30…errr 25 Days without Alcohol: A Social Austinite’s Experiment

Not too long ago I decided to give up drinking for 30 days. It was the Monday after ACL weekend to be exact. While a lot of my friends and fellow drinking partners questioned why I was doing such an absurd thing, some of them thought it was great.

This is a bottle of wine I got as a gift. I took this post-it note and wrote “this is for 30 days” to remind myself every time I look in the fridge, of my recent endeavor. It still sits in my fridge, unopened.

When I put my mind to something and I say I am going to do it (and tell everyone, because obviously this helps keep me in check) I do it. When I said, “I am going to run a marathon.” I I joined a team and trained for four months with a friend in college. Finished the Austin Marathon a little over 4hrs. When I said, “I want to live in New York City.” I put my resume out there to every ad agency in NYC asking for an internship, did a project for marketing, made a connection and got an internship, (PAID at that!) lived in Manhattan for a Summer. When it came to moving back to Austin and leaving advertising and starting all over in Real Estate, sure it has taken me longer than expected but the majority of agents drop out within their first two years of Real Estate….and here I still stand.

I firmly believe if you have a positive outlook and good attitude you can do anything you want (money, smarts and time always help, but not a requirement). I know I can put my mind and do anything I want to do…with the exception of flying (I was a kid and saw that movie, The Boy Who Could Fly-talk about confusing for me! But luckily no broken bones)..anyway…

I have had one fantastic past couple of months. Between being busy with Real Estate, networking, meeting so many people, boating on the (low) lake with friends, a Vegas girls trip, spending time on the River, touring condos, Birthday parties galore, (mine included, I celebrate it as if it were a National Holiday), and finally Austin City Limits festival putting a cap on it all–thus it was time, to cleanse my body of alcohol.

Farewell to you delicious margaritas.

Let’s face it. Austin is a drinking town. There are some crazy statistics about Austin and our consumption of alcohol. Princeton Review ranks Austin #10 in Party schools in the nations for 2012. Plus, with UT being a large population in Austin, it doesn’t really help Playboy ranks UT the #1 Party School in the Country. Men’s Health ranks Austin #5: America’s Drunkest Cities. Even if you disregard the bar scene, every function I seem to go to-whether it be for charity, a promotion of a new product or project, even during or after a sporting function-there is always an alcohol sponsor or free booze!! Is that how you have to bribe people to come to an event in this town?! Yes.
Seems like with anything I manage to attend or be apart of alcohol is present. I am a social drinker, but when is it ever going to end. While drinking is certainly fun, there are plenty of drawbacks, here’s a short list I came up with regarding booze:

There are many fun things about drinking, the PROS:
-You become more social!(Great for you shy folks)
-Perhaps more honest
-Dance a little better
-More confidence on the dance floor (shake yo money maker)
-Taste good?
-Makes all food taste better-especially late night Ropollo’s pizza
-Puts a permanent blush to the cheeks!
-You somehow scored 5 new facebook friends
-You can get in to all your local favorite bars with a high-five vs your ID
-You are maybe funnier (this isn’t for everyone)

The Cons of alcohol:
-You become more social
-Perhaps it makes you more honest
-More confidence on the dance floor (Mom! You’re embarrassing me!)
-Eat after drinking, late night (not good for you)
-Bad for your liver
-Don’t fall into REM sleep, thus get a lack of “real” sleep=tired in the am
-Drunk texting (or friend takes your work phone and texts your boss thinking it is someone else and it is NOT funny come Monday morning)**
-Next day all you want is hangover food. Which does not equate to a grilled chicken salad light on the dressing
-Cabs are expensive
-DWIs are REALLY expensive
-Tabs are expensive
-Sleeping in your car is not comfortable
-You start to become a regular at Magnolia, Kerbey Lane or 24 Diner
-Because you are a regular you now are expected to tip larger and take more shots
-Oh the calories. One vodka drink alone is around 110 calories-that doesn’t include the flavored types, mixers and all the other shots included for the night
-Your health
-Usually a bad night can end in an electronic device lost, broken or stolen or worse: high-jacked with all your friends being texted random things you would never say**
-Forget who you meet or what you talked about at times (I hate that!)
-Feel like complete crap the next day and prohibits your work productivity
-During your Saturday morning kickboxing class everyone can smell the alcohol seeping through your pores and question if you are OK**

** denotes stories that have happened to me or my friends, inquire within for laughs…

I could go on…but you get the idea.
And that list above is the reason I decided to stop drinking for 30 days.

Day 1: Monday 9.19
I was hungover, had a friend take me to my car DT, thus delaying the work I needed to be doing. Then I got back on track. I was feeling empowered… with a headache. It was final-I told my close pals: This begins Day 1 NO DRINKING!

Day 3: Wednesday 9.21
I had dinner with friends and went to an Austin Restaurant week kick off party. They had drinks, I did not, it was easy-there was no real reason for me to have alcohol. I was strong.

Day 6: Saturday

With clients all day and Anderson Cooper called, so I worked on stuff for the show. Couldn’t get drunk in my video! Had so much other stuff going on.

Day : Monday 9.26
I was actually flown to NYC to be on Anderson Cooper, I didn’t really need to drink because I ran Central Park, had work to do and lots of stuff going on…plus it was a Monday, no need to drink on a Monday. Half marathon training in full effect.

Day 10: Wednesday 9.28
I was feeling STRONGLY tempted to have a cocktail after the taping of Anderson Cooper. ha. Wasn’t exactly what I had thought, but no need to have one, really.

Day 11: Thursday 9.29
We had a kickball game. Usually I don’t drink during the games. That was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. We do drink after.
I am a social butterfly. I can still go out and drink without alcohol… right? It was fine. I also nearly broke my nose that night….alcohol wouldn’t have helped.

{Side note: I don’t have to function on 8hrs of sleep per night. I am not sure why. I’d love to get that, I never do, but I thought not drinking would help me get more sleep, it in fact, did not. As I would still go out with friends and step into: “mommy mode.” Making sure my girlfriends all got home ok which also meant hanging with them in line at 2:30am at a taco stand on West 6th (You’re Welcome, Lindsey!)}

Day 15: Monday 11.3
Still holding strong. Each night texting a close girlfriend who was trying to complete a similar goal (Love you, Court!) Had dinner with a girlfriend I needed to catch up with, and participated in Austin Restaurant week again at North.

Day 18: Thursday 11.6
Friends came in from out of town and they all went to Rainey Street. I don’t think I have drank more water (especially when out) in my entire life as I have the past month. We hoola-hooped and played catch phrase, turns out you are way more awesome at both when sober!

Day 19 and 20: the weekend 11.8 and 11.9
I showed condos, went to watch a UT football game (or slaughter, however you’d like to look at it), did an open house, painted my bathroom, updated some finances, took more photos of cows, volunteered, showed houses all over Southwest Austin and knocked out a million things on my to-do list, none of which would have been terribly fun nor easy, had I been hungover. So glad I quit drinking. I thought to myself: Maybe I’ll go 60 days!

Taping off the bathroom wall to paint!

Took Jack for a jog at Lady Bird Lake.

Kayla and I had dinner as her wonderful husband, Eddie worked on my car.

Day 25 came along and I didn’t drink after kickball…but I promised a pal I’d meet up later and be wing-woman. When I told her I still wasn’t drinking, she said, “Come on, you have gone long enough. You proved your point, just have a drink.” And for some reason that validated me enough to think: Yeah I did make a point, learned a lesson, learned a little about myself, time to celebrate and have a glass of champagne. I really did have champagne, only it wasn’t out of a bottle, it is called Sofia and it is out of a can…I am so classy.
Day 26
I regretted the fact I couldn’t make it all the way to 30. Fail. I also was hungover and dehydrated (go figure). This is one of the main reasons I decided to quit, guess I needed the reminder.
However, it made me realize how often I have the opportunity to drink and don’t necessarily “need” to. I did go out several times and drank water while with friends–and while I am social, love meeting new people, having a good laugh and running into people I haven’t seen in a while–…it can get irritating being in a crowded place with loud music and a bunch of idiots dancing around or goofin’ off. It is a much better experience when you are on the other end of the spectrum (one of the idiots dancing or goofing off).
What did I have to learn from all of this?:
-I can easily not drink when I go out-no problem
-I can save a lot of money by not drinking!
-I can save a lot of calories by not drinking!
-I will still get less sleep, but be on the computer for longer (possibly productive or unproductive will depend on my mood)
-I feel better mentally and physically
-I will not clean my apartment, do laundry or dishes instead of drinking, like I thought I would (I will still need to schedule this)
-I cannot go 30 days without alcohol, ha!

Personal challenges are good. Debating on what my next one should be, please help me decide by taking this anonymous survey, click here!
Thanks for reading!