Taking time off drinking to have her children, Beck Vass wants to share her experiences with returning to alcohol.
For those who haven't heard, it's Dry July. People sign up to take one month off alcohol and hopefully raise money by being sponsored by friends. This year funding goes to cancer patient support charity Look Good Feel Better.
I've always been a tad partial to a drink. That is perhaps a bit of an understatement.
But having had time off alcohol during three pregnancies, and the odd month off it before that for wellbeing reasons, I want to share my experience.
My most recent pregnancy left me not really feeling like drinking for some time after.
It was a complicated c-section which left my body a bit ruined, so alcohol was the last thing I felt like when just getting through the day was painful enough.
When I finally did drink again, I really noticed the impact it had on my body.
I've had a month off here and there in the past and I have to say that four weeks is not long enough to notice any real difference.
It's a good start to break the habit, for sure, but (depending on how much you drink), you are probably not going to feel significantly better with "just" one month off.
So, if you are using Dry July to see if abstaining could help improve your life, I say keep going for at least three months, or even better, make it six. Then make a decision.
I know that's probably not going to happen because it's hard enough to avoid alcohol for a month. But if that's what you're thinking then you are exactly who needs to hear this.
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If someone told you they couldn't go one month – or even three months - without their nightly cigarette, you would probably say they have a nicotine addiction.
Yet we don't think the same way about alcohol because it's so normalised. It shouldn't be.
No, it doesn't mean you are an alcoholic, nor does it necessarily mean you have a "problem". Or maybe it does?
It could be that you feel a lot better, have more energy, maybe even feel happier with a bit of a break.
When I had my first couple of wines earlier this year - after almost 12 months of no alcohol - I instantly noticed what it did to me.
Firstly, I woke up about 20 times in the night. There was a patch from 1am-3am where I tossed and turned and couldn't get back to sleep at all. My mouth was dry, my sinuses were congested and I was hot. I sipped water and tried to rehydrate while I lay there.
You can drink all the water you like but it doesn't catch up the two hours of sleep you've missed. The rest of the time I had bad dreams in a state of light sleep that I awoke from so many times I lost count.
A couple of times I made myself get up and go to the toilet to snap myself out of vivid nightmares, usually involving something happening to one of our kids.
In the morning, my body felt sore: muscles and bones aching. Just mild, but still sore. My skin was greasy and dull. Of course, I was quite tired.
I'd been feeling pretty good considering I had a newborn baby. My energy levels were okay, I was sleeping pretty well, all things considered. After the physical recovery from the birth, I felt like I had more energy than I'd had in a couple of years. And I was oddly calm too.
Now, I can't help but wonder how much of these positives came from not drinking.
Just having one or two at night does have an impact, whether you notice it or not. And how easily that can become "normal".
What you realise when you don't have alcohol is that you actually don't miss it.
If you are suffering from trouble sleeping, or if you have anxiety or depression, low energy levels or body aches and pains, or just don't generally feel like your old self, I would strongly encourage you to have a crack at giving it a break for a while (yes, more than one month) – especially if you take medication for any of the above.
We so easily take medication for problems but don't really look at what could be causing or contributing to them. So, I am asking you to do a wee stocktake.
If any of the above resonates, try taking your drinking blinkers off, give it a crack and see how it goes. What have you got to lose?