30 Days Sober: Falling Off the Wagon.

Every year, I spend 30 days sober as a judge. Typically, I am alone in this journey. My friends throw back booze while I sit sadly a sugarfree Redbull with the hopes that caffeine will have a similar effect as alcohol. However, this year, after a few too many shots on New Year’s Eve, many of my friends decided to give sobriety a try. Instead of shoveling a 500 word blog post of how awesome I am at being sober down your throats, I am going to let my friends have the spotlight.

The following five lovely individuals gave sobriety a shot. Some were successful, some not so much. Regardless, I applaud their efforts!

Jacob Hamblin, @hamblinj, 28, Arlington: “30 days sober was in one word refreshing for me. I woke up each day feeling pretty good and was fairly productive during the daytime hours with school, work, and workouts. I went out and did the same social activities that I would’ve done, but without the booze. After the initial awkward drink order, it was cake. I did this last year and felt this year’s 30 days sober was much more fun as I was still social. I also added a component this year and combined my 30-days-sober with 30-days-meat-free. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, but I did eat more carbs than I would’ve liked. While I feel great, I am more than ready to hop back on that alcohol train. Currently dreaming of my next hangover.”

Brittany, @bntrim, 25, Richmond: “I think it’s safe to say I failed at 30 days sober, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Peer pressure definitely makes it difficult, also, some days you just need a drink. I won’t consider it a total loss though. Although, I cheated three times, I didn’t drink as much as I normally would have – I only had 1 to 2 drinks instead of 4 to 6. I just didn’t want to drink a lot because it made me feel sick. So…I guess after 30 days “sober” I feel pretty damn good.”

Eric, @ericspwang, 32, Washington DC: “At first I felt great physically and financially. I was literally saving $200 a week on drinking and going-out related expenses. But after 13 days somehow my sobriety led me from being a high-powered corporate middle manager to a starving writer waking up every morning at 10AM. I’m not saying that my sobriety caused my unemployment, but there’s an undeniable correlation. When I was drinking I had a job. When I was sober, I didn’t. So here’s your lesson: Not drinking will make you lose your job.”

Dan Graziano, @dan_graziano, 29, Arlington: “I started my sobriety in January because of an almost 3 month bender of Thursday through Sunday drinking beginning on my birthday week in mid October….aaannddd into the prime of college football season and thanksgiving festivities in November…aaannnddd Christmas parties, New Years, you get the idea! A change was needed when I missed the last 2 Sunday morning workouts (punishment workouts as I call them) of 2012.

Luckily, I had a support group including the BBB queen herself and my other friends who surprisingly did not break my balls too much. A change from, if god forbid, I didn’t want to go out every other night. I did it though and feel very good. The self control and discipline it took to keep myself sober has made me healthier, both mentally and physically. Carpe Diem Baby! Now get me a drink stat, time for some 12oz curls, I’m craving a DC Brau Corruption IPA!”

AJ, 30, Alexandria: “I realized four things during 30 days sober.

Realization #1: I hadn’t REALLY enjoyed a drink in awhile. I didn’t realize how much time and energy was spent on rationalizing whether or not to have or not have another drink for the fear of judgment from others. A lot of effort was spent on trying to be drunk without appearing drunk.

Realization #2: Set a Goal = Reach a Goal. I wasn’t sure what I really was going for with doing 30 days sober until I realized how many others already gave up. It’s not particularly the 30 days, it could have been 10 days, 15 days, 365 days, the point I realized is that I can make goals and KEEP them – which is way more satisfying than taking my make-up off every night before bed.

Realization #3: I was blaming too much on the wine/booze when, in reality, I was just half-assing life or being lazy. I haven’t lost the 20 lbs I thought I’d lose when I cut out the booze, BUT I do have a better realization of where I am today and where I’ll be February 1st…probably somewhere with a steak (so maybe a salad) and pinot noir in hand.

Realization #4:
I am amazed by the conversations I have missed because I was in brown-out mode when my boyfriend rambles on about how awesome I am and how lucky he is to have me. Drunk-talk or not, it’s still nice to hear.”

Now excuse us all while we go get very, very drunk. Cheers!

- Suzie Robb

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