sweet drinks. And I totally relate to the caffeine thing! I’m off caffeine again (except occasional, well-sourced decaf) and I feel way better! I need to dress up my flat water drinking with lemons/limes this week to make it a bit more exciting :)

  • I honestly think it’s so cool when someone quits drinking or smoking! But unless it’s a health-related issue, I think I’ll stick to my drinks (hate cigarettes, though). I’m really weak for alcohol, so I only drink on special occasions. And even if I wanted to, I can’t drink more than 2 or 3 cups – of anything! I start getting really sleepy…

    • I used to smoke cigarettes (it almost makes me laugh thinking about that!) and it’s gross. I was never a huge drinker to begin with but it is interesting to think about how we use it. And I’m with you – I can’t even drink a whole glass of wine without feeling tipsy haha!

  • It’s definitely harder to be out with people who are drinking. Like you said, it’s just not super fun to hang out with people who are getting the spins. So I find myself just opting out of those situations. Which isn’t bad.

    • The spins. I love that. Yes I am constantly avoiding “drinking on the patio or happy hour” and am left doing something else on my own or with Adam. On the plus side, most of my friends are pregnant so we kind of like doing the same stuff together now!

  • Hi Allie – I’d also like to add money savings to the list! My boyfriend and I go to a certain restaurant in our neighborhood that breaks down food to alcohol costs on the receipts. I’m not sure why, but whenever we get our receipt and the food total is less than the beers we order…it really makes you think.

    Thanks for this post!

    • Very true!! I haven’t really eaten out at all this year due to my diet but I remember our restaurant bills doubling due to drinks!

  • September 29th will be 11 years for me (my wife, too). Wasn’t a big drinker anyway, but you’re right, your activities and circle of friends both tend to shift a bit. What we noticed wasn’t so much that being around people drinking bothered either of us, it was that being around us seemed to bother THEM! We suspected (still do) that the ones it really bothers feel convicted in some way, like they know they should probably give it up, but won’t for whatever reason.

    I’m not anti-drinking. I have many friends who enjoy it, and enjoy it responsibly. I do find it extremely sad, though, that so many people feel like if alcohol isn’t involved you can’t possibly have a good time.

    I’m glad you posted this. Don’t be surprised if it becomes one of the most popular posts on your blog. I wrote a similar article on my blog about 4 years ago. It’s had well over 100,000 views, and continues to reach thousands of people every month…far more than any other post I’ve ever written.

  • I totally feel this too! I’m not a huge drinker, but I did like my Jack Daniels and tequila every now and then. Still, given my Candida issues as well, I’ve been forced to give it up. And given my new diet, I’ve really been unable to eat out, so saving money with not buying drinks or food out at a restaurant is huge for me! I’ve also begun to really enjoy being more introspective and tapping into my creative side, playing guitar, writing, and being inspired through books and songs. I think not having alcohol has definitely deepened my relationship with myself, allowing me to get to know more about what makes me happy instead of going out where I tend to get anxious, nervous, and not very like me at all.

    • I salute you for being able to drink tequila. It totally messes me up in every way. And I love your insight! That is so true. I’ve started to like ME instead of just trying to be social and meet others’ expectations. Good luck on the diet, Brooke!!

  • Let’s see…I stopped drinking about 14 years ago, just altogether, and very quickly it turned into where it felt like a BIG DEAL to have one again. And the thing is, at the time, I didn’t really think about it as an all or nothing deal — I just felt like I’d be better off without it. I didn’t realize what a big deal it would be to even casual acquaintances that I didn’t drink. Like: They *really* wanted to figure out why anyone would make such a strange choice. I’ve noticed this with other stuff, too — someone not eating carbs or sugar or whatever — how it becomes an uncomfortable thing for the people around them, and a lot of times people want you to be more moderate. It’s made me more aware of hopefully not doing that to others. :)

    P.S. I found your blog via your interview with Elise Gets Crafty, and I just love it!

    • That is SO true. I can definitely just stop doing something very quickly without a lot of thought. I stopped drinking soda/pop very abruptly but never really made a big announcement or even thought about stopping. With my dietary restrictions and not drinking, I can definitely tell it makes people get defensive and I just don’t get it! I’m totally content!

      Thanks re: podcast – that was one of my favorites I’ve been on!

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