The many epiphanies I didn't have from giving up drinking for Lent

April 1, 2013

In February I made the bold proclamation that I'd give up drinking for Lent. I'm proud to say that aside from a few shots of Nyquil from when I wasn't feeling well, I made it through the entire season. I was fairly certain I'd learn a few things about my relationship with alcohol and my own body during this time and I did. In that I didn't.

1. Giving up drinking was easier than I expected. Just saying "I gave up drinking for Lent" out loud helped establish what I was doing and nobody questioned it in social settings. I confirmed that I can go out with friends and have a good time drinking Diet Coke and not wine. It was a lot cheaper, too.

2. But it also never got any easier over the long haul. I figured the longer I went without liquor the less I would miss it, but that was not the case. On Friday nights, especially, at the end of a long week, I badly missed unwinding with my husband in the kitchen over some wine. Even in the last days of Lent I had to give myself pep talks, saying what a shame it would be to come that far just to blow it.

3. It did not make me feel substantially better. This was a big surprise. I figured that without liquor I would hop out of bed in the morning fresh as a daisy, and enjoy a carefree workout unburdened by the slightest tinge of toxins in my system. I figured I'd look and feel as glowy and fit as, say, J.Lo, or another one of those celebs who is saintly and abstains. No go. Getting up in the morning, working out and dragging your body around in general is no easier when you're a teetotaler.

4. Going dry is a terrible diet. I also gave up weighing myself for Lent and figured that by cutting out booze I'd lose at least give pounds. Um, no. I lost zero pounds. In fact, I may have gained a few. Part of this, I admit, was due in part to abstinence-induced eating, the mentality that I could eat more because I was pregnant (I mean abstinent). But, strangely, it felt kind of the same.

5. My tolerance went down. (I was buzzed off my first Easter mimosa at 9 a.m., which I had before I went to my workout class.) But not too down. I had a few more mimosas during the day, just to keep me going, and while I didn't feel great in the car on the way to brunch, we were also stuck in traffic on Peterson, which would make anyone nauseous. I powered through the day though thanks to some more mimosas.

I'm a little disappointed that giving up alcohol didn't make that much of an impact on my life, but I suppose the upside is that I learned that I don't typically drink enough that it would make a big difference in my life when alcohol is gone. Which is good, because, rather stupidly, I envisioned a reality where my physical state would be so improved by giving up liquor that I'd have to contemplate giving it up for good. So thank god that didn't happen. Now I'm back on the scale and on the sauce. Cheers.

What did you give up for Lent, and how well did you stick to that? Tell me in the comments or @Zulkey

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