I Haven’t Had a Drink in Over 3 Months — This Is How I’m Feeling
I haven’t drunk alcohol for 3.5 months now, and, as you can imagine, I’ve gotten a lot of questions. Totally understandable — I used to ask people I knew had stopped drinking questions too.
To make it easier for myself, and because I personally found stories of what had happened in people’s lives since they stopped drinking interesting, I thought I’d answer all those questions here. Now, instead of having to parrot the same answers, I’ll simply direct people to this piece.
Also, I have to credit this idea to my friend who tried ayahuasca in South America. She’s not even a journalist, but was getting so many questions about the experience, she wrote a Medium post about it, which she’d send anyone who asked about it.
So, below are the questions I’ve even been asked when I tell people I’m not drinking and their answers. And, because I don’t think this question deserves a full paragraph answer, simply a word, I’ll answer right now: no, I’m not pregnant.
Why Are You Doing It?
I’ll start with a question with an answer that’ll let me give some background on the situation. I wrote a piece that explains why I’m not drinking in detail, which you can read here: I Quit Drinking for Two Months, and the Only Downside Is I Can’t Shut Up About It, but in case you don’t want to read it (rude), I’ll give you the TL;DR of it.
After probably a decade of toying with the idea of quitting drinking even just for a month, I woke up this New Year’s Day with a hangover so bad that I decided I really had to try to commit to stopping, even just for a month.
It wasn’t just that the hangover was bad — it was also that my friend had been visiting me and wanting to spend time with me, and I’d spent the entire day in bed, barely able to move. I’ve had a few people tell me, “Yeah, but it’s New Year’s — everyone’s hungover” when I tell them. Yes, but I don’t want to live wasting away days for the sake of nights I don’t remember anyway.
How Do I Feel?
This was probably what I was most curious about when I heard someone wasn’t drinking before I started. Even now, I’ll regularly scroll through #sobertok on TikTok, watching people share about how their lives have changed since they gave up drinking.
I honestly feel amazing. Full disclosure: I went on anti-depressants (for anxiety) around October last year, so that might have to do with how I feel. The added chemicals to my brain might also be why I was even able to last this long without drinking in the first place. Because from not being able to last a month to now going 3.5 months without — that’s a big jump.
So I don’t know whether I can credit how amazing I feel every morning when I wake up to the anti-depressants or give up alcohol, but whichever it is, I want to keep up both. Without hangovers and all-day sleep-ins, my weekends last so long. I’m so productive, too. In fact, I’m typing this on a Friday night. After clocking off from work, I did a hair mask, vacuumed my apartment, did laundry and listened to a podcast as I cooked dinner.
I also feel like I’m tapping into a creative part of my brain that I haven’t used since I was a kid. I’m using all my extra weekend hours to plan events with friends (we kayaked to Shark Island in Sydney one day and are doing lawn bowls tomorrow), film TikToks and spruce up my space with fresh flowers and rearranged décor. I work in a creative space – I’m a writer and editor — and have found I’m now never stumped with how to start a story. The words just flow.
Finally, I feel like my mind is constantly switched on. I feel like I’ve been having better conversations with people because I’m always alert, as opposed to being foggy in my thinking. I feel proud of how I’m presenting myself to the world.
Has It Been Hard?
I honestly can’t believe I’ve lasted 3.5 months without drinking. I’m so surprised at how easy it’s been. Though, I have to say that it could be because of my age. I’m 35 so many of my friends don’t go out to bars for no special occasions anymore. I used to a lot even just last year, so it could be that I’m not seeking that out anymore.
I do find that when I’m at a dinner with friends or a media event with people drinking, I do want to go home sooner. After a few hours, I find myself looking at people’s drinks to see how far they have to go to finish them and hoping they don’t get another. I don’t see this as a negative because, in my eyes, nothing ever good happens late at night anyway. And I always feel as if I’ve probably caught up with someone.
How Long Will I Do It For?
Finally, the answer I’m asked again and again is, ‘How long will I continue to not drink?’. The answer is that I’ll keep going until I feel the benefits of picking it back up outweigh those of stopping. Which I don’t see happening anytime soon. But ‘forever’ is a long time to commit to, and, let’s be honest, overwhelming to think about, so I won’t say I’m stopping drinking for the rest of my life. I’m simply taking it day by day, and constantly checking in to how I’m feeling. And for now, that’s pretty damn good.