For this week’s Mental Sunshine, I want to make a suggestion that might make you gulp.
This week’s suggestion is to give up alcohol.
Not necessarily on a permanent basis; just to see how you feel without it.
You see, today marks my 1000th day without alcohol – and I actually can’t say I’ve missed it.
There was no particular reason that triggered this action. I used to enjoy a few drinks, and have suffered from many massive hangovers in my time.
I just decided to stop drinking to see what happened.
And I soon began to notice the difference in myself, so I decided to keep at it.
I think especially in the UK we have something of a drinking culture, where Friday and Saturday nights are for drinking. We drink at Christmas and at New Year and on many other occasions.
And if someone declines a drink, it seems like they need a good excuse – either they’re an alcoholic, or they’re on antibiotics.
For me, it started out as a challenge, 1 month no drinking, 3 months no drinking. Fairly soon I realised this could be something I could do longer term. 6 months past, a year past, 2 years past…
And I don’t miss it – Quite the opposite
As the parent of a teenage girl, it brings me a certain amount of peace of mind to know that I can be available to go out in the car at any time to pick her up – and she knows this too.
As well as this, I can arrange to go for a very early morning swim (one of my favourite weekend activities) knowing I won’t have a hangover.
My head is generally clear, and I sleep very well these days.
And no stale alcohol breath in the morning…
I suppose it comes down to what I value more – a drunken night with an increasingly long hangover (I’m not in my twenties any more!), or waking up in the morning feeling bright and clear and ready to start my day.
As I say, I’m not saying everyone should follow my lead and give up alcohol – but perhaps abstain this weekend, perhaps continue next week and maybe try going without for the next month and see how you feel.
See how you feel waking up and doing something without the need to recover from the night before?
Perhaps your weight will begin to drop without those extra alcohol calories (and the late-night snacking that often goes with it)
Perhaps you’ll realise you don’t need alcohol to have a good time, and you’re actually a pretty fun person without it.
Let me know how you get on.
And if you are not a drinker you could try giving up something else just because you can