Alcohol: It’s EVERYWHERE!
Alcohol is a huge part of our culture. It fuels college tailgating events and frat parties, corporate events without booze are unheard of, and a girls’ trip without cocktails could barely be labeled as such. My decision to quit drinking did not come easy.
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100 Days Alcohol-Free: The Beginning
The choice to quit drinking was years in the making. Like, seventeen of them.
Though I’ve had a series of incredibly rough times due to drinking too much, when I quit, my relationship with alcohol was the best it had ever been.
My family and finances were in-tact.
I was in good physical and mental health.
My future was exceptionally bright.
Moderating my alcohol intake was going well, and I even grew confident that I was no longer a problem drinker!
So why quit drinking if my drinking wasn’t out of control?
It Wasn’t THAT Bad At The Time…
It wasn’t a five-day hangover or a missed day of work that motivated me to quit drinking.
I hadn’t embarrassed myself or forgotten the happenings of the night before.
In fact, it was one 5-ounce serving of wine that pushed me over the edge.
My husband had taken the baby to his mom’s for the evening.
I curled up with a good book and a glass of wine.
“Me-time” was in full effect.
By the time that glass was empty, however, I realized that I just wasn’t happy.
My head began to hurt and I grew fatigued for no reason.
I looked at the bottle, then at my glass, then at the bottle again.
Simone Biles herself couldn’t compete with the mental gymnastics going on in that brain of mine.
“I probably feel so crappy because I haven’t had enough! Maybe I should run out and grab another before the store closes. Nobody would know if I don’t tell…”
That single glass of wine, the physical weirdness that ensued and all the mental chatter that followed led me to one simple solution.
I’d go 100 days alcohol-free and see how I felt.
100 Days Sober: The Early Days Were Awkward
It was odd in the beginning.
It shocked my husband since our anniversary, the holidays, and a lengthy vacation were right around the corner.
Drinking had always been a big part of all these events.
It was difficult to imagine celebrating without it.
I didn’t tell many other than my husband.
Having “quit” several times before only to relapse in spectacular fashion, I was afraid of failure.
The shame of answering a concerned “I thought you weren’t drinking anymore?” was one I knew far too well. So, I chose to commit in silence to break that cycle of criticism.
A few times I felt a bit frustrated without that “special something” that formerly accompanied all manners of emotions and experiences…
Happy to have made it to the weekend? Let’s grab a bottle!
Dinner at any restaurant, fancy or not? May I please see the drink menu, sir?
Upset because the terrible-twos came a year earlier than expected? Time for a little mommy juice to unwind!
Without my trusty shots… or wine… or favorite flavored malt beverage, the volume of life seemed turned all the way down.
I Survived Sobriety!
But you know what? I did it! I survived 100 days of sobriety!
While it hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine, I never caved.
I handled it like the boss chick I am!
19 Benefits Of Going 100 Days No Alcohol
And that brings me to today where I’m super excited to share with you 19 things that happened when I went 100 days without alcohol!
1. I don’t mind driving as much
This may seem trivial, but in a densely populated metropolis like LA, traffic can drive a person mad.
Really, really mad.
Up until now, I would do almost anything to avoid driving!
My aversion to driving was so deeply ingrained in my personality that people would reconsider inviting me to things.
You can imagine how shocking it was to not mind driving once I chose to try 100 days of sobriety.
I still don’t love driving, but no longer will I opt out of attending events just because they are during rush hour.
Looking on the bright side, I now appreciate the time to myself to organize my thoughts, listen to audiobooks, or bump Bodak Yellow on repeat in private (hey, don’t judge me)!
Developing a less agitated personality is a huge win!
2. My social life drastically improved
Perhaps related to #1, my social life has MUCH improved since trying 100 days without alcohol.
I’m expanding my social circle and am following through with social commitments much better than before.
Very early in my sobriety experiment, I thought it would be cool to meet others who were sober too.
I found a meetup group for non-drinkers, and even attended a holiday party an hour away!
This was way out of my comfort zone, but I had a great time and met some pleasant people with great personalities and interesting stories to share.
Removing alcohol meant meeting new people and strengthening bonds with those I already knew.
3. My sense of self-control skyrocketed
Even though I began experiencing amazing benefits shortly after starting my 100 days sober experiment, I’d be lying if I said the cravings are gone. The temptation is still a thing.
UPDATE: At 11 months sober the corner turned. Zero cravings. Sobriety is EASY!
I have my good days and my bad days, but every time I feel tempted and stay strong in my resolve, my sense of self-control increases.
I feel damn good about making a promise to myself and sticking with it.
And the confidence that comes with this is bananas!
Feeling like you can finally get in front of something after struggling with it for so many years is empowering.
[bctt tweet=”Self-control is a muscle — staying sober even when you want a drink makes that muscle strong, and this helps in other areas of your life. ” username=”soberalley”]
4. I look younger
Though I’ve always skewed on the younger side (good genes, got em’!), I can’t escape comments about how young I look.
For example, on my recent family vacation, I was carrying my son down the hallway at our hotel.
A woman remarked, “oh, girl, I understand… how old are you”? “35”, I said. “Omg! You look really, really young, like 18!”
Not that looking like a teenager is necessarily ideal, but being told you look younger than your years is never a bad thing, right?
Coming from a town where Botox, brow lifts and boob jobs are par for the course, it’s refreshing to turn back the hands of time just by taking better care of myself.
Yay for 100 days alcohol-free!
5. I dress better
When I was drinking while at the office, I’d do the bare minimum to make sure I looked the part.
Since shifting to working at home 8 months ago, I’ve seen little reason to doll up.
Hangover recovery only ever made that worse, as you can imagine.
I was the yoga pants mom who’d run to the store wearing whatever, because who cares?
Now, I put a little more effort into my appearance. And it just feels good!
I won’t run errands in stilettos or anything, but I’ll lounge around in cute pajamas or wear flowing maxi dresses around town. I enjoy feeling a bit prettier and more feminine.
Cutting alcohol from my life gave me more energy to focus on my outward appearance — even when I don’t have to.
6. I saved a ton of money
One of the best 100 days sober benefits is the money I’ve saved!
I can estimate at least $500/month between bottles purchased multiple times weekly, overpriced restaurant beverages, and occasional trips to the local bar.
My husband still drinks, but since I’ve quit he drinks much less too, which further adds to the savings.
That money makes a noticeable impact resting in my bank account at the end of the month.
7. I’m making better food choices
Anybody who knows me knows I love to put away some food.
Much of the time if I haven’t been drinking, I can make halfway decent choices.
But my food choices are always absolute trash the days after imbibing.
Since I quit drinking I can’t say my diet has been perfect, but I do have more control over my eating habits.
I don’t have to go to IHOP Sunday morning, for example. I can have oatmeal and keep it pushing.
8. My sex life is off the charts
Okay, at the risk of TMI, I just want to say things are super good in the sex department!
In the beginning, this was one of my biggest challenges.
Most of the time sex came after alcohol consumption — it was just the way things went.
Removing alcohol also made me acutely aware of how sexually inhibited I really was, and that really affected my sex drive.
Over time, though, things fell into a rhythm and sex actually got better than before.
I was more present, more direct about what I wanted, and *bonus points*… I always remembered it the next day!
Pretty sad that I can’t say that I’ve always remembered sexual encounters the next day.
More on that in a later post.
9. I remember more of what I see on television
This is probably the most trivial benefit of 100 days of sobriety, but it still counts as a win in my book!
So, so many times I’ve had to watch episodes of my favorite shows or movies three times or more to remember what happened.
Like, for real.
Watching TV while drunk is so pointless!
I could literally watch something then forget what happened immediately, as the next scene played out.
Most times I’d remember that I watched something and re-watching it later to fill in the details would suffice.
Other times, I’d forget that it was ever on in the first place.
Like, zero recollection.
These days I remember everything in great detail!
I’m even re-watching old shows that I’ve seen before like Breaking Bad and am shocked at so many details that I formerly missed!
My queue of “things to watch” is hella long now, and I’ll probably never make it through everything even if I try.
10. I have way more energy
The amount of energy I have now that I’ve gone 100 days no alcohol is bananas!
I can recall a few specific instances clear as day that felt impossible, and like, reasonably impossible too.
One time my cousin invited me to a charity walk for breast cancer that began at 7 am an hour drive away.
I was sober then and gladly accepted the invite.
Of course, I drank pretty heavily the night before the event, woke up at 5:30 am, begrudgingly showed up, and was a boring, agitated, slow-walking mess the entire time.
Now, this probably doesn’t sound that bad.
I get it, most people would probably find the idea of waking up at 5:30 am to first drive for an hour and then walk for miles grossly unappealing.
But I’m actually an early bird.
And I love outdoor activity.
During my recent vacation, I’d sneak out of our cruise cabin at 6 am while my husband and son were asleep, go on the top deck with a cup of coffee and enjoy sailing across the ocean.
Other days I’d use those early hours to jog a mile or two in the fitness center.
Sober Allie is no stranger to either waking up super early or engaging in physical activity at the crack of dawn.
Alcohol kinda took that energetic, early riser, go-getter attitude and smothered it.
I’m so glad to have that energetic part of myself back since I quit drinking.
11. My expression of gratitude heightened
When just starting out with sobriety, I recommend keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings.
I had two.
At least once a day usually first thing in the morning, I’d write 5 things I was grateful for, and whatever other positive thoughts or feelings I could imagine or hold.
Over time, I began to write more and more in this journal, and less in the other.
To date, I write multiple times in my gratitude journal and it only serves to enhance the overwhelmingly positive thoughts and feelings I have.
Even on bad days, I can find so much to be grateful for.
I would never have started this practice without choosing to go 100 days sober from alcohol.
Is it a coincidence that a hefty percentage of what I’m grateful for is directly related to staying sober?
12. I have so much more free time
Even though quitting my job meant more extra time in the day (no traffic, not having to get dressed up all the time) while drinking it was still never enough.
The laundry, the dishes, doctor’s appointments and phone calls… getting to the gym, running errands… there was never, ever enough time for it all!
I didn’t realize before just how much time was wasted behind drinking and in some very innocuous ways.
It wasn’t just having to recover from hangovers that did it, I came to find.
It was spent sloppily walking to CVS to grab a bottle after I’d run out because I was too drunk to drive.
Or time spent combing through emails or texts to confirm or deny whether I had something to apologize for.
Since going 100 days without alcohol, this time is now spent elsewhere.
Now everything gets done with enough time to enjoy the steam room after my workouts.
13. I get way better sleep
I used to think the deep sleep that comes after boozing was amazing.
The sleep I get now is supreme.
Maybe I sound a tad boring, but I’m rarely awake past 10 or 11 pm, and I enjoy it!
Being an early riser, falling asleep quickly and deeply without substances is like gold, and I’ve seen a steady increase in mood and productivity as a result.
14. I began to find alcohol-based events boring
Where hubby and I used to hang out at the local bar from time to time, now the idea is completely unappealing.
Some of this made me a little sad and fearful at first.
I felt like I was losing something special about my relationship.
But I was wrong!
Since I quit drinking, a whole new set of fun activities to enjoy together alone and with our toddler have emerged.
For example, we recently went to a trampoline park during a standard bar-time and wound up jumping together with the baby for an hour, and it was so much fun! Even more fun than bar days of old, I can honestly say.
I will say that I’m glad hubby and I had those past experiences.
They are fully out of my system.
One of the best 100 days sober benefits is I now strongly prefer this new way of spending time and don’t want to look back.
15. I made more authentic connections with others
As an introvert, I listen far more than I speak.
I also try to assess what I think others might want to hear and often go along with that to fit in.
Alcohol used to be my crutch.
In social situations where I felt out-of-place, I’d drink to numb my insecurities.
To make myself more likable — or so I’d hoped.
These days I really only attend events where I’m comfortable.
I feel cozy in my skin and am way more authentic when I interact with others.
I want people to know me.
This feels honest and good.
It motivated me to write a deeply personal, authentic blog.
That courage was lost on me before.
Update: Meet some of my new sober friends!
16. I had zero lazy Sundays
One consistent part of my life was always the Lazy Sunday.
It was not unusual to accumulate less than 1,000 steps on such a day.
This may not sound too bad, but I didn’t like it!
Since going 100 days without alcohol, I spend much more time moving around.
Even if I feel super chill, I’ll still take a quick walk to the park to play with my toddler or something.
Because cabin fever.
This has the added benefit of getting to enjoy more of the good part of living in LA, like the insanely good weather!
17. I lost some weight
I’m still far from my goal weight, but I’ve noticed that even when I’m not perfect with diet and exercise, I still seem to be shrinking!
Though I know I should do way better with tracking my food and staying in the gym, my loss of progress is much slower.
When I was drinking, slipping off for 5 days or so would take 2 weeks to recover from.
Now after 100 days sober, I seem to have a smaller baseline, even after a few weeks of falling off the wagon.
18. My thinking improved
Compared to how I feel now, I was walking around in a constant haze before going 100 days sober.
I’m not even talking about hangover recovery.
It’s like there was a base level of computational skill, and it was nowhere near as clear and fast as it is now.
I write faster, I’m more creative with my language, and process information far more quickly.
A small example is calculating percentage tips at restaurants.
Nothing super major, but I kinda like being a bit quicker on the uptake in many situations.
19. I found my passion and my voice
I wanted to try blogging some time ago but never had much success.
Drinking is totally why.
About a month after I quit drinking, I started a weight loss blog.
I did so-so with that, but there were two huge takeaways.
a) It takes lots of creativity to come up with blog posts, site design, graphic images, and social media management. It was impossible for me to pull this together under alcohol’s influence.
b) One random post about quitting drinking on that blog received a great response and motivated me to start this one.
Quitting alcohol not only gave me the time, freedom and creativity to start a new project.
But it also clued me into the idea that I’m not alone out there and that’s what I need to be writing about.
I started drinking eighteen years ago, and have struggled with the substance for every last one of them.
Through sharing my story, I’ve found my voice.
More Than 100 Days Without Alcohol
At the end of this 100 days sober experiment, I did as I said I would.
I thought really hard about what to do next. And I decided to quit drinking for good.
Though it’s still very early on my path to sobriety, the benefits are too great to ignore.
And frankly, I’m just too damn tired.
I’m tired of missed opportunities, lost time and fuzzy memories.
I’m over pounding headaches, canceled plans, and silly arguments.
Gone is my tolerance for embarrassing moments, broken promises and sleepless nights.
[bctt tweet=”My hunger for a fairy tale life is greater than my thirst for the drink.” username=”soberalley”]
If you’re curious about what you can expect once you quit drinking, I hope this article gave you some inspiration and motivation.
You’ll never know what beautiful things are in store for you until you give it a shot.
Want Help Tracking Your Alcohol Intake?
This set of sobriety calendars will help you take control over your alcohol intake. You get 12 calendars to last you a whole year, and each has a unique, feminine design, an uplifting quote and space for goals and notes. All you do is mark “dry” on dry days and “X” for sober days. It’s a great way to help you stay on track! Click here or enter your details in the form below to check them out! 🙂