7 things I learned from one year without alcohol

7 things I learned from one year without alcohol

Posted on Posted in Blog, Health & Lifestyle

On January 1, 2015 we set ourselves a goal. It was a big one.

Give up alcohol for a year.

A whole year. 365 days with not a drop. Not a sip. At the time it seemed like a crazy, big, audacious goal and boy did it get a reaction from people when we decided to do it (more about that later).

Today is January 1, 2016 and I am super proud to report that we DID achieve our goal. We’ve just completed a whole 12 months with no alcohol whatsoever. No cheating, no sips of beer here and there. A whole year with NO BOOZE!

It’s a weird feeling to be honest. Not drinking feels so normal now. Apparently it takes 120 days to create a new habit so I guess it’s safe to say that after 365 days with no booze in our life that this new habit is here to stay.

Or is it?

One of the questions we’ve been asked over and over the past month or so is “So…are you going to drink again?!”

The answer? We’re not sure.

Right now I have no strong feelings one-way or the other. What I do know is that I’ve learned a shitload about myself over this past year so if it’s cool with you, I’d like to share a few of those lessons with you.

Now we’re no experts, this is just stuff that we’ve learned over the past year. I’ve managed to break it down into 7 things I learned from one year without alcohol.

I hope you can take some of the experiences we’ve had and apply it to your life somehow. Even if you have no desire to give up the booze, there are a few things that apply to lots of different aspects of life so fingers crossed they can help you in some way, shape or form!

 

READ NEXT: READY TO MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE TO YOUR HEALTH

 


#1 You can still have fun sober

This may come as a shock to some of you. I know it definitely did for me!

Being a self confessed boozehound for most of my adult life, the thought of going sober to a party  seemed like a totally alien concept and quite frankly, totally boring! Think about it. Every single social function usually revolves around booze.

Pre-gaming at home, champagne and canapés on arrival to a swish party, the free bar at a wedding…I loved all of these things.

When we first quit alcohol I was a bit wary of going out. Would I be able to have fun? Would my friends still want to hang out with me if I was sober?

What I discovered as a non-drinker was that the earlier in the evening you go out, the better experience you’ll have. You can have a laugh with everyone and get amongst the festivities before everything gets too messy.

The quality of conversation inevitably deteriorates as the night goes on. Guaranteed there will be a fair amount of repetition or unnecessary shouting in your ear as the alcohol consumption increases so be sure to leave before witching hour commences.

Which brings me on to lesson number two…


#2 Drunk people can be really annoying

Yep, it’s true. When you’re stone cold sober you are exposed to the ugly side of alcohol consumption.

There’s a point in the evening, usually one or two hours in, when the drunk switch gets flicked on and everyone is suddenly hammered in an instant. The slurring starts, the volume goes up a few decibels and things get real messy real quick.

Now don’t get me wrong, I would usually be the messiest by far when I was drinking, no doubt about that. I can back up with the best of them and have been know to drink grown men under the table…and have a lot of fun doing it.

When you’re sober though, it’s not much fun being around drunk peeps. Especially when people start getting on their soapbox and tell you how boring you are for not drinking or, even worse, trying to force alcohol on you. Not cool.

Nobody likes peer pressure so if you’re that person who’s always trying to get the designated driver or the person on antibiotics to have a few, STOP IT. It makes you look like a dick.

Our advice when hanging out at the pub sober is to know when to call it a night. You can easily sneak out without anyone noticing or remembering, we’ve managed to get this down to a fine art over the past year!

You’ll also want to avoid the bitter sober people who are only sober because they have no choice. These tend to be pregnant women or designated drivers. You can spot their sulky scowls a mile off so give them a wide birth (pardon the pun!) if you don’t want to have you ear chewed off about how they wish they were drunk and how crap it is being sober.


#3 There are other non drinkers out there

There’s a saying that rings true with this life change and lots of others too; environment is stronger than willpower.

When we made the decision to give up alcohol one of the things we wanted to do was make some sober friends we could hang out with. And we have made some amazing friends this year! This has been one of the absolute best things about our year without alcohol.

In fact, one of the best parties we went to this year was a friend’s birthday where not a single one of the guests was drinking. The quality of conversation was amazing! We couldn’t believe what a good night it was. Who knew being sober could have so many advantages.

When you surround yourself with people who ‘get it’ and cheer you on, you’re so much more likely to succeed. One of the catalysts for our decision to quit the grog was discovering the organisation Hello Sunday Morning.

Thanks to Chris and the HSM crew we were able to plug into a community of like-minded peeps, all kicking the booze for different reasons. It helped us so much in the early months of our journey when things were feeling tough.

Check out hellosundaymorning.org for more info.


#4 People won’t always understand your decision

This was a hard pill to swallow when we first gave up alcohol. Some people just don’t get it, and they’re often the people that are closest to you.

It can be very confronting for people to learn that you don’t drink. They’ll want to argue the toss with you and prove to you that drinking is a healthy part of life and that everyone should be doing it. I believe that choice is one of the biggest privileges in life. Having choice in life is something not everyone has and I intend to use mine to experience as many things as possible.

When we made this choice, it was for us. We didn’t do this to make anyone feel bad about their own choices and we certainly didn’t know that it would make us the target of ridicule or bad feeling! The reality is, that if you do something different to what everyone else is doing, it’s going to get you some attention. Not all of it good.

We were very open and shared our decision with the world on our blog, mainly to hold ourselves accountable. We never rammed it down people’s throats or tried to persuade them to give up too.

So why is it ok for people who choose drink to question our decision? Maybe it’s society’s conditioning or perhaps its ego playing its part. It could also be the fact that people feel really uncomfortable knowing that you’ll remember every single thing that happens on a night out…including their drunken antics.

The next morning when ‘the fear’ kicks in for them, all they’ll be thinking about is how you saw and heard everything they did when they were drunk. Meanwhile what they did while drunk isn’t something we’re even thinking about!

Whatever the reason, people’s negative reactions were one of the most challenging things about giving up.


#5 Life without hangovers is totally awesome

After experiencing 52 whole weeks without a single hangover we’ve come to the conclusion that this has to be one of the best things about not drinking.

Our productivity has gone through the roof and there’s been no wasted weekends lying next to the toilet after a massive bender.

Instead we’ve been able to fill our extra time with awesome travel adventures like our road trip around the South Island of New Zealand. Two weeks there felt like two months because we weren’t drinking. We could get up early and hit the road instead of having to wait for the hangover to ease off before we were safely under the limit to drive.

If you find yourself suffering from hangovers every week, why not have a few weeks off and see how you feel. Your weekends will feel so much longer and your health will probably improve too! Which leads me to my next lesson…


#6 Getting fit and healthy is SO much easier

I’d heard this from numerous personal trainers over the years but had never really given it much thought. Mainly because I liked drinking too much and didn’t want to stop. I was happy to do crazy diets to try and lose some weight but give up booze?! NO WAY!

Only since giving up for a year have I really seen the health benefits of a life without alcohol. NOW I totally get what all those PTs were trying to tell me!

With no boozy weekends to throw us off track we’ve been able to really commit to getting fit and healthy and the results are pretty astounding. Think about it. When you make the decision to eat right and exercise it’s usually smooth sailing. Then the weekend rolls around and you fall off the wagon, drink your body weight in booze and stuff your face with cheeseburgers at 3am.

When you wake up on Sunday morning feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus, the last thing you want is to go for a run or drink a green smoothie. You want to eat pizza and chips, watch Netflix and hibernate under the doona feeling sorry for yourself. Well at least that’s what I when I have the hangover from hell…and trust me I’ve had many in my time.

Even a short break from drinking can have dramatic health benefits. Just one month off the booze has been proven to increase concentration, improve sleep and boost performance at work and in the gym. Not only that but it’s so much easier to lose those few sticky kilos that just won’t budge. Winning.

If you want a bit of a kick-start in the New Year, you can join our group cleanse for 30 days! We kick these off regularly so if you want to give it a go (and give your liver a rest!), then head on over to fithealthyhappy.com.au where you’ll find all the details about how to get started with your new healthy lifestyle.

You can also check out our post on how to set (and stick to!) New Years resolutions.


#7 You save a tonne of cash

Drinking can be exy, especially here in Sydney. A cocktail will set you back at least $20 and even a few beers can leave you with a $100 dent in your wallet. When you don’t drink, going out suddenly gets super cheap. We’ve been shocked by how much money we’ve been able to save simply by cutting out alcohol.

We notice this most when going out for dinner with friends. Their bill including booze is usually heaps more than ours. When you don’t drink you can go to the fanciest restaurants in town and as long as you don’t smash the wine list you can walk away with a bill that’s less than fifty bucks!

People tell us all the time about how they can’t afford to travel due to lack of cash. Well here’s an idea, have a few months off the booze – problem solved!

You’ll feel pretty awesome in your bikini too!

Want more help with budgeting and saving money for your next trip? Download your FREE Kick Ass Travel Budget Calculator!


Will we go back?

Ahh, the question everyone has been asking us.

Honestly? At this point we have no plans to go back to our old habits. That may change and we’ll remain open minded but right now we’re super happy with how things are.

After one year off the booze it’s safe to say we’ve learned a lot. About ourselves, about other people and society in general. I feel so glad that we made the decision at the start of 2015. We’ve never once looked back and wished we hadn’t committed to it.

 

READ NEXT: READY TO MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE TO YOUR HEALTH

 

As well as all the awesome benefits we’ve experienced, a bunch of you have got in touch with us and told us how we inspired you to make a change and do the same for yourselves. That’s been the coolest thing by far!

We hope that our experience gives you a little bit of an insight into a life without alcohol and, if nothing else, helps you to respect the decisions of others even if they are different to your own.

Got a story about quitting booze? Or going vegetarian? We’ve done both so we’d love to hear about your experiences! Comment below…

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Thanks for reading our blog! If you like what we do, connect with us on Instagram and follow our traveling adventures!

Victoria
Born in the USA. Raised in England. Relocated to Australia 6 years ago. You could say that she’s a bit of a world citizen.
With a degree in Brand Promotion & Journalism, Victoria loves the written word and as such is our resident writer. One of her fave things to do anytime of day is to enjoy a good breakfast accompanied by an equally good coffee.

Vic loves a good road trip where she can rock out to good tunes (and some not so good, ahem, Taylor Swift fan alert!). She’s a demon on the squash court and loves to scuba dive. One of her dreams is to cage dive with great white sharks…way outside her comfort zone! She loves to travel and has lived in five countries. Her plan is to add a few more to the list.

102 thoughts on “7 things I learned from one year without alcohol

  1. I’m so glad I read this today. After a life of drinking I’ve decided to be alcohol free for the next 12 months. Your blog has just imputed me and reconfirmed my decision. So thank you

      1. Thank you ! I tried AA amongst other things..but reading this made me actually feel great and helped me to settle into my decision to stop drinking after 20 years of boozing and smoking pot.. I was a top level athlete until my life spun out of control.. Quitting that crazy way of life, of living in a green and amber fog, has helped me to be happy again, maybe even happier than I was before I lost myself. Of all the articles and blogs I have read on the Net, this one is my favorite. It highlights everything sobriety can bring to our lives without feeling anxious about what we fear leaving behind. Very positive vibes from you, thanks again for sharing your experience !

  2. Thanks for sharing Vic! I’m 6 months into my sober life and have experienced much the same. I also wanted a change & am loving the benefits. HSM is a great resource.
    ; )

    1. Thanks for reading Catherine! HSM is totally amazing, love it. Keep going, this is a journey and us non-drinkers have to stick together and support one another. 🙂

  3. Hi this is a great achievement and so relevant to me right now! My husband and I quit drinking three months ago and I went to my first sober nye party last night in 20 years and loved it. The first two months were really hard and I would have caved without the support of my wonderful husband, but the last month I have embraced it and noticed all the changes you have and I also am not sure if I will drink again; I just know that I’m not bothered if I don’t!!
    The best thing about it is I have entered 2016 with such a positive strong mindset and feel that if I could do this (because oh how I love(d) wine, I can do anything I put my mind to.. .
    Well done you guys and happy new year. I’m so glad your post ended up on my FB feed today!!

    1. Doing it together as a couple is so great! Congrats you guys! You’re definitely past the toughest part, the first three months were challenging. After that it was smooth sailing and gets easier and easier! Keep it up. 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for posting this article. I have been battling with the decision to not drink for a year and I think you have give me the inspiration I needed. I reached 6mths on the 24/12 and it has been on my mind ever since. Making it though New Years Eve without having a drink was hard but now I am on the other side, I think I can do it. My year date in 24/06. The count down is on 😀

    1. So amazing to read this comment Connor! You can totally do this. Glad our experience helped you get clarity on your decision!

  5. Muchas gracias for this most timely, honest, inspiring article, which has affirmed and reinforced my own goal of a year of high sobriety (to quote Jill Stark), which started on 1/1/2016.

    1. Good on you Jo! The first couple of weeks are the most challenging, but trust us quitting for a year is totally worth it!

  6. That’s incredible, congrats! I often won’t drink for months at a time and haven’t been drunk in a couple of years. I know what you mean about feeling so much better without it! Maybe i’ll give it up for 6 months or a year. I found many of the things you learned very similar to things I found going vegan. Anything out of the ordinary makes people uncomfortable!

    1. We’re one step away from being vegan. We’re done stints, but haven’t committed 100% as yet. I think that will be our new challenge for 2016!

  7. Congratulations! Great effort. And some valid lessons. I haven’t given up alcohol but I’m not really a big drinker and alcohol often doesn’t like me (really bad heartburn, which puts an end to any fun) so I never had bad hangovers. But I agree drunk people are really annoying. And I absolutely hate that people try and cajole you into drinking as if you can’t possibly have fun if you don’t have alcohol. What is with that attitude? Oh, and I haven’t given up meat, but totally respect those who have.

  8. I spent a year without drinking as I travelled around Australia. Everywhere we went I tried a non alcoholic cocktail.so #8 you get to try a whole lot of new drinks.

    1. haha… love it! We’ve found that when we tell the barman about our non-alcoholic challenge, they tend to give us both complimentary cocktails! I think it’s because they feel sorry that we don’t drink!

  9. I love this post! Thank you for sharing this – it gave me a much-needed dose of encouragement to push my comfort zone out for traveling to farther ends of the earth! The last time I drank was over 3 years ago and it was probably the only good decision I made in my life at that time. I had always been a partier, but I took it too far too often, humiliating myself, lying to people I cared about, living a double life, and not being able to maintain jobs or relationships. I didn’t plan on staying sober more than a couple of weeks, but after meeting more people who gave up drinking for similar reasons, I started to have some hope that there was a better way to live. I love your honesty in this post and it totally made my day – thank you!

    1. Three years! Good on you Erika! We can totally relate to what you’re saying. We didn’t plan on sticking to it either. To be honest we were really only going to do it for one month, and then we found the HelloSundayMorning.org community and then reading all the stories about people doing the same thing really encouraged us to keep going. So glad we did as I’m sure you’d agree, life without booze, hangovers, etc is so much more rewarding!

  10. What a great read! I’ve just done the same thing, almost one year with no alcohol. It’s certainly been an eye opener. I can totally relate to all 7 things you learnt above. Most surprisingly was the reaction of others to my decision. It really does throw some people right off, as if it directly affects them. It’s like an indictment on them, why would you want to give up alcohol!!! I’ve also had the “will you drink again” question many times. Thanks for the article!

  11. Good work.
    I am about 6 months into alcohol free and i fully concur with your conclusions.
    The major impact for me is that I have a really positive frame of mind. I used to think that maybe I suffered from depression, but in fact, for me, it just seems to have been the alcohol!

    1. Wow! We totally agree with you Nick. Vic was suffering from anxiety, and experienced the same thing when she cut out the booze. Pretty amazing eh?!

  12. Amazing article ladies! Very inspiring….I’m happily doing dry January (in cold England) and you’ve just put the seed in my head to challenge myself for the year! A year with zero hangovers sounds beautiful X

  13. I’m five years into the no drinking deal. I still ask myself if I’ll have another drink. Its especially strong when I catch up with old friends that I liked to have a drink with. Stopping grinding didn’t make me a superman, but I’m accountable for everything I do and say.

    1. That’s awesome Gary, we don’t know if we’ll have a drink again at this point. We’re just going with the flow and see what happens!

  14. I haven’t drunk for about 10 years. People don’t understand why I don’t drink. But it’s for all the reasons you listed above. And a few more. People talk to much when drunk. And it gets them in trouble. Or the one I love the best. Everyone is having a great night. Then the fights start. ALWAYS. So now I tell people I’m on the wagon. Shuts people up real quick. I enjoy the occasional night out. Sober. But I’d much prefer a night in. Congrats on you year off. Keep it up

  15. I was one of those people forced to give up the booze by pregnancy and then breastfeeding. Not drinking at all for a year really helped me to see the unhealthy expectations around drinking that I had picked up from my family. It was totally ok to get boozed to the point of embarrassing yourself, and be dying of a two day hangover. Now that my baby girl is 18 months old, I have 2% or 0.5% beer when I’m out, as I genuinely enjoy the taste of beer and like to have something to do with my hands at social events – I’m shy. However, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to drinking the way that I did; I don’t want my daughter to think that’s how it’s done! And I really appreciate being able to enjoy people sober, and keeping my Sunday morning. The thought of a hangover with a baby running around is truly terrifying! Great article ?

    1. That’s so awesome your pregnancy gave you that time to reflect on your drinking. It’s funny how after a while it just feels normal not to drink hey?! Congrats!

  16. I love this post! I just recently gave up alcohol for a year, and all of the points you mentioned are true. I definitely saved a lot of money too!! It was eye opening to see things from another point of view, when you’re surrounded by drunk people at a party.

    I recently wrote a post about my year without alcohol, part 1. I would love it if you could check it out for another point of view! http://www.laceylifestyle.com/my-2015-challenge-a-year-without-alcohol-part-1/

    Lacey

  17. So im 6 weeks and counting. The question i ask is have you had a glass or 3 yet?
    It doesnt matter but there is another story to unfold?

    1. Hey Steve! No we haven’t had a glass yet…14 months so far. We did sample some champagne at the Taste of Sydney festival but I’ll be honest…it tasted REALLY bad! Wasn’t expecting it to taste so bad tbh, lol! That’s awesome you’re 6 weeks in! How are you feeling so far?

  18. I went alcohol free almost five years ago when I saw the damage it was causing in my extended families lives. I have never looked back. People thought it was a fad and kept asking me when I was going to start again.
    If someone was watching their weight you would never ask them when they plan on eating junk food again. Why should this be different. I found the people with drinking problems were the ones who wanted me to start again.
    Love being alcohol free.

  19. Every thing you have said on your blog is so true…I went through the same. I never went back to drinking and probably saved my liver from further damage. I’ve been alcohol free for 5 years and love it. I enjoy quality conversations and hang over free weekends. This is the life I want and chose.

    1. 5 years wow! Congrats. Yeah it’s interesting now we are past the 12 month mark, still haven’t had a drink as yet. We just feel like life is better without it right now.

  20. Great post. I found the HSM community too; love it! 3 + months alcohol free so far and no desire to turn back. Feeling amazing! Thanks for the inspiration! For others reading, you may also enjoy The Naked Mind by Annie Grace for insight and information regarding alcohol. Eye opening.

    1. How great is it Heather? HSM really helped us a lot, especially in the first 3 months. Will definitely check out that book for sure. Thanks for the recommendation!

  21. Hello!

    I loved this. Your blog was amazing to read. A few years ago, I went a year and a half without booze, and I completely know everything you’ve talked about. Sadly, I started drinking again because I thought I could handle it and now I’ve gained back the weight that I had lost and that is a shitty feeling. I remember everyone asking me during my sober times how I lost my weight and my answer was nothing but “I quit drinking” and the positive responses felt great. I did get a lot of the negative responses at times too, though, which I agree really sucks. Aside from the weight loss, though, the no-hangovers were awesome and I did feel a ton better overall! But anyway, this article is extremely motivating for me to do it again and I wish I could hug you and say thank you, lol.

    I do have a question, though. When going out to these parties, out for dinner, or to anything where others are drinking, what did you guys have? Did you drink pop? Water? Non-alcoholic beers/drinks?

    Thanks so much for the inspiration! I’m feeling pretty happy and excited, right now!

    1. Awesome to hear you feel motivated to do it again. Our go to drink when we’re out is sparkling water with fresh lime. Sometimes if the bar does cocktails, we’ll get a mocktail, and what we’ve found is if you tell the barman what you’re doing they usually give it to us for free!

  22. I too chose to be alcohol free for a year! After 4 months off the wagon I feel amazing! Great article- I can definitely relate.

    1. Yeah good on you!! We’re now past our one year, and so far have no real urge to start again. Our friends can’t believe it, and honestly, we can’t either.

      Have fun!

  23. Awesome article. I stopped drinking years ago, I still have the occasional drink, beer, or wine. But when I first quit, I wan’t drinking at all. And I was the only one of the group who wasn’t. What an eye opener to look at the world of drinkers through sober eyes!!!! Life is so much more interesting, richer, deeper, I could go on and on. The main thing is, I’m not missing any of it. I find it difficult to explain to a drinker just how non-present they are to so much of what is happening around them. So I don’t. Great job on doing without, changing your habits, and posting your experience!

  24. Wow! Thank you so much! I am a recovering alki, that relapsed again, about a month ago. AA meetings are getting stale again and I love the way you write about this. I’ve had months, and years, and months again, sober. I Love not drinking! I’m not sure why I started again. My hubby always has drinked (I’m not how to properly say that). I loathe the way he gets after 2-3 beers, and I notice it so much more when I’m sober. When I drink now, it’s always by myself, and I usually go to my bedroom, (yes, we sleep apart), and I drink there with my TV and laptop to keep me company. Like now. I should be sleeping soundly, but alcohol disrupts much of that. I am disabled and don’t work, which makes it seem harder to maintain any sort of schedule. Tonight, rather yesterday, he went to pick up his mother, (she lives about 4 hours from here), and bring her back here to our house for the next week. My room is a mess and I can’t seem to get myself going to change that. There are so many reasons that are Great about not drinking. I wonder why it seems so difficult at times when I Know how Great it feels Not to drink….Right now I’m just at a “leveling-off” stage. If I don’t drink now, it will be so bad…if I don’t….Arrrgggh!
    Anyway….Thanks for letting me write this down! Thank You for sharing your strength and hope! Your article has really placed itself in a very needed space! <3

  25. So 94 days I’ve been free of alcohol …I’ve been feeling really good and positive but last few days, I’ve been down and tired- not feeling the urge to drink but definitely feeling like I’ve hit a low point. Possibly shouldn’t have watched sideways film – about wine in California tonight ha ha – did you have any low moments ? I’m surprised this has come along as I was doing really well

    1. Yeah we totally had moments where we felt like we were missing out at social events. You know, that moment when everyone is out and the champagne is flowing and everyone looks like they’re having lots of laughs and you’re drinking sparkling water?! In those moments we felt an urge to drink, but more often or not, we would find that 30 mins later, that everyone would start slurring their words, spilling their drinks and starting to get messy. Once that happened we knew we’d made the right choice!

      1. Thanks for your response – pleased to hear this! My temporary low point did not last thankfully! Back on track – you guys are inspirational

  26. Loved the article 😀 My partner Lisa and I have been alcohol free for just over 6 months now and I can really relate to some of the points you made. We have really gotten into our fitness, I have actually been pursuing what I am passionate about and have some new hobbies . Friendships changed- some deepened, some new friends have come into my life and some people were really challenged by my non drinking (although I am starting to feel less concerned about disappointing others). Anyway we will keep kicking on. Thank you again for sharing x

    1. That’s awesome! Great notice that you feel less concerned about disappointing others. We definitely found that without alcohol our head space was more consistent and so were our moods! Thanks for leaving this share!!!

  27. Great article! I’m about to hit a year without alcohol next month. I agree with every single one of your points. If someone had told me a year ago that I could do it, I wouldn’t have believed them. Yet the longer I go without drinking, the easier it becomes. Like you I have never said I’d quit for life, and will never rule out drinking again. But the feeling from not drinking and the money I save is definitely enough to not make me want to start again anytime soon. Best wishes from Andy in England.

    1. Congrats on reaching a year Andy! Such an awesome achievement. You’re absolutely right, the longer you go without it, the better life is!

  28. Hi
    I think I started on HSM around the same time as you guys (I was Monkeyme) but I went back to drinking after my 3 months AF. It’s great to read about your year and the insights gained. I’m back on HSM again doing a12 month one this time and with 2 AF months behind me and it is such a joy and life is opening up in wonderful ways. Don’t think Ill be returning to drinking this time 🙂

    1. Yeah I can totally see why people would slip back into it after 3 months. It’s been 15 months now, we did have a drink recently but the desire to go back to it just isn’t there. Life just feels better when it’s alcohol free! Congrats on 2 months, it’s only going to get better from here. 🙂

  29. I stopped drinking alcohol on 4/1/16 – a late start to dry January. It was supposed to be for a month but I didn’t feel like starting again and I’ve carried on and still haven’t had a drink. My skin is better and I feel so much brighter and enthusiastic about life. I was attracted to your page because of the title – the main benefit for me is that being sober is freeing. I now realise that I was restricting myself by drinking, almost self sabotage. I love going to bed sober and knowing that I’m going to be clear headed and energetic the next day. I didn’t plan this so it isn’t really a challenge but I was a big drinker and I didn’t think I had a problem but now I see how much I was holding myself back and the depressive effect alcohol was having. Still having to explain myself though!!

    1. We totally hear you Viv! It’s amazing what you learn about yourself (and others) when you stop consuming alcohol.
      And how good are the side benefits?!! Clearer skin, more money, no more foggy heads in the morning, and stacks of energy! No alcohol is definitely a win!!

  30. Read the article twice and it rings so true.I have been sober five years now and I have felt the same thing.I got my health back ,lost a bunch of people who rarely call me cause they think I would be a bore(not true), resumed my passions like trekking and biking and photography …….. And no regrets.Also true that the greatest pressure came from people closest to me.Initially it was a decision prompted by an impulse plus socio-spiritual reasons and also a dare to see if I’m strong enough and now it’s a normal thing for me.To the question ‘why’ I finally decided to answer ’cause I did not ask permission and give explanation when I started I see no reason why I need to when I stopped.It’s purely a personal choice’.It may sound rude but I was frustrated by the constant barrage of questions and doubts about my motives.I did try a bit once or twice and found that I disliked it the same way when I never drank as a kid.So yeah I’m sticking to it for all the right reasons and I would recommend my friends to cut the consumption if not give it up but it’s their calling and not mine.
    Overtime it gets easy and natural and I wish all the best to you two too.Cheers.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your experience. Only recently we gave it a try again too and found the exact same thing, it just doesn’t taste good and made us feel rubbish…much like the first drink when you’re a teenager, lol! Definitely sticking to our new lifestyle. It just suits us better. We definitely feel like it’s an easy and natural choice not to drink now.

  31. My sister is a alcoholic and I struggle to find her help still now 3yes on no one will assess her until she’s not under influence of alcohol so clearly that any gonna happen any help or advice will be apricated

    1. We’re no experts on this Casey but there are heaps of amazing online support networks out there that you can reach out to and ask for advice and help. We joined HelloSundayMorning.org when we wanted to make a change but if your sister is struggling on a more serious level then perhaps AA would be a good place to start? Hope she gets the help she needs. 🙂

  32. I’m just coming up to 1 year without touching alcoholic drinks.
    It’s the best thing I have ever done, my social life if absolutely full with new friends new hobbys and my life’s dream of playing the banjo and guitar has come true. There is so much to do now after wasting so much time sat in pubs talking a load of s**** for hours then thinking I had a good time. The thing that amazed me the most was it was so easy. My advice to anybody to help them give up drinking is get some hobbies and stick at them you’ll soon find new friends with same in common. Life’s too short why shorten it with drink.

    1. Love this feedback Richard! That’s exactly how we felt too. We thought about all the trips we’d taken and the amount of time wasted in random pubs spinning shit, versus getting out and exploring.

      Rock out on your banjo!

  33. Hello from England 🙂
    So I drunkenly made a bet (sometimes good can come from those silly drunk conversation) to not drink (or smoke which is a different kettle of fish) for 6 months from the 1st September for charity. I instantly regretted this decision especially when I did the maths and thought of Christmas and nye, but once the hangover hit I started to flirt with looking forward to the excuse, the not waking up feeling like shit or wincing at the utter bollocks Id chatted the night before! Well I’m hungover again and am looking forward to next week being September (but who knows once I’m feeling perky again). Anyway after reading your blog I am feeling far more motivated and less worried about those dreaded sober Saturday nights out, I’ve bought a bike and am hoping to get a boost of motivate and get fit. The only thing I’m worried about… finding my partner a massive pain in the arse when I’m 100% less drunk than him!
    Wish me luck and please give me any tips you can think of to get me through the beginning hurdle.

    1. lol… thanks for sharing you story with us Emma!
      Trust us, the first couple of weeks will probably the toughest time as you’re adjusting to your new lifestyle and I’m guessing your mates aren’t keen to support you. I’d try and rally a couple of your besties to commit to the challenge with you. The reality is a couple months off the booze will do wonders for your overall health, you’ll lose weight and you’ll save a stack of cash!

      Plus to be honest with you…I guarantee you’ll feel a million bucks, not only physically but mentally too! You can do it!

      Drop us a message or connect with Vic and I on Facebook and let us know how you’re going!!!!

  34. I stopped drinking for 2 weeks felt better lost a little weight , been drinking for 2 days feel terrible headache and depressed in bed. I will try for a year from today thank for writing your story

    1. It is so easy to slip back into old habits. We found the first few months challenging but after that it became normal for us to be sober at parties and social events. You can totally do a year! Check out hellosundaymorning.org where you can keep an online journal. That really helped us!

  35. Just joined hello Sunday …had a shower and made fresh fruit salad ….this is start of a new life ….veganism and no drinking here I come …thank you after reading your story I can do this x

  36. I’ve gone one year without a drink and i’ve been a vegetarian for almost four years.I wont be drinking again because in the first 11 months i saved over £1,000 on alcohol and went on holiday twice and completed a drug,solvent and alcohol abuse counselling course which cost £350.Even after the holidays and course I still had change from the thousand (not including spending money).When i went on holiday I hardily spent any money because I wasn’t drinking.The only thing I need to do now is quit going to the pub because a pint of coke is only 50p cheaper than a pint of beer

    1. Awesome achievement Mike!

      Not sure about where you are, but here in Australia if you tell the barman you’re the designated driver (i.e. not drinking) they’ll give you complimentary soft drinks.

  37. Hey,

    I am wanting to give up alcohol, I feel like I can handle my drink pretty well but then for some reason once every 4 months ill have a blow out and make an idiot of myself and wake up the next morning feeling shame and embaressment!!

    The one thing i know ill struggle with is the peer pressure from others around me. I get comments when i don’t drink such as “god youre boring”!

    How did you deal with the pressure such as this?

    1. Great question Jade! Firstly, even having a break for a few months is still an awesome and worthwhile achievement. Peer pressure sucks pretty hard but we found that as long we stayed strong and still participated in nights out most of ours friends were pretty cool about the decision. Remember, this is YOUR decision and your friends need to respect that…and if they don’t, find other ways you can spend time with them when there’s no alcohol involved! Keep us posted on your progress!

  38. Stoked to find your post! After some drinky weeks leading up to the holidays, I realized this afternoon I am drinking way too much. I found some other great articles, then your excellent post, and I’m excited for my Dry January! I’ve enrolled some friends to do it with me, and the fact that it feels a bit daunting to all of us should tell us something. Now I’m wondering if perhaps I should be even more ambitious…

    1. That is so cool that you guys are taking a break together…our original goal was 30 days…then we thought about 3 months and then we eventually settled on challenging ourselves to 12 months! Seemed crazy at the time but it was SO worth it! Whatever you decide, a break of any kind is good for your health!

  39. I’ve been off the booze for 9 months now any this pretty much mirrors my experience. I went from a total boozehound to someone who actually enjoys being sober, no one has been more surprised than me about that and I can’t see myself going back!

    I doubled down on #4 though and went vegan at the same time. Also recommended 😉

    1. We went vegan too… didn’t last long though with our travels. We found it really hard to get meat-free dishes in some countries. But we now try to live a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.

  40. Great article guys. I decided to try this for 12 months starting at midnight New Tear’s Eve 2016. I am actually doing this for our company charity – Macmillan cancer support. I had read an autobiography bu Johnny Marr of The Smiths which prompted me to do this then read ‘Kick the drink’ by Jason Vale and knew I wanted to try this. At 47 I have been boozing for over 30 years and have a very busy work and social life where everything revolves around alcohol. Having twins who are almost 17 I want to be a good role model for them as well as improve my health! After one month I am feeling very positive about the whole thing. Who knows, I may decide not to go back to that lifestyle after New Year’s Eve 2017. Will keep reading this article and the other links to help me on my journey and remind myself that it can be done. Thank you 🙂

    1. Awesome work! We’re here cheering you on. The first 6 weeks is probably the hardest as you adjust to social outings without the booze, but once you’re past that we guarantee you’ll love it!

  41. just read your story blessings for writing it . I had 2 nights brinking very heavily felt very sick on the 3rd morning . I have not had a drink in 3 days I feel better still tired . I hope not stop a month and see how I go …xxx

    1. Our advice. Just commit to 30 days and we guarantee you’ll feel awesome. Besides feeling healthier, you’ll also save money!

      You can do it!

  42. Thank you for this post – My husband and I LOVE our wine but more and more I have been wondering why and have been debating going a year without. Now he is the type that will have 1/2 a bottle and still go on 5 mile hike with the kids. me – not so much. I hate that guilty feeling when the weekend ends and we feel relaxed but without much of a dent in our to do list. For the heck of it I googled “a year without wine” and came to your blog – so glad I did and definately making the comittment. thank you!

  43. Nice posts above. This is my 367th sunrise without that first drink. Much money unspent (not saved). Happy without hangovers, the heartburn and the rejection of the world. 40 years of alcoholism (my first glass of beer being at the age of 10), Saw and celebrated my 50th birthday without that first drink.

  44. In two days I will be sober for 100 days!!! Working towards 365. Articles like this make me feel less anxious about defending my choice to be booze free in 2017. Thanks for the thoughts!

  45. I typed in Google that I stopped drinking but was thinking about trying it again and your side came up.

    I agree with everything you wrote, but I wanted to be able to enjoy the taste and experience that kind of euphoric feeling that comes from having a draft beer at a bar again. However now that I stopped drinking could I control it by going and having a beer once or twice? I seem to be a little afraid of it. Thank you for your amazing site.

    1. Yeah totally get where you’re coming from. We have started drinking again but definitely feel like having regular breaks from drinking is the way to go. All in all we feel healthier and more clear minded when we don’t drink. Not to mention how much more productive we are when we are off the booze!

  46. Been on and off drinking for sometime but now I completely want to stop.I was out drinking this past weekend and happened to bump into my Ex and his new wife,Iong story short I was as drunk as a skunk and made a fool of myself (given that am generally a composed person) am totally embarrassed.So today is the first day of my sobriety am soo glad I came across this blog it’s just what I needed. Keep up the great work.

    1. Giving up was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We got healthier, felt happier, less anxious and had way more time on our hands. You can totally do it! If it feels like the right time to make the decision, go for it.

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