If you work in nightlife, then you probably know how insanely difficult it can be to stay sober. When customers left and right are offering to buy you cocktails, and your own managers are pouring you a round of shots every other hour, maintaining an alcohol-free lifestyle can be daunting, to say the least. And honestly, who can blame us? A vodka pick-me-up is usually the one thing that can take the edge off and get us through a night of ear-deafening club music, erratic drunk customers, and random dance mosh pits occurring just as we’re trying to get to our tables without being stomped on. A no alcohol cleanse almost seems to be out of the question.
You see, I’ve been working as a cocktail waitress for a little over a year now, and I guess you can say that I’m used to the pressures that come with the environment. So, fed up of my persistent hangovers and chronic dark circles, I decided to embark upon a no alcohol cleanse for three weeks (well, it was actually supposed to be for a month but I cracked three weeks into it after deciding to go on a spontaneous Euro trip to Switzerland). Nonetheless, my 3 week cleanse taught me a shit ton about my body, its limits, and the liquid poison we call liquor.
After day 3472 of yet another hangover the morning after work, I decided to go cold turkey. No more sipping on mojitos at work, no more joining in my tables doing rounds of shots- I was DONE. I was sick of waking up feeling like my eyes were going to bulge out of their sockets and dragging through the day with a pounding headache. The faint smell of my prior nights Ciroc fest still lingering on my clothes was nauseating. At that point, my regular dose of Advil had stopped working, so I knew it had to be bad.
Sadly, I underestimated just impressionable and easily persuaded I could be to drink. The following day at work, it was grueling having to refuse drinks from my co-workers and customers. I watched in longing as the other bartenders happily chugged kamikaze after kamikaze, helping themselves to numerous glasses of Moet after a regular customer bought yet another bottle.
My willingness to socialize rapidly disseminated. I found it increasingly harder to tolerate drunk customers coming up to me and making awkward small talk. When you’re tipsy, it’s so much easier to want to socialize and be the life of the party. But when you’re the only sober person amongst a crowd of booze-filled partygoers, it’s nauseating at best.
By Day 4, I didn’t know how much longer I could tolerate being the only sober waitress at work. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to drink, but time really does drag on when you’re sober at a club for 8 hours.
Ok, I’m starting to feel like I could get used to this no alcohol cleanse. It was still difficult not being able to join in on the fun my co-workers were having, but I was ecstatic that my chronic tension headaches had magically disappeared. My dark circles were still somewhat there, but my eyes were definitely a lot less puffy and tired-looking than they normally were. My persistent stomachaches were also starting to disappear, and I gagged at the thought of putting my liver through another extended period of trauma just for one drink.
Also, I was significantly less bloated than I was before my cleanse. If swearing off alcohol meant that my tummy would look flatter, then I definitely wasn’t dreading the idea of it anymore.
I feel rejuvenated and refreshed. My skin is glowing, and my dark circles have vanished. I am a whole new b*tch. A henny sour?? I don’t know what that is. The inner turmoil that I suffered from throughout my first week going cold-turkey was gone; refusing a drink now was just second-nature to me.
I felt enlightened and looked upon drunk partygoers with amusement and a total lack of desire to join in on the ‘fun;. The hangover just wasn’t worth it to me anymore. Going to sleep and waking up with a newfound sense of clarity and sharpness was thrilling to me. I was so used to constantly feeling foggy-headed and weak that I honestly never thought it would get better without the help of maybe prescription drugs. But now? I felt clear-headed and sharper than a m*therfucker. I was LIVING.
Hanging around a bunch of other twenty-something-year-olds means that the only places people ever want to congregate at on the weekends are bars and clubs. So, at this point, I was starting to feel the pressure to crack again. As an ex-social drinker, it was getting hard to try and socialize with people who only ever wanted to go out and drink.
I was starting to feel like maybe I could be able to manage to drink again? After all, what was the harm in sneaking a glass of wine at dinner or accepting a free shot from a rando at a bar? I’m not going to lie, I was starting to feel a tad bit restricted by my no alcohol cleanse, and I wanted to indulge once in a while without the guilt of knowing I was breaking my sobriety.
Sadly, I cracked my no alcohol cleanse after the third week while I was at a music festival in Switzerland. But would I do it again? Yes. Since ending my little cleanse, I’m proud to say that I’m not getting blackout drunk at work on a regular basis. I’ve made it a rule to only drink when I go out- which honestly isn’t a lot since I work at a club every other night of the week. On my off days, clubs are definitely the last place that I want to be at. I feel like prioritizing my health is probably the best thing for me right now, and is way more important than whatever fun I thought I was missing. I think it’s crucial to know what your limits are, and if you feel like drinking is getting in the way of your health, then it’s probably time to just take a BREAK!