Read how a Sober Spring Challenge became a Game Changer for Kai!
Improving my Lifestyle sans Alcohol
A little background first. Getting older (I turned 50 lately), I’m gradually improving my lifestyle: more time off to relax, more sports (well, activity at least), healthier food. Overall, I lost most of the extra weight gained over the last decades.
Somehow, my drinking habits were becoming out of phase! Alcohol is poison to the liver and thus the fat burning doesn’t properly happen as long as the alcohol is in the way. And starting weekends cranky and with a hangover, made less and less sense.
On the other hand, I also realised, that over the years I was increasing ever so slightly the number of glasses per week. And a good dinner without some wine?
I didn’t label myself as alcoholic, but I still felt that I drank more than I should. So, for months I paid attention to how much I drank and decided to simply moderate my alcohol intake… Lesson learned: I’m not good at moderating. Even worse, once my healthy weekly habits were in place, my first glass of wine Friday evening turned into, “OK, I was brave on food, now it’s cheat day and I definitely deserve another glass… and another… and another…”
For a while, I spent 5 days without any drink, simply to binge most Fridays and Saturdays… and then have again 5 days filled with remorse – telling myself, “Next weekend, I’ll have only one glass.”
I was ready for a change and joined the Tribe Sober 66-Days Spring Challenge (fun fact: in my time zone, it was beginning of autumn!)
The first Friday, my wife took out a bottle of wine… and I had to confess that I was doing a 66-day sober challenge. She didn’t understand, asking why I didn’t simply have one glass and stop (like she usually does). Rough start, but my two children were supportive.
So, here are my 7 personal observations after a little over 10 months without a drop of alcohol:
- Being accountable to myself + to a group was really helpful in the beginning. Willpower wears out, the 66-Day Challenge WhatsApp Group made me accountable not only to myself, but also to like-minded people (and I’m competitive, « achieving the challenge » was a good trigger).
- I never felt that I have a real problem with alcohol… until I stopped for 66 days. Harder than I thought! I love to understand stuff, so I read all the recommended books and listened to podcasts. Alcohol (or better, sobriety) became an unexpectedly big topic on my mind. And I observed how people drink everywhere (and also in every movie). Friends and family were not supportive, so exchange with the Tribe Sober community was really helpful.
- I decided for myself that the sober challenge would not affect my social life. So I regularly served wine to my wife, went out to pubs with colleagues and discovered the pleasure of alcohol-free beer (and alcohol-free wine, but definitely much less a pleasure!) Over time, alcohol-free drinks turned to coconut water and then mostly to simple water.
- After 66 days, I discussed with my family and all agreed that I should go to 100 sober days… After 100 days, my wife told me to moderate while my 13 years old daughter simply said: “A real challenge is to do one full sober year.” She knows me quite well.
- With time, my story changed. First I told everyone (and myself), I did a fun challenge to prove a point. After 100 days, I started to say that I simply like my sober life. Now, at a little over 10 months, I started to tell everyone (and myself!) that I will probably stay sober for much longer. I don’t need alcohol to be happy and I’ve lost the taste for it.
- My social life is still excellent, even if I leave parties earlier than before. Double reason: I am simply tired at some point + at some stage, people get intoxicated and less interesting when you’re sober. So why not simply leave?
- I now speak openly about my happy sober life and many friends and colleagues ask about my “secret” for looking younger and healthy. I have chosen to be sober for myself and don’t judge people who want to drink. Still, I observe that on many occasions, my friends drink less when I’m present and tell me my happy sobriety inspires them to moderate. And most important: my wife now fully supports my choice. She still enjoys her occasional glass of white wine or beer, but even her previously moderate alcohol consumption has drastically gone down.
Will I Ever Drink a Glass Again?
I don’t know yet. On rare occasions, I like the idea of a glass of wine (for example, on the first evening of my first sober summer vacation). The previous year, I had some wine to celebrate the beginning of vacation and my brain was still wired that way. But every day, I’m creating many new sober habits and already on the second day of vacation, wine was not on my mind during dinner anymore.
In essence, the 66-day challenge was the start of a journey that is making sober my new normal!