Surviving an alcohol-free month

For the month of January Health24 reader Murray Turner decided to stop drinking alcohol for a month. Now he has reached the end of it, read how it went:

So, here I am. One month later having gone through 31 days with not a drop of alcohol having passed my lips. Have I changed? Sure, I’m 5 kilos lighter, have the tolerance of a horribly undernourished field mouse, and have paid off the Christmas season without having to dip into the Nkandla fund. The same can be said for the others that took part in #wagon31, an incentive to give up alcohol for the month of January.

Was it hard? You know, the first week is definitely the first hurdle to get through. The thought of not having a drink for a whole month when you’ve made such a habit of it can be a daunting one. You find the statement “how hard could it be?” to have been your famous last words.

After that however things get much easier.  You now find your rhythm, and take on the challenge with newfound vigor. You start realizing you are sleeping far better, waking up far fresher and that Saturdays are kicking off closer to dawn than sometime around midday. Rediscovering the weekend, brilliant!

The thought of going for that long without a drink is almost alien to some. Reasons vary from “I need alcohol to grow a personality” to “not drinking in January! What about the sun, events, and that wedding?” Here’s the thing though, you can make an excuse for any month. And to the personality comment, if ever you give it a go you may just surprise yourself, you are unlikely to be that boring. We ran #wagon31 as a community so we knew we were not alone and that definitely helped make us feel less like outcasts.

I survived the gauntlet, came through it in one piece and feel pretty good for having done it. When thinking of something like this you cannot make excuses. You’re either the guy on the side of the pool wondering how cold it is, and inevitably not jumping in, OR, you are going to be the guy that takes the plunge immediately only to realize it’s not as bad as you expected.

We raised somewhere in the region of R7k for The Pebbles Project through pledges and can only hope to have it grow in the future. If anyone would like to make a donation through the initiative please do so using details provided on the website.

Here’s to #wagon31 in 2014, cheers!

Visit the Wagon31 website here.


4 comments on this post.
  1. Adele:

    Good for you for making a plan and sticking to it. I feel like I have learned something from you – to place a time on a health goal rather than being more vague.

  2. pshemeck:

    Well done! Congratulations to all of you who have managed to stay away from alcohol for the whole of January!
    I have been abstinating for more then 4 years now, although I do have a beer here and there, the need for alcohol disappears once you realise what you have been missing (beautiful fresh air early in the morning, restful and relaxing sleep, etc. etc.).
    I just hope you manage to keep it going to longer then just 1 month…Good luck!


    I think the guys at Lead SA should replicate this initiative at a national level. Conngradulations on keeping beer free for a month, a step in the right direction, hope and pray u can keep up the momentum

  4. VitaminPete:

    Things do indeed get easier. Major congrats on the achievement!

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