I had a very exciting December – I went on an all-inclusive vacation to Mexico for a week, then took part in several festive parties. From Festivus to other holiday gatherings and New Years, I over-consumed both alcohol and food at a volume that me 10 years and 60 pounds ago would have been proud of. I’m usually more of a “everything in regulation” sort of person, which allows me to maintain a healthy weight and hopefully good long-term health.
In late December, I read a small medical study (because that’s what I do), which took some sort of liver reading from casual drinkers at the beginning and end of a month. For the month in the study, the participants gave up alcohol of any kind. There was a significant improvement in most health markers over the study period, including significant declines in liver fat levels (which are an indication of liver health). After the December I had, I decided it would probably be beneficial health-wise to give up alcohol for the month.
I mostly drink at social occasions, besides the odd homemade beer I have on a weekend night, so giving up booze didn’t put a major cramp to my lifestyle (The dance clubs didn’t miss me and my one and only dance move – jumping vertically). I consumed more coffee, tea and pop on weekends, which I’m not sure is healthier, but got me through my month of sobriety.
Most of the year, my wife and I will go out a couple of nights a month for a few drinks and to grab some food at one of many local bars. This January was so cold, we seemed to have spent most of our free time holed up in our warm house being grumpy because our faces freeze off anytime we hit the open air.
Between the lack of going out, and the no-drinking, my spending plummeted to almost nothing, other than one tank of gas and the odd miscellaneous purchase, nothing really came up that cost me anything.
I’m not sure what my retirement is going to end up being, but I would say it’s probably closer to the “boring” January I had, rather than the exciting and expensive December. When January was done, I was (probably) healthier, and definitely lighter than when the month started. These days, in the middle of February, I’m starting to get cabin fever, counting off the days until I will be able to hit the golf course – or at least not have to wipe ice out of my beard from the walk into my office from the parking lot.
Have you had a no-spend or sober month?