Updated: Jun 27, 2020
It's February and Dry January is officially over, 31 days of no alcohol has been more of a breeze than a challenge. Earlier in January we covered some of the benefits you could experience by participating in going dry for the month. Now the challenge is over its is time to see if any of those benefits were experienced.
A brief history on my relationship with alcohol, these days as I’m creeping closer towards 30, I barely drink. To go back to my youth, I certainly indulged in alcohol and did not know my limit in my late teens and early 20’s. Long gone are the days where I would finish work on Friday, and just party, sometimes for a few days with a quick sleep and be ready to start the week hangover free on a Monday. The older I get the more bored I get of drinking, on a weekly basis I usually drink 2 beers on a Friday night. There is the odd occasion where I will indulge more than intended for events like birthdays, Christmas, however the hangover leaves me bed bound like a rotten avocado.
Its worth noting that every person will experience different benefits from not drinking alcohol, below are the experiences that I personally felt over the 31 days.
1. Better sleep.
I’m hit and miss when it comes to sleep, sometimes I can sleep soundly for 9 hours with no interruptions, other times I’m a mess barely reaching a few solid hours. Since I gave up drinking my sleep pattern certainly improved a lot, I was getting better more solid sleep just after a few days of no alcohol. I was not struggling to fall asleep nor stay asleep during the night, only on a couple of nights did I wake early.
2. More energy.
Monday mornings were certainly not a struggle during the challenge, with better sleep came more energy. I found myself not needing extra coffee during the day and certainly no coffee after midday which had become a new habit. I found myself not needing to force myself to exercise after work, it became more natural.
3. Healthier skin.
This was by far one of the big changes I noticed during Dry January. Although I’m not concerned about my appearance, over the years I’ve started to notice a few extra lines creeping on my forehead. During the month I noticed my skin had more life to it and those wrinkles had faded slightly.
4. More money.
This really didn’t affect me much as on average I spent $7 on alcohol a week, had I gone out weekly and spent $100 plus in a bar, I would have saved more money.
5. Liver function improves.
Tough one to measure really as I’m not sure how pickled my liver was before going dry. I will say that internally things just felt normal, long gone were those aches and apple juice style urine after having a heavy night on the booze.
6. Improvement in mental health.
Hangovers use to play a massive part on my mental health, they left me feeling low and ashamed of anything I may have said or done the night before in my earlier 20’s. Although I do not experience that anymore, it was reassuring to know that I was waking up fresh faced and ready to start the day. It is worth noticing that I certainly felt more clearer mentally and my focus had improved, slightly.
7. Achievement and new understanding towards alcohol.
It's awesome knowing I’ve started 2019 on the right foot and gained some form of achievement. Although I do not feel the need to never drink again, I feel that perhaps my attitude towards alcohol has changed. As stated earlier alcohol can get boring for me personally if I’m indulging more than usual, the challenge allowed me to use my extra time wisely rather than focus on alcohol and alcohol only.
Overall, I felt like Dry January was very much needed and a realization that I don’t need alcohol as much as I think I do. It took a very hungover new years day to accept the challenge and commit to 31 days alcohol free. If you missed out or caved in during January don’t beat yourself up as there is always sober September, as for me, I’m off pub.