Between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, I decided to tackle my first round of Whole 30. After six months of non-stop visitors and too many nights of shamelessly playing the drunk tour guide, I was ready for a serious detox. When I started reading through the Whole30 naughty list, I quickly began doubting my ability to complete it in full — no alcohol for 30 days. You can take away the cream from my coffee, but no alcohol??? My entire social life was structured around red, red wine, and Miller High Life — how was this going to work?
Okay, let me first start by saying that going booze-less really wasn’t that bad — I just like being a little dramatic. In all honesty, I was not only surprised by all the physical benefits of giving up alcohol, but also by the different ways I was able to reinvest my time (and money).
Seize the day
It’s kind of crazy how much of a timesuck hangovers are. I could have 3 drinks or 13, and I still felt the same level of shit the next day. Mornings had an entirely different meaning when I wasn’t out late drinking and I took full advantage of feeling fresh. When you’re not drinking the night away, you have more time to do the following:
1. Go after those workouts. All that sweating won’t just be going toward removing the hops and sulfites from your body, you will actually be able to reap the full benefits of a work-out.
2. Meet the locals. Farmers’ Markets and town festivals may be seasonal depending on where you live, however, they are almost always shut down by early afternoon. Take advantage of them!
3. Tour your own city. I am extremely guilty of missing out on my city’s best-known treasures. Weekends are a great time to check out local museums, historic landmarks, walking or bike tours, parks, etc.
4. Volunteer. There are tons of traditional volunteer options available. Ones like Community Bucket (based in Atlanta) are geared toward young professionals and give volunteering events more of a social focus. Win-win for the community and you.
When the Lights Go Down
When I had to avoid the default “go out for cocktails” game plan, I did this instead:
1. Catch a flick.
Remember when you were 15 and the movie theater was THE spot to go to on a Friday night? Movie popcorn might actually be better than alcohol.
2. Go shopping (no, like leave the couch).
Ever been to Walmart on a Saturday night? When was the last time you went to the mall? Bring back the lost art of “going shopping” and hit up an Auntie Anne’s while you’re at it.
3. Host with the most.
Invite friends over for a good, old-fashioned night-in. Cooking dinner or facilitating a game night is a great way to spend q-time with friends and not have to compete with a set of speakers.
When will you have the perfect excuse to stay in like this again? Throw on that robe and curl up on the couch with a book. Being unapologetically anti-social can feel so good.
If none of these alternatives sound appealing, going to the bar for a sober night out works, too! The biggest lesson from my alcohol-free month was that I could still have fulfilling plans without drinking as much or as often. I had become so reliant on using it as a vehicle for socializing that I rarely explored activities that didn’t involve drinking. Now, I try to incorporate more moderation into my recreational plans. As much as I love a heavy pour, I sure do like waking up feeling like a spring chicken.
Ashley and Chloe are Nashville-based bloggers and the creators of Brunch Speak. While working together at their 9-5 job, they realized they would much rather spend their recreational time focusing on what matters MOST to them — inspiring others to live an authentic life. Their main goal is to share relatable experiences that enable personal growth and development. At Brunch Speak, they are committed to “keeping it real” and providing a few laughs along the way. To participate in the conversation where nothing is off the table, visit Ashley and Chloe at their website or on Instagram and Twitter.
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