Re-set Your Body and Mind by Going Alcohol-Free for 30 Days
This is not one of those blog posts you read where someone has an immense life-changing moment after quitting alcohol for 30 days. To be honest, I did not feel much different at all and I felt a bit gypped initially. Surely not having wine with dinner every night and fancy cocktails on the weekend would impact me in some way?? The truth is, it did but I did not recognize any real changes until after the thirty days were over and I re-introduced alcohol back into my routine. The relationship that improved the most was my personal relationship with alcohol, as well as habit recognition and accepting that if you really want to heal, reset and detox the body, ya have to say “bye bye booze” … (temporarily).
Yes, even those who live, breath and sleep nutrition and wellness can enjoy their wine. I have always had a strong fondness for hand-crafted cocktails and white wine in particular. I enjoy a drink with dinner, nights out with friends and just about every other social setting there is that typically always includes alcohol. I’m that girl that plays bartender for my friends and finds a creative art in new hand-crafted cocktail concoctions. Because alcohol is so socially accepted and a part of many cultures, I never questioned a wine with dinner much. But due to my commitment to my health and to healing body imbalances, I decided I needed to give my body some more rest and relaxation. I chose to do this by going 30 days alcohol free with a friend. I get that this should not be hard and that is why I wanted to do it – because I expected it to be really hard (it wasn’t FYI).
There are many programs available to assist people with quitting alcohol for 30 days, offering a support system, words of motivation, etc. I opted to save the money and get my support from doing this with a friend, which does help. I decided to approach this as a health experiment and document my morning temperature every day, and also weight, sleep and productivity.
I’m not going to list any of the stats in this blog because it’s not all that interesting and I’d rather get to the point. Whatever your reasons for quitting, limiting, taking a break, etc. from alcohol, it is something you will benefit from. Maybe you are wanting to improve your health, detox your body or are up for the challenge. It’s not forever (unless you want it to be) and it will ONLY do good things for you, your mind and body. Below are some of the benefits you might notice.
We Are Creatures of Habit
We are creatures of habit, but once we understand our habits we can change them. During my 30-day detox sans alcohol, I noticed it had become a habit for me to pour a glass of wine after work or while making dinner. Why? The usual reason most people would give; It relaxes me, it was a long day, etc. I noticed it had become a habit when I made a choice to not have any for 30 days. It was a little annoying at first but quickly passed. I realized the art of replacing a "bad" habit with a good one is replacing it with something that mimics and responds to the same emotion you are trying to feed. Ex: A glass of wine after work relaxes me. So does a glass of kombucha or tea. I may even have poured that kombucha into a wine glass to look like wine…whatever works and mimics the habit but in a positive way your brain will respond to and finds rewarding. This can work with most habits and not only do you want to replace the habit with one that serves you better with a more positive reward, you should also recognize what emotion/behavior the habit is feeding ie: boredom, anger, procrastination, excitement, etc. This will create a more mindful approach when you incorporate both the physical and mental approach to kicking a bad habit.
We All Need a Detox
Let's be honest: Most of us have long-term exposure to immunity-draining toxins including pesticides, heavy metals, environmental pollutants, chemicals and more recently electric magnetic fields (EMF) from cell phone towers and other electrical sources. These toxins can lead to chronic diseases, immune system dysfunction, behavioral changes, and they are stored in the tissues and cells of our bodies. Our amazing machine of a body does have a detox system in place, but in the world, we live in today it's often pushed too hard and can't keep up…especially the liver!
The liver is one of the largest organs in the body and is responsible for cleaning and filtering the bloodstream. A properly working liver filters bacteria, chemicals, parasites, pesticides, and other toxins, keeping them from going into the bloodstream and to the rest of your body. Muy Importante!
Most of the alcohol people drink is metabolized in the liver and regardless of how much you consume, the body is only capable of breaking down and metabolizing a certain amount every hour. This amount varies based on the individual, their age, sex, weight etc., and when you exceed this amount and it's taxing on your liver and other organs that are already at hard work eliminating other toxins in your body. Giving this vital organ a nice break from alcohol every so often will not only help it do its job more efficiently and repair itself, this will also lower your glucose levels, your cholesterol and potentially help you drop a few pounds. Bottom line, you can't fully detox with alcohol in your system.
There are Now 25 Hours in the Day!
So that's not technically true, but it really feels this way when you eliminate alcohol for 30 days. Your social life can take a hit initially opening up much more free time for you to do you. I felt like I had much more free time to address items on my priority list that I had otherwise been avoiding. In reality, I had much more energy and my focus and concentration seemed to improve without alcohol. I did not notice this during the 30 days, but I noticed this after I re-introduced drinks back in. We all know that feeling of waking up the next day after a few drinks and just not feeling in a "Hello world!" kind of mood. This could be directly correlated to the fact that alcohol affects your sleep in a negative way, contrary to the belief that a drink will help you sleep better. It blocks deep REM sleep which is the restorative sleep we need and leads to extra bathroom trips.
Side note: I did dream far more often during those 30 days
OK, also not technically true, but I did save an estimated $280 in one month by avoiding wine at the house and weekend dinners with expensive handcrafted cocktails and bottles of wine. That is an estimated $3,600 a year…crikey. Most of the time we do not realize the amount of money we are spending on nights out until you remove it and re-introduce it. Money can be a stressor for many and those looking to save some moola might want to consider foregoing alcohol as it does add up - a lot.
In summary, taking 30 days off booze was absolutely worth it! I did not grow wings or feel like a superhero but by bringing the drinks back in after 30 days, I was able to see more clearly the impact alcohol has on my body in subtle and not so subtle ways. I still enjoy my wine but with a stronger awareness of my habits - and isn't awareness the key element in so many facets of life?
For anyone wanting to save a buck, detox and give their body some R & R you only have benefits to gain and weight to lose.