No Alcohol November

DenaNovember 1, 2011 | wine

I have a love/hate relationship with alcohol. When I love it, I really love it. When I hate it, I really hate it. Alcoholism runs in my family. Which I’ve found as I’ve gotten older, is much more common than I ever imagined. I definitely wouldn’t go as far as to say that I am an alcoholic (although if I am being honest, the thought has crossed my mind). But I would say that sometimes I go too far. I really love that buzzed feeling—perhaps too much? Booze is such an excellent crutch/cure-all for awkward social situations/mind eraser/good time in a bottle. But… it’s also a terrible thing to need.

There were times in my life that I abused the substance. Two times in particular come to mind—college and the period after I lost 70 pounds and felt confused/uncomfortable in my new shell. Today, I’ve got a better handle on it, but I still have habits that I want to change. For example, it’s difficult for me to be content with one or two drinks. I always want four or five. I’ve never been able to shake that juvenile feeling that drinking without “getting drunk” is pointless and boring. I am an adult and I should be able to have a glass of wine with dinner and be satisfied with that—not crave three more.

So, after being inspired by a friend who recently decided to cut out weekday drinking and limit her intake on the weekends, I’ve decided to embark on a 30-day booze-free adventure. Ny friend reports, “I’m feeling a lot better and have more motivation. My productivity is definitely at an all-time high.” Motivation? Increased productivity? Count me in!

I am not planning to go alcohol-free forever, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens during my 30 days without it. This month, I am ramping up my efforts to be my best self. I am finally getting back to yoga and I’m hell bent on finally finishing/releasing my first ebook. I’m also hoping that I will see other benefits to my health, maybe even weight loss & increased energy, which is commonly reported by those who give it up.

I’m planning to allow myself two drinks on Thanksgiving, but other than that I’m going to be flying without my wine crutches for the next month. Instead of relying on a couple of glasses after a stressful day, I will meditate, take a walk, stretch, or write it out.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Wish me luck!

In love & light,

For information and resources regarding detox programs & more, check out

Comments (34)

  • Elle

    November 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I actually did this in September for about 3 1/2 weeks. I got so much done, my yoga practice was so much stronger, and I felt better in general. The 1st week was the hardest cause I was used to having a glass of wine to wind down at the end of the day. Good luck!

    1. Anonymous

      November 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Really?  Thanks so much for sharing, Elle!  I am happy to hear that you had a positive experience. That gives me even more motivation to stick with it!

  • Lisa A

    November 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Great idea! I’m in the same boat – I wouldn’t say I’m an alcoholic by any means, but I enjoy my wine a little too much for my own comfort. So count me in! This sounds like the perfect personal challenge for November!

    1. Anonymous

      November 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks, Lisa!  So excited to hear that you’ll be joining me in the challenge.  Moral support!  Good luck to you and make sure you keep in touch and let me know about your progress.

  • Crista Lamore

    November 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    think this is awesome, good luck dena! <3

    1. Anonymous

      November 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you, beautiful Crista.  <3

  • Andra Watkins

    November 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Good luck, Dena. I didn’t have my first drink until I was in my 30’s, and sometimes I wish I’d never started. This will be an enlightening adventure for us both. xo

    1. Anonymous

      November 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Wow!  Thirty!  That is incredible.  I started drinking early… and often.  It was (and to some extent is) a way of life within my family & group of friends.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how this goes.  xo

  • emeryruth

    November 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I think I shall join you friend…..cheers!

    1. Anonymous

      November 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      Yay!  So excited to hear that, darling.  Let me know of your progress. xo

  • Kati

    November 2, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Good luck Dena!
    I did this too with my husband and it was great fun. After the first couple of days we had a defined taste in teas of all sorts and it wasn’t hard on us at all!

    Have great cleaning 30 days!

    Love, Kathy 

    1. Anonymous

      November 2, 2011 at 7:36 am

      Thanks for sharing, Kathy!  Happy to hear that you guys had such a positive experience.  I’m looking forward to it.

  • Cindy

    November 2, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Very Timely Note Dearest Dena!!   My thoughts yesterday where very powerful towards taking such action….Then, this morning I come in to your “burst of inspiring love” Think I’ll be joining you—thank you— make it a great day!

    1. Anonymous

      November 2, 2011 at 9:56 am

      Really, Cindy?  I am so excited to hear that you will be joining me!  Thank you for all of your sweet words.  Love you so much.  Let me know how it goes.  XOXO

  • Betsey Jennifer

    November 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I am so excited for you that you’re embarking on this alcohol-less journey. Your first paragraph basically describes my relationship with alcohol as well. Alcoholism runs through my blood as well, so I can relate on so many levels. At first I thought it was going to be the social situations that would be post difficult to handle without alcohol, like “Don’t worry guys, I’m still fun without booze.” But honestly, it’s the after a long day at work glass of wine that I miss the most. So, I too am trying to find a new outlet to release those defeated or stressed feelings.

    1. Anonymous

      November 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      I have a feeling that my evening glass(ES!) of wine are going to be the ones that I miss the most, too.  And I know I’ll be alright on the weekdays, but weekends are going to slay me.  However, I feel like this is really important.  I am hoping that I will prove to myself that I don’t need it to be happy + I hope that by doing so, I can also change my habits.

      Thank you so much for inspiring me to do this, love.  xoxo

  • Angie Mizzell

    November 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I appreciate the honesty of this post. I can relate. Being pregnant three times has taught me the joy of sipping and savoring a good glass of wine. I try to remember that after I give birth and have the green light to booze it up again. 🙂

    1. Anonymous

      November 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      Thanks, Angie.  You know, it’s so funny that you mention pregnancy.  I am getting married in June and we are planning to try and start a family soon after.  I’ve often thought– “OMG! How am I going to get through nine months without a drink?!”  The next 30 days will be excellent preparation.  :o)

  • Manuel Loigeret

    November 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Awesome! I have been on a non alcohol month in october and intend to pursue this until xmas.
    It feels reaaly good. I’ll write about it soon.

    1. Anonymous

      November 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      That is fantastic, Manu!  I can’t wait to read about your experience.  I hope that you do write about it soon.  :]

  • James Ryan Moreau

    November 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Wow Dena, you hit this one on the head. I echo every sentiment you wrote here. I should probably give up booze for a while too. If for nothing else just to get a little un-clouded in my head.

    1. Anonymous

      November 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks a lot, JR.  Writing this has really opened up my eyes to how common this problem(?) is.  I hesitate to say problem.  It’s a fine line because I truly enjoy a good drink or glass of wine and I feel like that’s okay.  But I shouldn’t rely on it.  Ya know?  So I am really hopeful that this experiment will do something positive for me.  Let me know if you decide to join in.

  • Michelle Sutton

    November 3, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Good luck Dena, I am sure that you will do great.

  • Beverley

    November 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Good luck 🙂 I’m looking forward to your progress. Alcohol has been a touchy thing for me too and your no alcohol November motivates me more that I can go without it for a while too 🙂

  • IPixie

    November 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I’ve given up the bottle as well. I have a totally addictive personality so I’ve abused every substance I’ve ever tried. My relationships are in ruins and I’ve had to do some soul searching to figure out what’s wrong with me. I wish you all the best, I’ll be walking this path with you! And boy has it been hard watching Boardwalk Empire whilst not drinking!

  • Matt

    November 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Dena…let my know how your ebook goes? I am interested in writing my own.

    1. Dena Botbyl

      November 16, 2011 at 10:45 am

      Hey, Matt!  Will do.

  • Meg | One Love Meg

    November 16, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    How is this going? I drink almost every night. Sometimes it’s just a glass but still…. brave soul. Let me know!

    1. Dena Botbyl

      November 17, 2011 at 9:25 am

      It hasn’t been easy, Meg!  I am going to make an update soon.  Long story short, it’s been a challenge (some days harder than others) but it’s been incredibly worthwhile & I am so glad that I am doing this.

  • Clare Bear

    November 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I did this last year from Nov. 10th through Dec. 10th! I feel the same way as you. <– recapped at days 10, 20, 30.

  • Drew Jacob

    December 6, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Hi Dena, I found your post because Manu linked both of us in *his* post about quitting alcohol. I did a 30 day no-alcohol test for myself two years ago. I was worried that perhaps I was an alcoholic – many of the things you wrote above resonate with how I feel about alcohol. My favorite thing that I learned was that I will just put away any glass in my hand – not just alcohol. If I was at a cafe working on my laptop and drinking cherry coke, I’d go through them as fast as beer or G&T. I just feel compelled to finish whatever is in the glass. Since you mentioned going through 4 or 5 drinks at a time, I wonder, have you noticed anything similar to this during your own 30 day break? Or is it just me?

    1. Dena Botbyl

      December 6, 2011 at 7:13 am

      Hey Drew!  It’s perfect timing because I just now posted my results posted following the 30 day challenge.  “I just feel compelled to finish whatever is in the glass.”  I can totally sympathize with this, though this compulsion haunts me more with food than drink.  I’ve suffered with my weigh tall my life and one of the big reasons is because I love it so much.  No matter how full I feel, I am always compelled to finish what’s on the plate.

      I learned an incredible lot through this challenge.  I just posted my results here:  Would love to hear your thoughts.  I am going to check out your site now & follow you back on Twitter. 

      Pleased to meet you, Drew!

  • Niall Doherty

    December 6, 2011 at 5:29 am

    How have I not found your blog before? I actually just came across it via Drew’s tweet. Yesterday marked the end of my one-year experiment without alcohol, and it was easily one of the best experiments I’ve ever done. I feel like a much more confident and empowered person now, and I have no desire to drink again. My main reason for giving it up was that I used it too much as a crutch. I felt like I couldn’t relax and have fun until I was three drinks deep.

    I hope November went well for you.

    1. Dena Botbyl

      December 6, 2011 at 7:19 am

      Thanks for the comment, Niall.  Really glad we’ve found each other.  I just posted my challenge results this morning.  (  I definitely learned a lot.  My relationship with alcohol is forever changed.  I, too, was using it as a crutch, both to deal with stress and to make awkward social situations easier. 

      I’m really glad I did the challenge, even though I mucked it up in the end.  The lessons are invaluable.  I’m now going to check out your site and follow you back on Twitter.  :]

Leave a Comment

Prev Post

Happy Halloween!

Next Post

Way Back Wednesday: How to Forgive