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I Gave up Alcohol for 30 Days and I Feel the Best I’ve Ever Felt

December 12, 2023

I attempted Dry January in the past, but I never took any of those attempts very seriously. I would set the intention of giving up alcohol for the entire month, but I always seemed to bend the rules a bit when it came to special events, birthday parties, or any type of gathering where I’d want a drink in hand.

I still felt great during these months because I had significantly reduced my drinking, but it had been a long time since I had experienced the feeling of going a full month without a drop of alcohol at all. So when I decided to participate in Sober October this year, I was absolutely shocked at how amazing I felt.

Sober October is similar to Dry January in that it’s a 30-day challenge of going sober, i.e. avoiding alcohol altogether. While Dry January has more of a focus on starting the new year off right, Sober October is more of a pre-holiday reset.

My motivation for participating in Sober October was both physical and emotional. I moved to New York City about three years ago, and I learned fairly quickly that many activities in this city revolve around drinking. Meeting up for happy hours, dancing with friends, or enjoying wine and movie nights during the winter.

This past summer in particular was one full of fun plans with friends and a lot of social drinking. So by the time September rolled around, I was feeling the effects of alcohol on my mind and body. I felt bloated, tired, sluggish, and my skin wasn’t as clear as it used to be. I was experiencing brain fog on a regular basis and noticed that a night of drinking also seemed to dampen my mood the next day. When I heard a friend mention going sober for 30 days, it felt like the right thing to do to give my body a break.

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How I felt physically after giving up alcohol for 30 days

It didn’t take long at all for me to start feeling less bloated once I gave up drinking. I don’t think I necessarily lost weight or anything like that, but I didn’t feel bloated anymore, and my digestion seemed to really level out. I know I can’t prove that this was because of alcohol necessarily, but I really felt my gut health improving over this month-long period.

After a few weeks of no drinking, I also noticed that I wasn’t as tired or sluggish, which was one of my least favorite things about alcohol. Whenever I would meet up with friends for drinks, I would always have to brace myself for feeling lethargic the next day. And this completely cleared up when I gave up alcohol for a month.
I also noticed that my skin started to clear up, and I had much less redness on my face.

How I felt emotionally after not drinking for a month

Along with feeling the physical benefits of a month without drinking, I also felt some mental and emotional benefits as well.

For one, my brain fog seemed to really improve after a couple of weeks. Similar to my feelings of sluggishness, I was used to experiencing a foggy brain on days after drinking. But once I got used to life without drinking, I noticed I was thinking much more clearly and able to process things faster.

Emotionally, I felt so much lighter and had less of the overall “low” feeling I experienced when I drank. It also helped me to be totally sober at social gatherings because I was able to avoid that next-day panic of “oh no, did I say or do something stupid while I was drinking?”

How I view alcohol now

After my 30 days of not drinking, I did go back to drinking alcohol again, except this time with new eyes and a new sense of balance. I learned that I didn’t need alcohol to have fun at social events, and I felt I needed alcohol, it was probably a sign I didn’t want to be at that event in the first place. I learned that my body feels really energized and alert when I don’t drink the night before and that skipping alcohol can help regulate my mood.

I still drink alcohol when I feel like it or at special events, but I have a much better grasp on approaching drinking with a more balanced mindset. And yes, I’d absolutely do a 30-day cleanse again.

Read next: 5 Alcohol-Free Spirits to Try

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