I have never really been a big drinker. Well, at least not since my college days, but as an adult with her sh*t together a glass of wine with dinner was the extent of my drinking. But still, I chose to stop drinking alcohol for several reasons. And I think the verdict is finally in on if it’s been worth it for me.
Here’s a bit of the backstory…I had Covid in February 2021. I lost my taste and smell for 8 months, which was just two of many side effects. I didn’t experience any respiratory issues besides being short of breath a few times when I had it.
Overall, I count my blessings daily for having what I consider a mild case of it. It’s the side effects that have been taking a toll on me. And the brain fog has been the worst.
I have so many stories of times my brain just wasn’t connecting the dots. Like the time I was making dinner and I put the chicken on the grill, only to come inside the house and prepare the pork to put on the grill because I forgot I was cooking chicken. Boy was I surprised to go outside, lift the grill cover and find charred chicken breast.
That’s not so bad, right? What was bad was that was only one of the dozens of times I felt my brain was turned off during the day.
I could see on my husband’s face when I clearly forgot something important or wasn’t making sense. The look of feeling bad for me would cut straight through my heart. It wasn’t easy. And there really wasn’t much research at the time as to what the issue was or how to help it.
And honestly, the more research I did on it the more it seemed that my symptoms could also be due to perimenopause. I’m still not sure the actual reason I experience so much brain fog.
So that’s a bit of the backstory. Now onto how that led to me stop drinking alcohol.
Could Me Giving Up Alcohol Be the Answer?
I tried so many things to help with my brain and memory concerns. I quit my job because I thought it was stress related. And my feeling of not being able to keep up mentally at work was causing a lot of stress.
I started drinking different types of tea to help with inflammation. They weren’t the best, but a spoonful of honey certainly helped.
I limited my intake of sugar in my diet. Also, not easy, but doable.
I started going to bed early to ensure I was getting enough sleep. I worked out 6 days a week to maintain my health and muscle. Meditation was already part of my morning routine. And then came the decision to stop drinking alcohol.
Here’s the thing, I love having a glass of wine while making dinner. Not even while I eat dinner. It’s while I’m in the kitchen cooking that I love to sip and savor a good glass of wine.
And I love having a cocktail when I go out for dinner. But this was all that was left to adjust in my daily life to hopefully have a positive impact on the brain fog that I had been experiencing for over a year.
So, I did it. I made the decision when I was in the store buying a bottle of red for dinner that night. I was making roasted salmon with fingerling potatoes and string beans. White probably would’ve been better but I felt like red.
And then all of a sudden, it came over me. I realized this was the moment. The moment to finally do what I had been contemplating for months. If I went to the register with that bottle of wine I knew later that night I’d be upset with myself.
So I walked out of the store empty-handed, a little sad, and not yet proud of myself for finally making the decision I knew I needed to for some time.
I’ll admit, that night I was a bit somber. I gave up something I really enjoyed. My appreciation for good wine or a fun cocktail was something that I looked forward to during the day. So I said I would try it for a few days and see how I felt. Because, really, could it make that much of a difference?
The Results I Wasn’t Expecting From Not Drinking Alcohol
That’s all it took – a few days. I paid close attention to how my body felt, what my thought process was like, and if my perpetual fog cleared.
And the results were amazing. I felt great, I slept better, and I definitely had a bit of a clearer head. At first, I thought maybe I was experiencing the results of other lifestyle changes I had made. But I knew that I only made this change at this time so I could monitor it and see if it had a real effect.
It’s frustrating when you make several changes at once and then don’t know what really helps or doesn’t. So as I went through the process pf trying to clear my brain fog I made sure to make adjustments in stages to be able to track my results. This was the biggest, most positive result so far.
I thought I would miss my nightly glass of wine. And sometimes I do. But I like having clarity that I haven’t had in so long. I’m not saying my memory and brain fog issues are gone, they aren’t. But they’re better than they have been in a long time.
Out of everything I have tried, giving up the small bit of alcohol I drank made a huge difference. Having some of the fog lifted is certainly worth not having a glass of wine at night.
My mind feels a bit clearer (and lighter if that makes sense), my belly is a little less bloated, and my love for cooking is unchanged. Sparkling water with lime has taken the wine’s place and I have come to love sipping citrusy bubbles while I cook.
I’ve also come to find out that most restaurants make delicious non-alcoholic cocktails – many of which happen to be better than what I used to drink.
During my research to make the decision to stop drink alcohol I found out that the idea that having a glass of wine a day is good for your health was a marketing ploy. Seems obvious now. However, that’s what I always heard and believed, so I enjoyed my glass of wine everyday.
Now I enjoy my clearer head. And know that I am intentionally making a healthy choice for myself.