I did it. I went a whole month without a beer. So yeah, I feel a bit like a Rocky training montage. And now, I going to answer questions I’m pretending you asked.
So how was it?
Well, the first week was hard. That first week seemed to go on forever. But then it got easier. I slept well, lost more than three kilograms (might have been more than four but a creeping flu that came on this week meant no exercise was done) and, most importantly, proved to myself that it was I and not beer that was in control.
Yep. The big one was that I actually did it. To be honest I figured there would come a time in this month where I’d crack and go ‘‘ahh, who cares? Two weeks without a beer is still pretty good’’. But it didn’t happen. I’m also surprised at how easy it was. There were no serious moments where I had to restrain myself from having a beer. I was able to visit breweries without succumbing, buy beer at bottle shops without opening one and look through homebrew recipes to work out what I should brew next. I was even able to take hydrometer readings of that homebrew without being tempted to taste the sample afterwards. I really expected it to be much harder than it was.
Another surprise was how I felt during the last week. At the start I expected to spend that week staring at the calendar, wishing the days to go faster so I could have a beer. But that didn’t happen. I wasn’t champing at the bit for March 1 to arrive and, had the calendar police (if there was such a thing) came along and said ‘‘Sorry, we’re adding another week to February’’ it wouldn’t really have bothered me.
So when are you having a beer?
To be honest, I don’t know. I’ve blogged previously about how, on the first day after a dry month, I reckon heaps of people are sweating on the chance to have a beer or a wine. To the pre-dryathlete me that didn’t seem like the right attitude at all – they’d just spent a month not drinking, was that time off really that unbearable that they can’t wait to get a beer into them?
Well, the post-dryathlete me now wonders if people are actually sweating on that first beer. I know I’m not. I won’t be cracking the top off a coldie at one second past midday. Maybe it’ll be at some time in the afternoon. Maybe it’ll be after dinner. The only thing I do know is I’ll have a beer today, sometime. Maybe. No, it will be some time today.
I do know for sure what that first beer will be – Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale. I think my palate has become clearer and sharper (and other dryathletes have told me that’s what happens to them too) so I wanted to pick a beer I love that has some great flavours. I want to see if I can detect any more depth of flavour in a Pacific Ale when I have a clean palate. Though this flu I have might just wreck my palate’s chances of picking up much of anything.
And tomorrow I’ll likely drink the new S&W Garden Ale and then the Mad Brewers release – they sent them for me to review last month so I figure I should get around to that this weekend.
So what happens next?:
Well, the plan is to change my drinking patterns. After all, part of the point of a dry month was to see if it would help recalibrate things. In the last few weeks I’d been tossing up a few plans. I thought about not drinking for the first seven days of each month but opted against it, because I figured those seven days would go as slowly as the first week of my dry month. I didn’t want to go through that 12 times a year.
Then I thought I’d drink on the weekends and maybe have one beer on one or two weekdays. But I didn’t like the idea of having alcohol on more days of the week than not. So I opted for the good old Weekday Wagon. It means no beer on Monday through Thursday. But on those nights I do have a few beers, the idea is to monitor things, to take it easy and enjoy the beers rather than not pay any attention while I drink them.
My decision to wind back my Untappd obsession will probably help here. Previously too much of my approach to beer revolved around racking up unique check-ins. So I might have four or more different beers in a night, just for the points. But now that I don’t plan to worry so much about that, I’m hoping the urge to churn through a lot of beers will go away.
And, long-term, I might even do this all again next February. But with a day or two off for special occasions. I’ve proven to myself that I can go a whole month without a beer, so I can go a little easier next time.
But having taken a month off, I can appreciate the need for a break for a few weeks. Hell, I even liked it a bit.
Categories: No beer til March