Popular Q&A Wednesday Travel

Should you get sober for December? (Q&A)

Something interesting has been happening to me for the past few months. Every time I have more than one glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, I feel worse than garbage for 24 hours after. I’ll fall asleep for a couple hours at night and wake up feeling awful for the rest of the night and all morning. I feel nauseated, dizzy, and have a searing headache.

It’s miserable. And I don’t even have to get drunk to feel this way! A hint of tipsy is all it takes to feel like crap the day after a couple drinks.

I’m not sure if it’s age or just a shift in my body’s chemistry that’s made this happen, but here we are. And especially here in France, I’ve made a habit of always ordering wine when we go out to eat and picking some up at the store on every grocery run. It’s cheap, delicious, and flows like water— it’s too easy to become habitual.

So I decided to challenge myself to have a sober December. I’m not drinking anything until a single glass of wine on Christmas, and that’ll be it. I just want to see how I feel not having anything.

It was Adrien’s birthday on the 3rd and I had a tiny bit of champagne just to toast. After that I had Perrier with a bit of grapefruit juice and I didn’t miss the alcohol at all.

The main benefits for me:
– At the top of the list, it’s not feeling like crap.
– Saving money!
– Not drinking my calories on a regular basis…. Not like I’m counting calories, but it’s not exactly like alcohol is a health food or really a source of nutrients. Sure, it has a few benefits, but not ones you can’t get elsewhere. Like from chocolate!
– Mindful socializing. Being more present and sober with the family I’m with around the holiday season should be… a challenge in itself! Kidding. I’ll remember every moment and feel great the day after.

Watch the Q&A below!

Over to you! Have you ever done something like this? Care to join me? I’m not doing this with any official thing, just a personal challenge that a bunch of PB-ers are jumping in on too. Just wanted to offer a digital high five for anyone who might be interested.

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  1. Avatar


    December 6, 2017 at 6:40 am

    I‘ve got the same „problem“ as you with alcohol. And it just happend.

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      strange, right?!

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    December 6, 2017 at 8:01 am

    The same thing started to happen to me when I quit sugar! Now I get a terrible headache the next day after drinking. I’m with ya for December! Just as a side note, we joined Dry Farm Wines wine club and their wines are organic and low sugar! We drink these at home and I haven’t had any headaches!

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      woo-hoo! another partner in this! isn’t that strange?? i’d love to know why that happens randomly (seemingly)… i’ll have to check out those wines when we’re back in the states this spring– thanks for the rec!

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    December 6, 2017 at 8:23 am

    My husband and I have been thinking and talking about drinking less for a long time… I feel like this is just the kick that we need. For me, it is liquor. Liquor is what I’ve always drank because there wasn’t much of a hangover (vodka), less calories, and more bang for your buck. But for this December, I would like to join you!

    I sort of teared up watching this. Thank you for sharing 💚
    We’re all in this together!

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      so glad you’re joining! the moral support helps me just reading it 😉

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    December 6, 2017 at 8:50 am

    The last two or three years I’ve had a dry month leading up to Christmas. For me it’s a really good time of the year to give up alcohol as I have no works Christmas do to go to and would find it horribly hard to avoid alcohol (which I love) in a miserable month like January. The month before Christmas is busy and festive and you feel motivated and you have fun stuff to do and look forward to – and at the end of your dry month is Christmas day, when you get to break your “fast” with good wine and have a great time. I highly recommend it!

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      spot on– i think it’s gonna be a great exercise 🙂

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    December 6, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I started this before Thanksgiving and it has been amazing. I found that like you it has started to take much longer to recover from drinking even for smaller amounts of alcohol. The juice was not worth the squeeze! I found that I had an even more amazing time with friends and family without the alcohol and don’t miss it at all! It’s so great to see I’m not the only one out there enjoying a sober December!

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      absolutely– i’m so curious why this happens suddenly! glad i’m not alone though 🙂

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    Angela Glick

    December 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

    My husband and I have been having similar conversations of late. I won’t be doing a sober December, however, because our wedding anniversary is December 12, obviously Christmas is the 25th, and my birthday is the 27th, then New Year’s Eve will get a toast. I know that I will have wine on those days. But I do an annual cleanse and detox in January, starting on the fourth, after my husband’s birthday (yes we have five crazy weeks from Thanksgiving to January 2!). I always look forward to that 30-day cleanse!

    My husband and I have been talking about seriously restricting our wine consumption, without quitting entirely. Wine tastings and wine tours have always been sort of a thing of ours, and we enjoy it. But we can enjoy it just as much less frequently.

    Erin, it’s interesting… I have been having the exact same problem for about a year now. If I drink more than two glasses of wine, even spread out over many hours, I wake up feeling like crap in the middle of the night, sleeping poorly and waking up feeling terrible. I agree with you. It isn’t worth it. So, while I will not be promising a “dry“ December, I will be joining you in avoiding non-holiday/anniversary/birthday alcohol, and I am frankly looking forward to it.

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      awesome! any commitment to lessen our consumption of this stuff is a step in the right direct, if you ask me. i feel you on the craziness of the season. Thanksgiving is closely followed by my husband’s bday on Dec 3, then Christmas eve celebrations, Christmas Day, New Years, and my birthday in January… it’s a bit much! 😉

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    December 6, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I started my “year-end sobriety” in November for many of the same reasons you listed including the 3am wake-up calls. Mostly, I felt it had become too much of a habit and wanted to break the cycle. Last week, after an especially hard workout I allowed myself two beers with my husband on our night out. (Do something great for yourself and then wreck it with alcohol- SMART, I know.) And sure enough- WHAM- instant headache (that lasted 2 days!!), didn’t sleep, joints ached, and generally felt yucky. Why would I continue to do this to myself. I think sobriety needs to become my new ‘just two drinks’- year round- everyday. For me, this is hard…this will be a process not an instant success…this will take work. The pay-offs in health and happiness, however, are worth it. Best to everyone embarking on their own sobriety journeys!

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      isn’t it interesting how we’re somehow STILL drawn to an activity that feels like such punishment?! i’d be interested to really dive into the psychology behind it. i’m with you on those feelings behind why we’re taking a step back!

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    Sandra Fairchild

    December 6, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I’ve been sober for just over 2 years now and I have found a really good non-alcoholic champagne. It make the best mimosas and it’s perfect for toasting on New Years! It’s called Fre’ and I get it at BevMo or Target. They also have non sparkling wines, but I don’t care for them as much as the sparkling. I commend you on your choice to not drink…it has zero health benefits! Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      i SO WISH i could find this year! this is so cool. will try to find when i’m back in FL in the spring 🙂

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    Kimberly Smith

    December 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Instead of a glass of wine at night, I have been having a cup of hot cocoa! I’ve noticed that drinking any amount at night makes it really hard for me to wake up early the next morning. I am having a Christmas party this weekend and I am trying to find a fun non-alcoholic drink to make. Any ideas??

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      ooo, cocoa! i’ve been having some four sigmatic cocoa that really hits the spot– they have one with a hitn of chile in it that is SO GOOD. i love any non-alcoholic bevs that have grapefruit in them and no added sugar. the tartness/not overly sweet flavor is more reminiscent of a refined drink rather than a sugary punch. look on smittenkitchen.com! obsessed with everything she does.

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    December 6, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    About a year ago I started not drinking during the week, imbibing only on weekends. I wasn’t a huge drinker, but like my beer and usually had one with dinner. I decided to get rid of the vacant calories. There is the occasional meal that I will, just because they go so good together. On the weekend, I usually stick to only 1 per day, never more than 2 (and more often wine). I don’t always have one on the weekend days either. The other night I had a bloody mary and then a high alcohol content beer during a longer work dinner and did feel like crap, and even a little tipsy. I am over 50 and so I am sure my body is processing differently – but I was never a good heavy drinker and can’t remember the last over two in a day – it would have had to have been a long day, not just in an evening. I don’t think any moderation for any reason can be bad – good luck to all!

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      setting parameters like the ones you’ve laid out are so important with something like this. it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, just putting in a few “bumpers” so we don’t go too overboard. thanks for the well wishes! sounds like we might need them 😉

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    December 6, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I chose a “dry October” this year. Toward the end of summer, I realized that my healthy habits were waning (e.g., less yoga, less exercise) and my less-healthy habits were on the rise (wine or something EVERY night with dinner.. and sometimes after dinner). I shared some, not all, of your motivation: healthier body, fewer calories, more money in my pocket. Unfortunately (from a motivation POV), I never feel any “morning after” effects, not matter how much I drink. Back in college, I heard that the headaches/feeling like crap came from dehydration – and ever since, I’ve made sure to alternate alcohol and water throughout a given evening, one for one. Don’t know if that’s the trick or just different body chemistry, but I wake (at 6, not 3 a.m.) feeling fine. ANYWAY – I’ll most likely enjoy the occasional cabernet in Dec and probably some champagne on New Year’s Eve but I’m in total agreement with your December… that I did in October. A healthier month – no alcohol at all, more exercise, more yoga. Good stuff

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    December 6, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    I did dry January like 2 years ago and it was really a challenge for me as almost all of my socializing revolves around alcohol. I’ve actually been thinking about doing it again this year!

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      Erin Motz

      December 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      yes! the social aspect kinda bums me out, but i think i can do it. maybe we could try to recruit a friend to do it with us in real life too so we feel less alone in those moments!

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    December 6, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    As soon as I turned 30 this happened to me, so in my case it was definitely age-related. I noticed it was much worse, though, when I had cocktails. So now, on the rare occasion I do drink, it’s usually just 1-2 glasses of wine or beer and always w food.

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    December 7, 2017 at 7:20 am

    I’m only 22 and I got allergic to alcohol last year, don’t know why, I just get rashes in my face everytime I take a sip of something alcoholic. So I’m with you! I still miss the socializing around alcohol a little, but never being hangover kinda makes up for it 🙂

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    Jason Minaker

    December 7, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Hi Erin,
    What a brave topic to address. I commend you. First off I have nothing against alcohol for anyone who has the power to use it responsibly. For me however, I found that over the course of time it began to control my body and behavior in a fashion that was making me sick. If I’m to get brutally honest with myself it had been influencing almost all my decisions and thought patterns. Through what I know now as a divine intervention from something greater than me. I’ve been able to remain sober for almost 4 years now. It has completely changed my life. Most importantly, and to your credit you talked about this. Sobriety has helped me on a path of staying present and not time traveling to the depression of my past or anxiety towards the future. It’s not always perfect but it is so much better. I am feeling my feelings and not living in them, as much 😊

    Kudos to you for recognizing this in your life and sharing it with others!!!!

    Lots of Love,

    Jason M

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      Erin Motz

      December 8, 2017 at 5:49 am

      WOW, congrats on the 4 years! This is one of those habits that can quickly become a little *too* habitual, so I think it’s good for us to all step back occasionally and evaluate our “why” for consuming alcohol. Much respect to you for recognizing the form it took on in your life and changing it. May we all be so self aware! Cheers (with kombucha, of course ;))!

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    Jennie Reece

    December 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I think I’m older than most of you (approaching 60-gasp!) and a couple of months ago decided to give up my nightly red wine habit…for the same reasons, I noticed if I had two glasses I felt like crap the next morning. To be honest though, my main reason was a suspicion that wine was inhibiting my body’s ability to lose weight. Lo and behold, I stopped drinking wine every day and the weight started dropping fairly quickly. I’m at a healthy weight now, and do still enjoy an occasional glass of wine, but I feel much better for making it a once in a while indulgence. Cheers to us all!

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    December 7, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    “Listening” to your body and making changes or modifications is always a sound decision. Our bodies (internally and externally) experience a variety of changes as we move through life. SO whether you’re turning 30, 40, 50, 60, or 70, listening to your body and making adjustments accordingly will be beneficial to your overall health. As I moved through menopause I discovered a “revolution” occurred in my stomach after eating beef, blue cheese, and on occasion ice cream. My body also revolted if I enjoyed a cocktail followed by a glass of wine or two and if I enjoyed several glasses of red wine. So I made adjustments: an occasional margarita, elimination of beef and blue cheese and I tend to drink more white wine. I’ll be enjoying my glass of wine each evening while cheering you (and the others) Erin who have chosen to forgo alcohol this month.

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    December 8, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Same here. I never (unfortunately) get a real hangover, just an upset stomach and gut but that is enough to deal with for me. I was so fed up with being drowsy, sleeping badly (like waking up between 3-4 a.m., hello circadian cortisol rhytm!, feeling hot and thirsty), being slightly (more) depressed the day after and always asking myself if this was too much or if it was still ok what I drank, if it was too often or not….. let’s just say it never sat easy with me, with the stories of my great-grandfather nearly drinking his family into poverty, having worked a short time in rehab and living in a city where one of the world’s biggest beer festivals is held anually, seeing what alcohol can do to people really makes you think.
    So, last month I had a beer and a terrible night, woke up and decided that that was it, I’ve had enough. And as I find it somehow easier to chuck it off the wagon completely rather than constantly struggling for the “right” measure, off completely it has gone and not just for now. Hubby is not happy but neither am I with his handling this matter, so we’re quits there. It makes me happier, that’s what should count most I’d say.

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    December 8, 2017 at 4:14 am

    Sorry, me again. I didn’t read all the comments before posting mine, sorry for that. The 3 am thing actually is related to the cortisol levels. At 3am they should be at their lowest. Alcohol is a sort of stress that seems to cause Cortisol levels to remain high and this is where you get these typical symptoms. It is basically adrenal stress/fatigue.

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      Erin Motz

      December 8, 2017 at 5:40 am

      That’s really interesting and makes SO much sense! I didn’t know that about the cortisol… thank you for sharing that!

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    December 10, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Hi ! Ever since April I have been 90 % vegan – and when I have the occasional drink does not agree with me. It’s like my body does not want the alcohol in my system. I totally understand 👍🏻.

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