A few years ago, I gave up alcohol completely for a few months for health reasons. It was hard, but not too hard, and the really great thing about it is that it has reduced my tolerance, so now I rarely want more than one glass. Better sleep, more energy and better health. However, those are not the only benefits as this little story relates…

Go to a wedding and offer to drive? My husband’s face said it all… after all this is a WEDDING! Everyone has a few drinks at a wedding, don’t they? I have to confess that a part of me still agreed with him, and I left the option open to call a taxi if I changed my mind.

One glass of champagne – that was all I was going to allow myself. Nowadays, I really enjoy the first glass, but the second is unnecessary, and it all goes downhill rapidly after the third. Thanks to experiencing life without alcohol for a while, I can happily say no the refill.

The funny thing was, as everyone else was becoming a little glassy eyed, looking tired, and sitting out for the odd dance, I was still really enjoying catching up with family and doing a bit of Mum dancing. By the end of a long day of celebrations, I really noticed how tired everyone was, whereas I felt OK. Sure, my feet hurt a bit, but I could take my shoes off. However, I wasn’t longing for my bed the way I usually do after partying all day and into the evening. Instead of feeling a little like the family martyr, I began to realise that I actually had the best deal – I felt fine, and I had no desire for wine at all. Also, I was saving a fortune at the bar.

However, the best is yet to come. Before the wedding, my husband had kindly dropped a friend’s bag off at a hotel, and collected his room keys, which he duly returned to him at the wedding. Around midnight, I drove the family back to our remote Yorkshire cottage, half an hour away. We raced for the door.  The weather was freezing and my daughter and I were in flimsy frocks. The key wouldn’t turn. You’ve guessed it, the friend had our cottage keys and we had the keys to his hotel room! Back in the car for another hour’s return trip to exchange the keys. If we had caught a taxi back, we would have been standing in the freezing cold, trying to call a new taxi, and paying for an hour and a half’s taxi ride. Staying sober had already seemed like a good decision, but now it had earned me the eternal gratitude of the whole family.

Next morning, no hangover, no embarrassing conversations to recall, and no huge taxi bill.

The moral of the story…just try it! Give up the booze for a while and it will give you back your self-control. It doesn’t have to be forever – I still enjoy a drink, but now I’m in charge.

And as my story shows, you might save more than the cost of the beer!

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