Today is August 31st. To most people, that doesn’t matter – but to me, it is the end of Alcohol-Free August! There were definitely nights when I thought this day would never come (see: last weekend when I was at a beer garden in Astoria and actually ended up drinking a disgusting O’Doul’s because I was so desperate for some hops). But now that it’s finally here, I’m kind of… meh.
The original plan for tonight was to go out to a nice dinner with BF to celebrate making it all the way through the month. (But I would like it noted for the record that he cheated and drank several times, while I did not have a sip of alcohol at all this month. Winner, right here!) After dinner, we’d go home and watch a movie (our favorite Alcohol-Free August activity), and then at midnight, pop a bottle of one of my favorite champagnes, Castello Banfi’s Rosa Regale. Low-key, but still a good way to start reintroducing ourselves to alcohol – especially since we have some pretty heavy-drinking events planned later in the weekend.
We’re still sticking to the first part of our plan – volunteering at a local animal shelter to help walk the dogs – but I think we’ve scrapped the fancy dinner part, and I know I haven’t yet gone to the wine shop to pick up anything special. Honestly? I don’t feel the need to drink tonight. Today has been a fairly uneventful day at work, and the storms yesterday had the side benefit of allowing me to get home at a reasonable hour instead of at midnight or later… so I’m actually feeling pretty relaxed, alcohol-free. (Let’s not talk about the fact that I crave alcohol when I’m stressed, which I know is not a good thing.)
Oddly enough, though, I think that my not wanting a drink tonight fits in pretty well with what I’ve learned this month. Just because you are in a setting where you can drink, doesn’t mean you need to. (Conversely, there may be very inappropriate times when you are desperate for a drink – like in many of the meetings I’ve had in the past two weeks at work – and you can’t have one.) Maybe it’s stupid that it took me a month of forcing myself not to drink to recognize this, but it honestly is a change for me to realize that just because I’m going to a bar/beer garden/house party where everyone else is drinking doesn’t mean I have to drink. I’ve long struggled with feeling peer pressured to drink at business dinners/events, but the last month has strengthened my willpower and resolve, so now if I don’t feel like drinking, I think I’m going to be strong enough to just keep saying no until people stop bugging me about it.
As luck would have it, some of that willpower may actually come into play tomorrow, when I’m going to spend the day at a bar watching college football. The bar in question doesn’t seem to have a great beer list, and while a week ago I was just so excited at the idea of drinking something – anything! – I’m now starting to think about what’s “worth it” to me to drink… and Blue Moon may not be it. I’m already planning on going to the extraordinary Belgian Beer Fest next weekend in Boston, so perhaps I’ll hold off until then and either have cocktails or something completely non-alcoholic. The freedom to choose is certainly not a bad thing!
Now… Sugar-Free September? I like this “one month to try a major change” thing, though I’m not sure if sugar is really what I want to focus on. (Plus, I’m going to my sorority sister’s wedding this weekend and I hear her cake is going to be delicious!) Perhaps I’ll start the new month a bit late, once I have some time to think about it.