I did the unthinkable – I went 30 days without drinking beer.
Not only that, I went 30 days without drinking any alcohol at all.
You may pick your jaw back up off the floor now.
So why did I do it? It's something I've been planning for a while.
I was trying to think of the last time I went 30 days booze-free. I honestly can't remember (bad sign). Let's just called it a decade and cut it off there.
There wasn't a health emergency or big physical competition coming up. I just felt like detoxing. Another reason is that I began a new weight lifting program (Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength) and wanted to start it off right because the first month is very important. Squats are painful enough without feeling last night's cocktails…
If you're thinking about doing the same thing and are trying to find a good time to do it, there isn't one. You simply need to find the least worst 30 day period. As a homebrewer and someone involved in the beer industry it was especially difficult to block off the time.
I started the 30 days right after my beer trip to Munich. I drank enough there to last a month, so it was the perfect time to start the detox.
Things that suck most about not drinking beer for a month
- Not being able to have a drink when going out for dinner.
- Missing out on festivals. I didn't go to SourFest which killed me.
- The four batches of homebrew that were ready but I couldn't taste.
- No more beer to relax after a long day at work.
- A sober Memorial Day.
In all honesty though, it wasn't that bad. Not as bad as I expected at least. I never got a physical craving for booze (a good sign) or came close to giving in. The reasons mentioned above were the worst part but they were more of a nuisance than a tragedy. With that said, I'll stop complaining and give you…
Things that are good about taking a month off
- You feel healthier.
- You find things to do besides drinking. Yep – I finally went to the museum.
- Figuring out how you're getting home no longer becomes an issue.
- Day drinking doesn't completely wipe out the rest of your day. You can go for a run a night if you want.
- You appreciate beer more. “I'll never take you for granted, beer!”
Overall the experience was worth it. I haven't lost any weight because that wasn't the goal (you're supposed eat a lot and gain weight on the lifting program), but I feel great both mentally and physically.
Will I make it a regular thing? I might do it again if I find myself out of shape again with the urge to detox. It's not going to be a regular thing though. I love my beer too much.
Have you ever taken gone beer-free for an extended period of time? Plan on it?