40 Days Without Booze

Make mine a virgin.

Make mine a virgin.

Recently, as a “kick-in-the-butt” motivator, I promised myself that I would abstain from alcoholic beverages until I finished the first draft of a novel I’ve been working on. I had set a target date for completing the project (June 30th), with the idea that if I didn’t finish by that date, I’d stop drinking booze until I was done. I didn’t think of it as “punishment” so much; rather a modest motivational booster to propel me towards my goal. I enjoy drinking — especially wine — and I knew that going without would help me stay focused.

Well, June 30th came and went with no completed first draft in sight. No problem — it would only take a few more days to finish — soon I would be popping a cork and savoring my first glass.

I did finally finish the first draft of my sci-fi novel … on August 10th. Forty days with no booze. Here’s what it felt like:

Physical Withdrawal

None, luckily. Unlike giving up coffee, I felt no physical craving for alcohol, despite having a drink or two nearly every day for at least the past fifteen years. For the first few days, I found it surprising to not have a drink in my hand around 6pm, but this was a psychological effect.

Summary: no DT’s

Stress

Giving up drink for a while helped me understand why alcoholism is often linked to highly driven, ambitious, over-achieving personality types. The reason: a drink helps you unwind fast. With a glass of wine, you can go from 60 to 0 in half an hour or less. Without a drink, I found it took me a couple hours to come down from my more intense workdays.

The no-booze period happened to coincide with some particularly stressful work situations; a large software project I had developed went into production and ran into some issues. I managed to get everything sorted out, but that involved some hair-pulling, and working more than a few nights. A glass of wine or a beer would have been really nice to help me unwind. Instead, I stayed over-alert for hours after I was done working, and sometimes (unwisely) went back to work when I should have just called it a day.

After a few weeks of this, I realized I needed a better way to deal with stress. I began to meditate more, sometimes several times a day for short periods. I also tried to take the “big picture” approach to my work (nobody was going to die from any of the software malfunctions, and I would fix them all eventually). These things helped a little, but ultimately the only thing that restored me to equilibrium was working a shorter work day, and allowing more time to unwind.

Summary: booze enables workaholism, because of the fast unwind time

Fat Loss and Water Retention

I got skinnier during this experiment, dropping several pounds below my ideal weight. I also retained less water; after a week or so I noticed my jawline tightened up. My wife said I looked like I had been living in the mountains with bears, subsisting on fish and berries. I guess I looked a little gaunt.

This, despite eating more complex and simple carbs, including a fair amount of ice cream. I had only been averaging a couple drinks a day, so I’m not sure this metabolic change was strictly caloric. I suspect my liver was slightly overburdened by daily drinking, even though I wasn’t drinking huge amounts. I think abstaining from booze allowed my liver to burn fat more efficiently, and signaled my kidneys that dehydration wasn’t as much of a risk (therefore less water retention).

Summary: got skinnier

Sleep

Definitely better, with fewer early morning awakenings. Also, I found I no longer had to drink a lot of water in the evening to avoid waking up parched the next morning (or in the middle of the night).

Mood and Gut Bacteria

As I mentioned above, I definitely felt more anxious during this experiment, though a good part of that anxiety was because of my work situation. What I did notice was that when my anxiety did finally wear off, I felt happier, and optimistic about my ability to work through the problems I was facing. Sometimes I can get so amped up and worried that my anxiety morphs into despair and inaction, but this didn’t happen while I wasn’t drinking. I felt more resilient.

Alcohol consumption alters the gut biome, reducing strains of Bacteroidetes and increasing Proteobacteria. Gut biome composition is related to mood, especially how we deal with stress. In the study discussed in this interview, mice fed a strain of lactobacillus (L. rhamnosus) and subjected to stressors were much calmer than the control group. The gut bacteria communicate with the brain via the vagus nerve, influencing GABA levels in the brain (it sounds crazy, I know — but read the interview or listen to the show, or read the original study). The genus Lactobacillus is within the phylum Firmicute (and therefore neither Bacteroidetes nor Proteobacteria), but the fact remains that alcohol changes the composition of gut bacteria.

This article discusses the same study in more detail. As part of the experiment, the mice were dropped into water. The probiotic-fed mice were less likely to “drift motionlessly”; instead they swam vigorously and refused to give up.

I can’t explain why I felt more resilient during the no-booze period; the gut bacteria idea is pure speculation. But I definitely noticed a change in my mood. I felt a great deal of anxiety, but it didn’t get me down.

Summary: despite higher stress, a sense of resilience and optimism

Asthma

I noticed a slight resurgence in asthma symptoms during my forty days without booze. This was the only negative physical effect I noticed. I controlled my symptoms by increasing my vitamin D levels (I had slacked off on supplementation recently), and taking bromelain when needed.

Not sure why — possibly moderate alcohol consumption modulates my immune system, making it less “twitchy” — less likely to react to grasses, pollens, and dust mites. Or it could be related to changes in the gut biome.

I wouldn’t recommend booze as an asthma cure. Try vitamin D and fish oil instead. If you do drink wine, and are sensitive to sulfites, consider supplementing with small amounts of molybdenum, which is necessary to produce the enzymes involved in sulfite detoxification.

Summary: for me, completely abstaining from alcohol seems to be associated with increased asthma symptoms

Socializing

I’m used to having a drink with friends, and I was worried that my enjoyment of social situations would be dampened by my teetotaling. This turned out not to be the case, at least while spending time with people I liked. I did find it more difficult to remain polite in the presence of people who were actively annoying me, but I managed to hold my tongue in most cases.

In Conclusion

First draft is complete, and I’ve had my first drink. I’m relieved that the experiment is over, but I hope to drink less (and less often) from here on out. I enjoyed many of the benefits of not drinking, but it will be especially nice to be able to drink at parties.

I hope to break my habit of drinking every day, and I also hope to rely less on alcohol as a workaholism-enabling crutch. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Study after study points to the probability that light drinkers live longer and are healthier than strict teetotalers. But it’s now obvious to me that I was drinking more than ideally benefited my health. Since I have only one functioning copy of the MTHFR gene, alcohol may adversely affect my folate levels, and perhaps other physiological processes as well.

Hope you found this post to be helpful, or at least entertaining. Please feel free to share your own experiences in the comments.

123 responses to “40 Days Without Booze

  1. Definitely found your experiment interesting.

    I’ve had several periods of having regular alcohol intake (1-2 beers a day) to none for stretches. I didn’t think to consciously take note of differences, but next time I go through different stretches, I’ll definitely remember to keep notes.

    Thanks for the fascinating post!

  2. Hmm, wouldn’t have expected the effects being so strong with just one or two daily drinks…I always assumed I was in the clear because that seemed a reasonable number. Have to reevaluate…

  3. Great analysis. Very helpfull insight. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Visit AA.org on your quest to give up drinking …. You can be free.

    • Did you even read the post?

      • Yes, he sounds like an alcoholic… who doesn’t know he’s an alcoholic. I of course, could be wrong. Thanks for pointing that out Tony.

        • People define the term differently. My own takeaway from taking a break from alcohol was that I noticed some physical and mental benefits, and one physical downside (increased asthma symptoms). In terms of alcohol dependency, I didn’t notice anything physical, but I did conclude that I had been relying on an after-work drink to help relieve stress … so I suppose some psychological dependency.

          Something that I forgot to mention was that I experienced no peer pressure to drink. At least in my circle nobody seemed to care much one way or another if I had a drink or not, which was nice.

        • The NIAAA says that 14 drinks per week for men is moderate. Obviously everyone is different, but I think the first clue is that he didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms.

          http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

        • I knew alcoholism. Senator, you are no alcoholic. Nicely thought-out post!

  5. misterrayco

    I gave up booze for all of 2013 (so I’m 8 months in)…I agree with most of your insights (and your analysis is definitely more thorough than my anecdotes). I’ve found 2 things: 1) that the times I miss having a drink are not necessarily the most social times and 2) that I crave beverage variety. I probably had 10 sodas in 2012, but I probably average one a week in 2013 and I drink immensely more tea. I was at SXSW with free booze everywhere and didn’t crave a drink, but after helping a friend move on a hot day wanted nothing more than crisp cold brew.

  6. I had my first drink at 35. I literally never tasted alcohol. The long-term positive effect for me was that I retired shortly after 35 because I had worked so hard and saved so much money. The long-term negative effect was social. Though I went out often and danced and had fun the peer pressure never went away and I think there was always an attitude assumed/perceived about me/them. Overall, I am far less uptight now and I enjoy the taste of good red wine but I dislike and have abandoned all hard liquor.

  7. I stopped drinking back in 2011 – wasn’t a big ice cream fan before. Now I’ll put away a half pint of Ben and Jerry’s every week or so.

    Wonder if the substitution is psychological ( “I deserve a treat” ) or something biological ( “need simple sugar calories” )

  8. Garry Britain

    This was an interesting read. I’m 22 years old and (more than likely) drink far more regularly than I should. I’ve just come back from the pub in fact (Thatchers Gold is far to delicious).

    I’ve had it in my head for a little while that there will come a time in which I decide I will stop drinking. Not permanently, but for a short period while I allow my body to recover. By refraining from alcohol for a short period, you reassure yourself you’re not yet an alcoholic (a few beers every night isn’t alcoholism is it?).

    Not sure how person ^^ went to 35 without a drink. God damn. Myself and friends were drinking vodka by the age of 15. This isn’t a good thing (but at the time it seemed like a great idea!), but we had fun.

    To conclude, there isn’t really a conclusion. But I will finish by saying, in a lot of countries, TV / Magazine / Billboard / Radio adverts all endorse drinking. Only the other day did I notice a friends 9 year old getting in on the “let’s get him a triple” joke (myself partly to blame). It is knowingly shoved in the faces of young children, and there’s little we can do about it.

    It has been discussed in reasonable length, but as far as I am concerned… allow people to consume the less harmful drugs (cann….), and there will be less pressure to consume alcohol.

    • Agreed! Toking up is easy enough, for those who want to, here in Oakland (aka Oaksterdam). And I’m pleased to see that the reactionary types are starting to calm down over the low-THC/anti-inflammatory strains of medical marijuana, at least in California.

  9. There is a corollary to “Sleep”, which is “Wake Up State”. I feel amazing when I wake up after a night of no drinks.

  10. This is a fantastic write-up. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    I, like other commenters, have also toned down my alcohol intake from daily to only on weekends (and I’m careful to not binge — two drinks, max). I didn’t track the physical/mental/social changes, but I definitely noticed my weight came down (10lbs, in the last 3 months, so much that some clothes [notably skinny jeans] that I was ready to throw out now fit comfortably).

    Your post definitely compels me to apply this restriction more liberally, and compare the results. Again, well done — you’ve inspired me!

  11. You are to be commended for quitting at all, even for a relatively short period of time. Most people who reach your age as daily drinkers are in it for the long haul. Which is often unfortunate, as the negative side effects of alcohol tends to catch up to us more and more as we get older.

    “Moderate drinking” can prolong some human lives by a small but significant amount, as far as we can tell at this time. Problem is, you’ll not find many medical doctors who define “moderate drinking” as anything beyond 5 or 6 glasses of wine per week, at 6 oz. per pour. So by clinical definition, almost no one who drinks daily is drinking in moderation.

    Even two glasses of wine a day will reverse the net health gains associated with “moderate drinking” and, instead, significantly increase one’s chances of acquiring any number of serious alcohol-related physical illnesses. Never mind the inevitable day-to-day side effects of daily drinking: weight gain, mental sluggishness, psychological and physical dependency, mood swings, increased chances of depression (and suicide), increased likelihood of alcohol-related accidents and domestic disputes, etc.

    Alcohol is seriously powerful stuff. One is best-advised to proceed with caution when consuming it.

  12. If anyone’s interested in trying a stint without booze, there is this awesome community called Hello Sunday Morning (http://hellosundaymorning.org) where people blog about their experiences. Check it out!

  13. I also had some resurgence of asthma when I quit drinking. I’ve been about 15 months; I wasn’t drinking that much–though I did at some earlier times in my life–but some turning points in my life were arriving, and I felt I needed the extra clarity. In my case it’s a definite improvement, and I’ve decided to stick with it. It’s partly a Taoist thing: TRYING to be happy, deliberately changing my head, doesn’t work for me at all.

    One of the things I did in response to the resurgence of asthma was to do a little research. I’ve had the best luck with your advice, increasing vitamin D and especially with hitting the omega 3 very hard, and avoiding omega 6. It also seems important for me to take probiotics of some kind every day.

    One quibble: I can’t help wondering if some part of your post-work unwinding is really just replenishing your blood sugar. Alcohol is an awfully fast way to do that.

    • Could be … a good part of “wanting a drink” is a desire for 1) liquid, 2) calories, and 3) something in a nice glass that tastes good. Alcohol is not always needed for satisfaction.

      Glad those asthma remedies are working for you!

  14. I always wonder what teetotallers do for fun. Everytime I want to feel great, I just quit alcohol for a few weeks. Within no time, perceptible differences in the way my body feels, clarity of mind, overall mood improvements, etc.

  15. > a drink helps you unwind fast. With a glass of wine, you can go from 60 to 0 in half an hour or less. Without a drink, I found it took me a couple hours to come down from my more intense workdays.

    This, a thousand times. It’s so hard for me not to have a few drinks after work. I don’t work as hard or as long as I used to but I still have some extremely stressful days. Even on “normal” days when I’m plowing through code all day, I’m often wired for hours after I’m done working and I hate it. A drink immediately calms me down. Not a good cycle. Ugh.

  16. James Malcolm

    thanks for your post. I drink between 2 and 3 drinks a night, and I’ve done that now for about 6 years. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about cutting it out. Work is stressful, and I’ve felt I needed it to calm down. I think I’ll try a few months sober. If it helps my sleep that alone would be worth it.

  17. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar, this encourages me to do it. I do have a fear of failure though. Were there no tough moments where you almost had a drink??

    • There were definitely moments when I felt sorry for myself (there was some good wine that I missed out on), but then I reminded myself why I was doing it, and that made it easier.

  18. This is entirely anecdotal, but I’ve found in cultures where alcohol use is discouraged, people often seem to turn to sugar as a replacement. So your experience with ice cream certainly rings true.

  19. I’ve given up alcohol for Lent for the last 2 years. It’s an eye-opener. It has given me more energy and, as a result, I got a lot more done. I ended up exercising a lot more to deal with the stress. I also saved money from not having a bar tab.
    I totally agree about the ‘more annoying’ types of people in social situations. I don’t have to be as polite as you, I found drunk people quite intolerable.

  20. If you feel better from not drinking then maybe you have been drinking too much. I drink 2 or 3 shots of Jack a day and I sleep like a baby, have positive mental energy and outlook, feel great in any social situation. I’m resilient and keep up my daily workouts and diet. Don’t dismiss the idea that you might have started to become dependent on alcohol. Good experiment – anything that shakes up your routine or gets you out of a rut is a good thing to try and you probably learned alot. Good luck with your novel!!

  21. Well! This topic does seem to have garnered a few more comments than usual…..quite a few more! I have friends who don’t drink at all. When I visit them (sometimes for several days running), I don’t have my usual couple of glasses of wine in the evening – doesn’t seem to bother me one bit. Alcohol (at more than a couple of glasses/day – a rare occurrence for me) can definitely mess with my sleep cycles, however, waking me at 1 or 2 AM and keeping me awake until 3:30 or 4. Going back to sleep at that hour leaves me stupid when I have to get up at 5:30 or so. Happens rarely, thank goodness. For anyone with weight issues, there are a LOT of calories in booze. Still working on the “remaining polite” thing – seems to be more difficult as I age – with or without alcohol…;-)

  22. SuperHappy

    The vast majority of human beings do not drink alcohol on a daily basis or anywhere close to that. If you drink alcohol daily you are probably addicted to alcohol. Not to mention that there is something wrong with someone who can’t find better things to do than sit around with their senses impaired.

  23. I have a problem with last line. While, yes, studies show that moderate drinking is beneficial, there are 2 problems with it:
    1) Moderate very often crosses the line and becomes heavy.
    2) Moderate drinkers are usually healthy eaters, don’t smoke and exercise regulary (read: have discipline), so it’s not conclusive what is first.
    Just my 2 cents.

  24. You didn’t come across any creativity barriers?
    -Alcohol is known to boost creativity and problem solving, say hello to the Ballmer peak:

    http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2795/is-the-ballmer-peak-real

    View story at Medium.com

  25. a very brave act…well done and congratulations! your post and experience s helpful and motivational

  26. I’ve gone 6 1/2 months without sugar. Did you hear the trumpets, whistles, and bells? Yes, for a woman to go without sugar and chocolate…let’s just say – it takes daily denial until it becomes a habit. I feel better, and I’m normalizing my blood sugars. That doesn’t mean I won’t have a bite or two in the future once my sugars are stabilized, but I just don’t want to re-set the clock again. I’m proud of my January 1st removal of sugars; likewise, I’m very happy for your adventure and discovery. Aren’t our bodies amazing? Hang in there and keep up the good work on your book and better health.

  27. This is great! I appreciate that you were really honest about both the good and bad! I don’t drink (a drink a year. Maybe? ),but man, do I wish I could get some that I know to follow your lead. I feel like they would be SO much happier in the long run! I think as a society, we totally accept drinking as an appropriate coping mechanism. For some- maybe it is, but I’d venture to guess, not for most!

    Thanks for sharing this will all of your readers!

  28. What’s your novel about? Or is it a secret?

    • Not a secret, but I don’t have a short description ready to go quite yet. Thank you for asking and I hope you stay tuned.

  29. I liked the how you were so honest.
    I have found that there was a time when I would notice that I was drinking every day after work, and then on a day off would find myself physically expecting and craving a drink. It was then that I decided to go ‘on the wagon’ for a couple of weeks, and would do this periodically, which helped me mentally as much as physically have a break and make sure I wasn’t getting dependant.
    I also have seen the difference in sleep patterns and mood and alertness in the mornings when my husband has given up drinking for a week or two, he always feels much better without it.
    I think it’s always worth doing a periodic check in on our habits to see whether they are becoming destructive or not, and allowing ourselves the respite. It means we can go back to them freely rather than simply being unable to choose to stop.

    Thanks for sharing.

  30. I hate to admit it but I also had an addiction but it was food. So I understand the difficulty and I admire you for getting over it. I had a stroke, lost ninety pounds so I paid the piper. Good luck. Barry

  31. Kiersten Marek

    Reblogged this on Kmareka.com and commented:
    An interesting first-hand account of 40 days alcohol-free, from someone who didn’t really seem to have a drinking problem, but wanted to see what life would be like without it.

  32. Great post! The fact that you utilized alcohol as a motivational tool is a hilarious “typical writer” move- I love it! As a fellow writer who also enjoys a glass of wine I wholeheartedly appreciate your honesty in this piece. It sounds like you learned some interesting lessons during your experiment and were also to use it as writing material. Double win!

  33. Harvey.Lawless

    I really enjoyed reading this post! My birthday is June 30th and I always find it interesting to learn about how and why that day is substantial in other people’s lives. Congrats on the work you’ve done with your novel!

    Take a look at my blog and see if there’s anything that interests you! I’ll be following your blog from now on and I hope there can be a mutuality there!!

  34. You’re fortunate to have been able to quit without any physical withdrawal! There is a large minority of people for whom that isn’t possible. For them it’s sort of a choice between never drinking, and alcoholism. There are 15 million people in the US who are dependent on society’s favorite psychoactive drug. It’s true that light drinking over a lifetime has a few health benefits, but I avoid using it altogether, if only for the sake of supporting those afflicted by nature with alcoholic tendencies, for whom it would be crippling.

  35. I have very recently done 50 days without Alcohol such a great feeling! Must admit i did enjoy a few ciders the other night but goes to show how we dont actually need alcohol

  36. Reading this blog makes me glad I never had these alcohol problems!

  37. A very readable, thoroughly enjoyable self-report. Congratulations on your productivity! I do think your increase in asthma symptoms is because you aren’t so used to managing stress without alcohol. Stress triggers asthma more than any substance. It’s okay to increase your use of an inhaler (albuterol) on a temporary basis.

  38. Reblogged this on Thoughts from the bar stool and commented:
    Probably worth most people trying this at some point of their lives. It can’t harm can it?

  39. Great post. Very interesting to read how many parts of your life drinking affects.

  40. Interesting experiment. When I was trying to lose weight I definitely cut back on the booze and it helped a lot. I noticed many of the same things you did. I never thought of it as a slightly motivational tactic, but perhaps I should try it to finish the illustrations I’ve been working on faster!

    Being an introvert, I noticed it was slightly more difficult for me to socialize without the booze, but it also helped me to be more engaged because I wasn’t talking as much and I was listening more, so I suppose that was kind of a pro.

    Good point on it enabling working too much. I never thought of it like that, but you explained it well.

    Thanks for sharing! Great post.

    • Are the motives of the licencing of alcohol, and the selling to the public not apparent from your own comments.

      It conspires against your true reality by dulling the brain and making it accept its current state without a psychological questioning or fight.

  41. Liked it! Very nicely written..

  42. Reblogged this on Sweet sharing and commented:
    inspiring all the way

  43. Best of luck. Have you ever consider regular exercise activity..like cycling? Something new and totally different to get naturally “hooked on” and a de-stressor.

    I have the opposite problem since I believe I’m naturally allergic to alcohol: after half a glass of wine, my face and ears are red. I’ve given up hardening my body. It used to frustrate me. But not any more since booze…has calories. (And I hope every woman who wants to lose weight reads this….)

    I’m beyond proving being booze worthy @54. :D

    I’m suggesting cycling, because my partner has been cycling also as part of our lifestyle for past 22 yrs. We don’t have a car.

    He used to share drinks occasionally, several times per wk. after work with work colleagues.

  44. I am entering my comment here as I did not see a place on your blog on asthma. It was excellent. Had it for many years and I too conquered it. But your analysis was absolutely grand. I too took the diet method. I lost ninety pounds due to a stroke and a side feature was a reduction in my need for an inhaler. I also cut out a lot of processed foods which seemed to trigger my problem. I do not enjoy smoking around me. I feel it is a trigger. Now I breathe better and have a better life. I am so glad to hear you got over it also and I hope your post will activate others to do the same.

  45. I’ve never been a big drinker, but I’ve found that alcohol significantly increases my anxiety levels and ability to cope with anxiety. Good post! It made me think about what alcohol does to you on a day-to-day basis.

  46. Great experiment nice blog

  47. Thanks for writing this—it’s very good. And congrats on that first draft and getting FP!

  48. Really enjoyed reading this. I’m doing the same thing with technology right now. Though I have to say, the idea of a writer who doesn’t drink is definitely anti-stereotype! :-p

    • Do it with everything. Let go completely. It is like flying.

      All external contact and sources of distraction. They are there for a reason.

  49. Reblogged this on sweetmelissa1954 and commented:
    fascinating

  50. What a great post! Has made me think that I might do the same thing!

  51. About one month and a half ago I also stopped drinking alcohol (for different reasons, no books here). I changed from about 3 or 4 large beers and a few shots of vodka a day (or lets say 4 or 5 evenings a week) to almost nothing (about 2 beers a week). Unfortunately I can’t make a comparison between these two periods like you, because I’ve moved from a vibrant city to a sleeping village. This change of location has had effect on my nutrition, sport, out-going (virtually non-exiting now), … So I don’t know what change comes from what. But I’m sure it’s healthier to set the alcohol aside for a moment ;)
    Good luck with the book!

    • Your motives for the change are correct. Now all you need is the knowledge of the act involved in the exporation of your mind and actions, and you will practically be free from the outside influences. Their validity drops like a falling curtain.

      I look forward to further exchanges

      • I hope to move back to the city as fast as possible and enjoy the pleasures of hanging out with friends, live music and alcohol!

        • Then your words, intentions and existence are wasted on the mindless activities you are ‘supposed’ to follow.

          You have found your pointless place, as you were supposed to. How is it to be so predictable?

          • Maybe I’m as predictable as a wanna be new age hippie… But that’s ok, isn’t it, my dear friend jdomp ;)?

            • The Truth walks away from igorance. It is incompatible.

            • Your true Self will reveal itself through the bursts in the socially constructed and culturally fortified prison we all live in. It opens the path to a spiritual re-awakening and even re-existing as an outer- and interconnected being within the ultimate Being. I’m having a jolly good time with this, but a beer at a nice bar would be even better!

            • Hahaha nice one :D

            • Wannabe new age hippie. What a well considered response.

  52. 40 days being sober, quite an achievement. I think that calls for a celebratory toast!

  53. I love the title of this post and the idea of the blog:)

  54. Great inspiring post.Thank you for the efforts to post the article.jalal

  55. katdrennan

    I loved that you took such an objective measure of your reaction to zero alcohol. I usually do this as a motivator to getting back to my desired weight–which I now realize–is a double whammy: No craft beer and no chips and salsa, my two favorite foods. Might work better the way J.D. used it: to motivate finishing my first drafts in timely manner!

  56. I have a question, for you all in fact.

    When you convince yourself you can have/need/want a drink, who do you talk to in your head? Who needs convincing? Where does the voice stem from, and who is judging anyway?

  57. This is admirable. I tried the moderation management route but I couldn’t follow through. I lack discipline. And self control.

  58. Ill be doing the same challenge but for 30 days

  59. I used to take booze frequently too… not in excess or everyday but I do crave for a glass of wine occasionally after work to unwind. But now that I work out at the gym or go for Yoga classes almost everyday after work, I don’t find a need to grab a drink anymore :) Couldn’t quit a-coffee-a-day-habit though.. Btw I really enjoy your post! Good luck on your novel ! :D

  60. I have been drinking since I was 14 years old, have always made it to work and always have been a productive member of society. I think the longest I have gone without a drink in 30 years is 30 days on a bet from a girlfriend. You are my inspiration to go for 40 days…….Thanks, Roy.

    • Sadly my friend your alcoholism is evident. That does not say you are not a productive member of societyiat least for now in your early forties. But let s ask your close family members and coworkers the real extent of the long terms effects your depends to alcohol has caused on your health, efficiency and estability and your life in general and what is evident will happened in the future to you and your life if you keep up like this. Best to your selfanalysis and liberation from alcohol dependancy.

  61. Thorough stuff J.D.; good going.

  62. I drink once, maybe twice a year. To do so more often would cause me great anxiety, having been raised in a home of two alcoholics. I’m not against drinking, I simply know I can’t do it often.
    Kudos to you on becoming, Freshly Press! Enjoyed your article, greatly.

  63. Sounds like cutting back is a good idea for you! I’ve found that organic wines are better for me as far as digestion and breathing go. There are some pretty good ones out there now.
    Congrats on the FP! Hope you can keep up with your comments & followers!

  64. I found it educating, i did not know about stress levels being related to gut bacteria. So net net is it good to not drink or is it ok to drink a glass of wine in terms of reducing stress? Would love to know more. for now i’m going to read about gut bacteria.

  65. Such a captivating blog, really enjoyed reading it. I’m new to blogging this gives me a concept of how to do it :)

  66. Love the post! Follow me yeah? Awesome yep.

  67. Awesome insight J.D.

  68. I am completely a social drinker – I drink only on weekends (or the odd occasion when invited out for dinner during the week).
    But, saying that, I often drink to excess on weekends, which I’m sure is terrible for my body in the long run.
    I’ve never thought about quitting drinking for any period of time, because I only drink on weekends… well done on your 40 days!

  69. As long as you don’t see alcohol as a problem….as long as you believe what the man that makes the booze says, and the government allows the poison to be sold to numb your senses, you will never see the Truth.

  70. Stop drinking forever. The only thing stopping you is your ego. The sickness in humanity.

  71. How about fixing the ‘need’ for the drink in the first place. It’s like talking to kids!

    Only ‘followers’ mess about with symtoms.

  72. Great post…really liked the way you segmented the different physical and societal changes during your experiment…very inspirational.

  73. thebestreuben

    This is really interesting, and very true. I don’t think people realize how much they count on a having a drink in their hand after work and the effects that is has on their “wind down” time. Good luck with your goals!

  74. Fascinating post! I recently wrote about the fact that my kids think I’m an alcoholic because I don’t drink http://wp.me/p1sXPw-Vw and the reasons why I don’t, so this was right on time. I never really thought about the unwinding assistance part. So many people in real life and online talk about the end of the day drink, and they so relish it and it is part of their persona. That is when I sometimes feel like I’m missing out and maybe my inability to relax at the end of the day is fueled by my lack of having a drink in my hand. I love drinking songs, though . . . I feel like I can relate though I don’t do it. I digress . . . Anyway, I think I need to find a way to relax in the evening that’s not just about abstaining from the things I might want to do — like get online or watch TV. Socially, drinking alcohol or even talking about getting or having a drink, is something that relaxes people and bonds people, from all walks of life. Both a high-powered corporate executive and her friend, a stay-at-home-mom can relate to just wanting to get in some sweats and have some wine on a Friday night. I tend to think that some people don’t drink as much as they say they do, though.

    I sometimes go to music venues and in support of the establishment providing live music I think it is important to buy something there. So, one drink will do it (can’t have more since I’m driving) but it makes me angry to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a drink I don’t really want, and if I’m not actually hungry I don’t want to order food I won’t (or shouldn’t) eat.

    I wonder, though. Your post really made me think.

  75. I limit my drinks to two per day. It isn’t the best solution but it does the trick. Have you looked into your glutathione level? That very well may solve your asthma. I had asthma all of my life and have started taking NAC when I found out the level was low.

    http://thorax.bmj.com/content/59/7/569

  76. This entry was very interesting! Thank you for sharing your experience!! The part where you briefly compared the effects of giving up coffee versus alcohol actually touched home for me. I quite coffee and soda in 2004 and went through a heavier withdrawal compared to the times I’ve given up alcohol for lent or yoga immersion. Despite the recurrence of your asthma, it is wonderful that you stuck with your goal of finishing your novel! I’m trying to write a book right now too so maybe I’ll consider no alcohol til it’s done. ^_^ Cheers, the Socalette

  77. I cane across this post in the “freshly pressed” WP page, caught my attention as I am abstaining atm. It’s been roughly a week, so far just fine. I like the idea of a glass of red though a g&t has been a favourite once every blue moon. Had to stop myself from breaking the drought today! I’m planning on continuing til end of August. Thanks for posting your experiences.
    BTW, my brother does no alcohol for one month a year, he chooses february ;)

  78. Drinking in moderation does not make you an alcoholic. I drink 1-2 glasses of wine every evening during dinner. I didn’t know that being parched in the morning was due to the wine, or more specifically, the alcohol. I think I should try this and see how I feel. Great post!

  79. Nice to hear your perspective on this excellent experiment. I have many patients who drink themselves into oblivion daily, and see no good reason to stop. I’m not a drinker so I don’t have personal experience to offer. Maybe I’ll share yours .

  80. Thank you for the comments everyone! I am pleased this post has attracted so much attention, but I am closing comments now — I don’t have the time to moderate.

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