The 28 Longest Days of My Life: Week One

Slow Wine 2015. Photo Esther Szeben. Slow Wine 2015. Photo Esther Szeben.

Anyone who knows me (even a little bit) knows I love me some beer. I love bocks and scotch ales and IPA’s. My favourite social activity is sitting in little dimly-lit pubs on rickety bar stools drinking cold beer from sweaty pint glasses. I even love making my own beer! I’m a beer gal, plain and simple. This isn’t to say that I won’t enjoy a nice red wine on occasion, but beer is my preferred poison. That being said, I’ve done something a wee bit crazy. I’ve sworn off all alcohol for the month of February. No bocks, no scotch ales, no IPA’s. No beer. Not even wine. No alcohol whatsoever. I’m doing it as part of the Jean Lapointe Foundation’s “28 Longest Days of Your Life” Challenge and, even though it has only been a week, it has not been without its tests.

Being a beer-drinker, I tend to surround myself with fellow beer-drinkers. So as one can probably imagine, there’s been a lot of beer-drinking going on around me in the past week. And it has been hard. But it hasn’t been impossible. In fact, it’s been a hell of a lot easier turning down beer than I thought it would be (it’s only the first week, though- ask me in a few). I’ve been staying hydrated with good ol’ fashioned H2O instead and, of course, the occasional soda water (the bubbles, they call to me).

The hardest challenge thus far has been eating out. One night during the week my boyfriend and I decided to go out for dinner at a cool, new-ish restaurant in the Mile End. Once we were seated, I scoured the menu for a non-alcoholic beverage and found none (not that I had much hope, anyway). I asked our waiter about non-alcoholic drinks and he kinda got a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face (I guess they don’t get a lot of 24-year-old women who don’t want booze), searched the drink menu and said, “We could probably do a virgin caesar… Or a lemonade? We could probably do a lemonade.” I opted for the lemonade. As we waited for our drinks, I started feeling a bit panicky. I realized I had entered new terrain. Since I started drinking (approximately a billion years ago), I have never taken a real break from the sauce. The sober side is new for me and it’s a bit scary. I had a restaurant make me a drink that wasn’t even on the menu just because I didn’t want to drink plain old water. This will probably happen again during the month. After questioning whether I’d be comfortable with this for the whole month, my lemonade arrived and it was special and delicious. Lightly carbonated (bubbles!) and really lemony and perfect. And it came in a fancy little glass! I’ll admit, it made me feel a bit special.

This past week hasn’t been all about challenges though; I’ve actually managed to get some stuff accomplished. I somewhat tidied my room (this is a feat and a half), did two loads of laundry on two separate days (I usually wait until I have no underwear left and then try to cram everything into one load) and I went sliding. I actually replaced my usual Saturday night party routine with sliding with a bunch of friends. And, man, it was fun. I even woke up on Sunday morning with what I’ve dubbed a “phantom hangover”. I guess I woke up expecting to be hungover, felt hungover for about five seconds, realized that I hadn’t drank in a week and then felt perfectly fine. It was weird.

All in all, my first week of sobriety went pretty well. It’s nice not waking up groggy and I’m looking forward to what else I can accomplish in my new state. I predict a slight weight loss (beer is empty calories, sigh) and a slight money gain (beer costs money, sigh). Though there are tons positives to look forward to this month, I’m still pretty happy that February is only 28 days long. Onward and upwards!