August Challenge: No alcohol

Happy Hour by Enrico Cecotto
At the end of 2020, I've decided to make 2021 a challenging year. I have committed to doing 12 monthly challenges, one for each month. You can see the list of all the challenges here. Below is a summary of the August challenge.

What was the challenge?

Challenge: No alcohol.
Why: This one was supposed to be easy. Recently, I hardly ever drink at all. For the challenge to make sense, I planned it for a summer month when there are more opportunities to drink.

How well did it go?

Challenge completion rate: 100% (31 out of 31)

How hard was it?

At the end of each day, I recorded if I had completed the challenge for the day. I also rated how much effort it took on a scale of 1 to 10. While it's subjective, it gives an idea of how hard it was to complete the challenge.

Average effort score: 1.16
Lowest effort score for the month: 1 (26 times)
Highest effort score for the month: 2 (5 times)

What did I learn from it?

I expected it to be easy but still was surprised by how easy it was. I had practically no desire to drink. I had a fleeting thought to have a beer on a few occasions, maybe, and that was the extent of my desire. During one of the summer months, when it's much easier to want a cold beer than in January or February.

I learned that eliminating alcohol from my life would make almost no difference compared to how much I drink (or don't drink) already. So why bother?

In addition to not having cravings for alcohol, on the rare occasions when it would make sense (like at some party), the fear of the next day's loss is much stronger than a few hours of fun. I don't even remember the last time I was hungover.

Pros

  • No hangover. Easy. No fire = no smoke.
  • Next day not wasted. A few hours of fun for a price of a full day the next day? No, thanks. That doesn't sound like a good trade-off anymore.

Cons

  • A few hours of a little less fun. On rare occasions when there's actually a party. A small child + a worldwide pandemic took care of almost all of those occasions.
  • Some good wines not tasted. Sometimes, a bottle of good wine with friends makes a lot of sense. Not drinking it meant denying myself a little pleasure. I always made sure to smell the wine, though, as a poor substitute for drinking it.

Will I keep doing it?

No. During months when I'm not doing this challenge, I'm still completing it about 90-95% of the time. That's good enough for me, I don't feel the need to push for more.

What's the next month's challenge?

Challenge: One hour of learning every day.
Why: When life gets busy, learning suffers. Unless you specifically make time for it. I want to never stop learning in my life, so I'm making time for it.

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