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How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days
December 5, 2017
by Olena

How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days

by Olena

How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days and What Happened - reasons why I wanted a change, my fears, the process, takeaways from living a sober mom's life for a month and where I am at now. | ifoodreal.com

I love wine! We all know I love wine, for Pete’s sake. Wine has been present in my life every weekend for years. You know how people can’t live without sugar, I can’t live without wine. I, myself, can’t believe I am writing about how I stopped drinking wine for a month, or the fact that I’m doing it (it is merely Day 10 without wine as I’m writing this paragraph), or that I actually did it. So if you have recovered from the shock of this turn of events in my life, welcome back and keep on reading.

I believe I do not have a problem. I think I just created this bad habit drinking wine every weekend. However, there are 2 types of wine drinkers:

#1. Like Alex – who doesn’t care if it’s Saturday and he is not drinking wine.

#2. Like Olena – who at the words “no wine” on a Saturday night gets these big eyes and a broken heart.

Being a very self conscious and honest person with my own self, I have been thinking about above mentioned facts lately. I know I’m more “addicted” to wine than my husband, even though I have a full right because I’m a mother. I am a mom drinker, I know many other mom drinkers, however I have known and know enough people who overuse alcohol. “Who am I?” question has been bugging me lately (I would be lying if I said a month in Mexico had nothing to do with this decision). I believe some people have more addictive personality, and some lesson before mentioned. I’m in the middle. I quit smoking, I stopped eating processed foods, I can exercise. So, I can do it if I want to. But do I have a problem with not drinking wine?

After coming back from Mexico where we have been moderately drinking every day, I had a feeling deep inside of me that I need to cut back. I swear I didn’t Google anything but one night this post popped up on Pinterest. I have read it with big interest and it made me think about my own relationship with wine. Completely unprepared and scared to quit alcohol for a year, I decided just to stop drinking without an occasion, which in a few days turned into not drinking for 30 days challenge, and later on into a crazy desire to document and share this journey with you. As I am “growing up”, I’m “cleaning up” my life. I have tackled the diet issue (almost), I’m pretty content with materialistic things I have, I am dealing with “skeletons” in my closet, and now I feel like I need to sort out my relationship with alcohol.

My Relationship with Wine

  • Frequency: Not every night, about 3-4 times a week. Writing this down alone is shocking.
  • Amount: 1-2 glasses or about half a bottle.
  • Occasion: Friday because it is Friday, hello?! Saturday because it is Saturday, hello again?! Sunday because tomorrow is Monday, ugh! During the week because it was a hard day, sure! Vacation – every day because it is vacation. You get the idea.

How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days and What Happened - reasons why I wanted a change, my fears, the process, takeaways from living a sober mom's life for a month and where I am at now. | ifoodreal.com

Reasons

  1. Weight: The biggest bad ass reason to cut back on alcohol is my growing ass. YES! No matter how healthy I eat, how much I work out, if I keep drinking this much, it is equivalent to running on a hamster wheel. Unless I work out every day like crazy which I do not feel like doing at ALL.
  2. Energy: Alcohol makes me tired, even 2 glasses of wine make me way less productive the evening of drinking and the day after.
  3. Headache: Wine gives me a headache. 1 glass is OK but truth is who stops at a 5 oz glass?! No, let me rephrase – what mom pours 5 oz in a first glass?! Fun is just beginning and I have to stop?! Are you crazy?
  4. Sleep: On the nights I drink wine, my sleep is followed with anxiety and is not as deep. Result is more or less tired, unproductive and a bit grumpy Olena.
  5. Mood: The day I learnt that alcohol actually is a depressant from my friend Jenn who is a psychologist, changed my life forever. And it’s true. Every time I drink wine I think about it and I can totally see how I’m more unhappy when I drink – I’m happy for the first 2 hours but then that feeling of guilt and unbalanced hormones overtakes me. And guess what? Wine hasn’t solved any of problems YET.
  6. Fear: Lately, I noticed that fun things in life don’t seem as fun without a glass of wine. Am I missing out on some life experiences with my kids and husband because of wine? I need to be honest with myself before it is too late.
  7. Envy: I noticed I started looking around and asking myself “That person is enjoying life, looks happy and I know he/she is not drinking”. And it makes me totally jealous! I want to be THAT person. I know  if I’m feeling that way, there is an issue that needs attention. YES.

Fears

  1. Lack of Fun: Will I still be able to have fun at social gatherings and in life without wine? What will I do for so many hours without a buzz?
  2. Replacing with Sugar: Every single human being needs a way to relax and indulge. Many people turn to sugar or food in general when they are trying to quit a bad habit. Where as I didn’t care about desserts for years because I knew I was already drinking wine, I’m scared to replace wine with sugar because of the weight point above. I’m not scared of turning to smoking cigarettes (already an issue of the past), or marijuana (tried that, did nothing for me, smell alone makes me run), or even drugs (I’m well past that stage) but sugar is a concern.
  3. Uncertainty: What is next for me in life? What happens next? How am I going to live without something that has been part of my blood since I was a teenager?

Goal

The goal of this challenge is not to quit alcohol forever but to be HAPPY aka to break a bad habit!

How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days and What Happened - reasons why I wanted a change, my fears, the process, takeaways from living a sober mom's life for a month and where I am at now. | ifoodreal.com

Process

Day 1 – 8 Without Wine

I decided to approach this challenge by taking day by day. As I “grow up”, I find this strategy along with “go to sleep and tomorrow will be better” working quite well for me. Also keeping busy always distracts me and I’m sure many of you can relate – I’m redecorating our living room so endless shopping trips to Homesense are keeping me occupied and away from wine, harmful for my wallet more than wine but not really because we get to enjoy the space I spent money on for years to come vs. sitting in uncomfortable leather couches and not reading due to lack of lamps. And by the way, I sold our old decor and furniture on Craigslist and new furnishings cost me only $500. Ha!

First Friday: First 4 days were easy because I started the challenge on Monday. Friday rolled in and I had a tiny concern about the night, especially since it was Good Friday – a day off, but I ended up painting a door all day and then in the evening Alex made dinner, we went for a walk and watched TV. First Friday without wine was totally OK although I had “a wine devil” whispering into my ear for some time.

First Saturday: We left our house early, took Skytrain and spent all day in Vancouver taking boys to the Science World, drinking coffee in a boutique coffee shop, walking along the ocean in False Creek, and shopping for a new mattress. When we got home at 9PM exhausted, kids went to bed and me and Alex watched TV a bit. It was way past my usual “wine hour” of 6-7PM, so I was totally OK.

First Social Gathering: Sunday happened to be Easter Sunday and my friend Katie invited us for a turkey dinner. Imagine beautiful sunny day, over 20 people, women are chatting and cooking in a gorgeous kitchen, men drinking beer on the patio, kids running around. Honestly, I was concerned how I will do without wine where everybody is enjoying alcohol, but I can’t say I was terrified. Remember, we are all “growing up” eventually. I did perfectly fine enjoying this beautiful day, amazing food and great people. We got home near 9PM and me and Alex went for a walk because spring air is just SO GOOD right now.

Guess what happened on Easter Monday? I woke up at 9:40AM! Something I haven’t done since I was 20ish and pre-kids.

I haven’t worked out much during this period because I don’t feel like it. Instead, I have been going for 4K walks by myself or with Alex, in the evening, inhaling wonderful spring air of Vancouver. It is so gorgeous outside! I eat the same healthy normal. I have been eating more dark chocolate though, 75% and 85% one.

Day 9 – 14

Weeknights: No problems. I think “the wine devil” is leaving my shoulder, I swear. However, I have enjoyed more than my usual share of dark chocolate and ice cream during the week, which I saw on my face in a form of acne. Sugar + ovulation = not a good mix for hormones.

Friday Night: My sugar cravings have subsided. We went to a friend’s house and I had club soda and a tiny bit of treat.

Saturday: We went to Costco at night, had a nice hot tub after dinner and watched TV. Honestly, this was the day I started thinking I can live without wine because Alex was drinking next to me and I could care less eating my organic strawberries. Wohoo.

Sunday: No problem at all. Wow, is it me or is it really me?!

Day 15 – 22

What a week of celebrations! It was Alex’s Birthday on Tuesday, Mom’s Night on Friday and my friend’s huge Birthday party on Saturday. Making it 2 weeks without wine, I honestly wasn’t very concerned how am I going not to drink wine!!! Even a year ago, not to mention 5 years, I would have been very upset to celebrate anything without wine. On a scale of 1 to 10, I craved wine at 3 during these events. Most shocking part to me was that I still managed to have a ton of fun with laughs, great food and a bit of dessert.

I am starting to think I really do not have a problem and that new life is ahead of me, when we do not drink wine every weekends. I am really enjoying not to wake up with a headache and be present every moment. I’m not going crazy on sugar but I’m having my treats – a bit of chocolate ice cream, a chocolate bar or a small slice of cake, without any guilt since I’m avoiding hundreds (honestly close to a thousand) of empty wine calories each week. Sweet!

I got my period this week and it was shockingly not painful, which has been the case for the past 5 years. First 2 days are usually followed by excruciating cramps. This time barely any pain. Hm, I have found that dysmenorrhea’s symptomps can get worse from alcohol. I also didn’t feel bloated. Overall I feel less bloated every day now. Let’s see what happens next month.

I feel super energetic and productive. So productive, we decided to go on a road trip to San Francisco.

Day 23 – 30

As it is Day 30 of me not drinking even a drop of alcohol, I don’t think I even have much to say except what I have already said last week – it is FINE. I feel totally fine not to drink. I would like to have a drink if it is an occasion, but I’m not going to drink tonight to celebrate the end of the challenge, in case you are wondering. Nope, no desire. Because it’s just fine. I’m content with Netflix, chocolate, a walk, and a book.:)

How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days and What Happened - reasons why I wanted a change, my fears, the process, takeaways from living a sober mom's life for a month and where I am at now. | ifoodreal.com

Takeaways

  1. Life Is Fun Without Alcohol: Life can be and is amazing without wine if I’m genuinely happy with my life. Wow, seriously, not drinking wine made me brave enough to see a counsellor and to deal with past and present issues. Parties are fun without wine if I’m hanging out at the right parties. By the age of 35, I do seriously evaluate the company I’m hanging out with as time is precious and I’m simply more content to read a book or watch a show if a partying crowd is not my crowd. I think we can all agree on that. I proved myself I do not have an addiction and moving forward I would like to enjoy a glass of wine celebrating a birthday, going out for dinner with Alex or at Christmas. I would be OK to not drink every weekend because it is a weekend but I’m going to enjoy a glass of this beautiful wine with friends at dinner on Saturday.
  2. Weight Loss: I did lose 2-3 lbs. I didn’t have a scale when I started, but I can feel my clothes is fitting more loose. Simple math: 1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories, 4 weekends no wine = 4 x 1,000 calories saved. There you go.
  3. No Fitness: I didn’t workout past month. That is a whole new post in itself.
  4. Increased Energy: There are seriously barely any bad days. Even my period was way less painful. I am full of energy.
  5. Improved Sleep: Hello deep sleep without anxiety when my mind is spinning trying to remember that I didn’t drink a bottle of wine at a night club dancing all night, so how come I feel like crap and can’t sleep?!
  6. Better Mood: Hello, balanced hormones. Seriously, I’m way less irritable, just ask Alex.
  7. It Is Easier to Be Healthy: Well it is. The biggest part is that I feel way less bloated. Another big thing is that I do not crave salty greasy foods the day after I drank a few glasses of wine. Again, hello balanced hormones.

Life is an ever changing landscape. We grow, we learn, we laugh, we cry. It is all OK as long as we are honest with ourselves. Life is a beautiful thing if you are brave enough to look at the core of what really makes you happy and go for it. Denying or delaying your feelings won’t solve the problem, just like a glass of wine will not do the trick either. But if a glass of wine makes you happy and helps to relax, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! If you are having doubts about your alcohol consumption (like I did), I highly recommend to complete this 30 Day No Wine challenge – you will learn A TON about yourself! And I will be brave and say this – if you can’t live without alcohol for 30 days, probably it is a good idea to seek professional help. I honestly would have, before it was too late. IMHO.

So, cheers to this amazing life!

P.S. I think I will report some time in June how next 30 days will go. 🙂

How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days and What Happened - reasons why I wanted a change, my fears, the process, takeaways from living a sober mom's life for a month and where I am at now. | ifoodreal.com

62 comments on “How I Stopped Drinking Wine for 30 Days

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  1. I totally relate to all the facts you listed I have a very similar relationship with wine 3 nights of the week and it makes me feel awful but I still keep drinking it, I really want to try 30 days and by reading how you coped so well o might just try it ! Thank you for being so honest x

  2. I am happy that you wrote about this! It’s so easy to drink a bottle a night( 2 large glasses) and get stuck in this cycle. I don’t like the pounds as I get older and I don’t like how it makes me miss out and feel bad in general. Thank you for inspiring me to cut back too!!

  3. Great post. I relate so much to you…and wine is my bestie currently. What an evil lady she is. I think it’s time to reconstruct my adult self and this post made me feel like I can 🙂 Thank you.

  4. Wow! Very encouraging!! I can take it or leave it—however, there are times when I take it! But it really doesn’t make it any better! The guilt is so overwhelming! And the headaches! I’m ready to just leave it!

  5. This was extremely helpful for me as i was browsing articles for tips on reducing alcohol reduction. thank you very much for taking the time to write this. God Bless

  6. Love this post! I have struggled with my wine intake now for many years, I have done what you did and stopped drinking for several weeks then decided I could have just one glass and am back to drinking the bottle again! I do find myself irritated, annoyed with my kids/ husband, and find every excuse to have a glass at 5pm. Today I was inspired to read your blog because I know deep down that things are better without alcohol. Thank you for being real and honest, I am truly motivated to do your 30 DAY CHALLENGE! I will let you know how it goes!

  7. I have NEVER posted before but HAD to say THANK YOU to all who have told their wine stories. I LOVED wine. I still do and yet I HATE it! Like many have posted, one glass has become one bottle. And the food that follows? Holy cow! I eat healthy all day and then garbage as the wine takes over:( ARGH!!! I am so thankful for all of your honesty! I don’t feel alone with my love/hate relationship with wine. You have all inspired me to know I can quit! I admit that in the last few years of developing this habit has stemmed greatly from divorce, empty nest and living alone. Time to quit the pity party with wine and take care of myself! You are all an inspiration to me! I have bookmarked this page and will read it daily as I move forward. I hope I can find an enjoyable replacement, lol? THANK YOU, AGAIN…

    1. Big hug to you, Ruth! You are definitely not alone in this! I have done exactly what you do many times. And truth is if I were going through what you are I would do the same. I have a crazy fear of an empty nest. I work on it lol. I learnt about wine that it seems like impossible to stop but once you get over the hump of a few weeks or months, you are like not craving it at all. I quit smoking years ago and it was the same story. There is always light at the end of the tunnel and good things start happening when you take charge of your life. xoxo

    2. Wow I can definitely relate! I have a love hate relationship with wine. Following my separation, moving and now living on my own I feel wine taking a centre stage coping with my unresolved issues

  8. Drank a bottle of my favorite cab last night just so I could get through laundry. Now, the morning after, I’m googling how to stop drinking wine. Like you, I workout and eat healthy but still have gut problems because of my daily wine intake. So happy I came across this inspiring post! Congrats on your win! I’m trying this, starting TODAY. 💜💜💜💜

    1. Been there, done that, totally understand. It takes a few weeks to get rid of this habit and once you get over the hump you will be fine. You can do it. You will be like how could I even want that… Puzzles, books and walks help. And tea while doing laundry or bubbly!

  9. I so needed this. I am a healthy 48 year old woman. My biggest battle is wine! I eat well and active but wine is my devil! Not a heavy drinker but a daily one and I’m sick of it!!!! So I am going to let this inspire me! So thank you Darling! Let see how I do!

  10. Wow this is so great! Congratulations and thanks for writing this. I am thinking about following your lead and I appreciate all the honesty, humor and fun in which you shared your experience.

  11. Wow! Thankyou so much for writing this! I can totally relate! I’ve just woken up after indulging in a bottle of white last night feeling like shit, I hate the guilty feeling and memory loss… why do I do it?! I’ve just had over a week free from drink and felt better and didn’t mind it.. then after a long shift at work I felt the ‘need’ for a drink.. planning in only having 2 glasses but then we pour practically a bottle into our 2 glasses don’t we so when I looked at it and saw there was only a bit left I necked that off too.. couldn’t even remember if I’d put my 1 year old to bed.. turns out my husband did.. I have a few social events coming up.. wedding reception saturday night..daughters 1st Birthday party this Monday.. dunno why we drink at kids party’s but we do.. husband’s birthday in a couple of weeks.. and another wedding reception, the thought of not drinking at some of these events actually does scare me.. I know if I don’t drink people are gonna be trying to get me to.. or say I’m boring.. probably even buy me a glass and expect me to drink it.. I can go out and enjoy a glass with a meal and stop there.. but at partys and at home i really do struggle once a bottle is opened!
    I’m frightened to even say this but you have inspired me and I’m gonna take on your challenge! Let’s see if I can face my fears and not touch a drop for 30 days!

    1. Just know that you are not alone. I have experienced your feelings many times. I would say more than half of our population has. Alcohol is so engraved in our social lives. It is a habit. Once you get over the hump of first few weeks it goes easier afterwards. Wine is hard to stop with. You feel so good, it is flowing so smoothly. To be honest I still remember how good I felt after 30 days and now should do it again but a bit scared wit hall the social events etc. But I will do it again. It is important to occupy your time with smth else that brings you joy – read a good book, shopping ,renos, decor etc. and to look forward to it. Then you are not bored and reach for a glass. I hear ya. I appreciate your honesty and know you are not alone.

      1. Thanks for sharing. I woke up today saying if I can’t manage to go 1 week without wine I clearly have a problem.

        Like many of you I don’t drink a lot just everyday. It’s like a alarm goes off at 5pm. Wine and cooking. 1 glass 2 glass. Glass with dinner. Glass watching tv.
        I fall asleep and wake up at 3 am and feel awful. I know it’s from the wine!!!
        It’s 5:45 and I’m wanting so bad to poor that first glass but I’m not going to after reading all you wonderful ladies words.
        🙏 thanks. 12 more hours to go before I wake up and realize I made it thru my first day of zero wine

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