There’s no doubt that alcohol is ingrained in our culture – a glass of wine at the end of the day, champagne toast at a wedding, or mimosas at weekend brunch. It’s a social lubricant and connector. One that I have thoroughly enjoyed since I turned the legal drinking age (maybe even a little before then). As my social drinking habits continued well into adulthood, my skin, overall health, and bank account were feeling the effects. So, I cut back; averaging 1-3 drinks per week. But I thought, what would happen if I went cold turkey? I decided to see what a life without alcohol could achieve. Here’s what happened when I quit alcohol for 90-days.
Weeks 1 & 2: Saying “no” at social engagements
Now that I live in LA and am not confronted by the persistent “meet up for drinks” or social events that packed my calendar while living in New York City, my first week of no drinking was pretty easy. I did go to one event, my cousin’s birthday party, that first weekend. The party was at a Russian vodka lounge famous for their martinis. A little part of me ached to order one, but I knew I’d fall down the rabbit hole, so politely declined. I survived the initial social awkwardness during introductions and was surprised by how enjoyable the night was. Even if I was the only sober attendee.
Weeks 3 & 4: Feeling empowered and in control
Saying “no” to cocktails proved to be easier than I imagined. I felt empowered and in control. Now I was just hoping for the health benefits to show. The first month showed no improvement in my skin or body, at least none I could see.
Week 5: A little sip of champagne affects sleep
During week 5, I found myself in Las Vegas, NV with my husband and in-laws celebrating New Year’s Eve. We went to a nice dinner at Bouchon to celebrate. When the waiter came around inquiring about drinks, I caved. I ordered a glass of champagne. Salivating when my drink arrived, a funny thing happened. The taste of alcohol was not very appealing and after a few sips I felt buzzed. I managed to slowly sip on half the glass during dinner, but wasn’t interested in finishing it (gasp!). Around 2am I awoke restless. The tiny bit of alcohol I drank disrupted my sleep.
Week 6: Shrinking waistline
At about the 6 week mark, I noticed 5 pounds had just melted off me?! Friends started commenting about my weight loss.
Week 7: Changing tastebuds
My husband and I took a weekend trip for a belated 1-year wedding anniversary celebration. I decided to order one glass of champagne at our special dinner, but found like in Vegas, I was unable to finish more than half. My taste buds were changing. The smell and taste of alcoholic beverages, once enticing, were becoming repelling.
Weeks 8 & 9: The start of visible improvements in skin
At the beginning of this process, my skin was experiencing horrible breakouts and dryness. It wasn’t until week 8 and 9 that I started to see real improvements. A few pimples here and there lingered, but my skin seemed less dehydrated. My complexion looked bright and clear.
Weeks 10 &11: Shiny hair and strong nails
The dry, arid climate of Los Angeles wreaks havoc on my strands and nails. I get dry bumps or dandruff on my scalp if I wash my hair every day. My nails usually are brittle and weak; breaking easily. But by weeks ten and eleven, this all changed. I altered nothing to my haircare or nail routine. Yet, I found washing my hair every day resulted in shiny, thick, lustrous hair. No more dryness, flakes or irritated scalp bumps. My nails felt strong and grew rapidly (I found myself constantly cutting them).
Week 12 & Beyond: Healthy mind, body, and skin
I feel better than I have in a long time. My complexion is clear, bright and hydrated. My hair and nails are the healthiest they’ve been since I can remember. But it’s the sharpness of my mind that has me hooked. I wake up refreshed and focused. I’ve now become a morning person, waking up without an alarm around 7am ready to start my day.
And if you’re dealing with acne, you might want to check out this post on how alcohol affects breakouts..
-by Amy Chang
Photographed by author