I started drinking alcohol when I was about 13 years old.
My friends and I would track down some teenager with a fake ID to pick us up a six-pack of Max Ice, and then weâ€™d split it three ways. We were cool like that. Later weâ€™d join a bunch of other pre-teens at â€œThe Pitâ€ (literally, a sand pit) or someoneâ€™s cabin (literally, a shack) and then proceed to get silly.
This carried on well into high school and then university and then my 20s and then HELLO 30s!
There are a lot of problems in those statements, yes. Agreed. I grew up in an incredibly rural town and there wasnâ€™t much else to do other than drink. And so now itâ€™s become a habit to drink at least once or twice a week.
I love alcohol. I love trying new beers and cracking open a cold one on a hot summerâ€™s day. I like letting loose and having fun and knocking down social barriers that would force me to be a recluse otherwise. I LOVE drinking a glass of wine on a bench overlooking the Mediterranean or at a sidewalk table at a cafÃ© somewhere in Europe. I appreciate the care in which brewers and connoisseurs hone their craft. I think alcohol can enhance your lifestyle without necessarily negatively impacting it.
Lately, though, my recovery time takes much longer than it ever did (durr, Iâ€™m old as shit), and I often carry it with me throughout the week. I sleep very little and my head is cloudy. Iâ€™ve been wanting to try a month booze-free for awhile, but the timing has never really been right.
Except for February.
Because what the shit happens in February? Iâ€™ll tell you what. Nothing. Valentineâ€™s Day? Plz.
Plus itâ€™s only 28 days.
Anyway, I made this decision personally before I discovered that the Canadian Cancer Society had a special Dry Feb fundraiser. But I knew that putting my name behind a cause and fundraising for something would hold me even more accountable, and so I signed up to do it.
When I pull this off, it will be the longest Iâ€™ve ever gone without alcohol since I was a teenager. Thatâ€™s about 20 years ago.
Other than raising money, I am sincerely curious with what 28 days alcohol-free will do to my body, my sleep, my productivity, and my wellbeing. Not to mention my wallet. Iâ€™ve been meticulously tracking every little expenditure I make in a budget spreadsheet to see where my cash goes for the past few years now (it’s how I helped get myself out of $17,000 in debt). Hereâ€™s how January looked.
ISNâ€™T THAT SICK?!!!!! If I could cut that even in half, thatâ€™s HUGE.
I mean, Iâ€™m only three days in and last night I had a full eight hours of sleep â€“ the first time in months (Iâ€™ve been living with some pretty awful nerve pain). Today I woke up, read my book, went to brunch with some friends, had my best run yet, packed a few things, chatted with my parents, finished an article, did some work, planned my workweek, and started this blog post.
Itâ€™s going to be hard. Drinking has become such an impulse for everything from bad days to celebrations. At my boot camp on Friday, I received a notification that my mortgage was approved â€“ when the other girls found out, one of them offered to get me a bottle of champagne from their car. â€œYou have to celebrate!â€ they all said. It was incredibly sweet and I likely would have cracked if it wasnâ€™t for the fact itâ€™s all for a fundraiser. So, thanks for that, Canadian Cancer Society.
Last night I decided I needed some social activity, so I joined my friend Kayla at the Gypsy Tea Room. That row of taps at the bar begged me to pour a pint, but I settled on a mocktail while Kayla got a glass of wine, and you know what? I had a blast. That social buzz was all I needed.
For now. God.
Er, yeah, you did read about the mortgage bit. Iâ€™ll write about that in the coming weeks but letâ€™s just say as it turns out I picked HELL OF A MONTH to be sober. Like, the biggest month of my life. Oh boy.
I’m no hero here, but I would LOVE for you to donate! We’re all impacted by cancer. Proceeds from Dry Feb will benefit the Canadian Cancer Society to fund game-changing research and compassionate support services such as help getting to and from life-saving treatment appointments or wigs for women who have undergone cancer treatment. Everything helps.