By Lyre's Spirit Co
20th May 2020
Taking some time away from drinking is an increasingly common practice as large numbers of people begin to reconsider their relationship with alcohol.
From Dry January, Feb Fast, Dry July to Sober September and Ocsober, there's no shortage of opportunities to abstain as part of a wider community.
Liz, 36, and partner Henry, 37, set themselves a more difficult challenge: Three months without drinking.
"It feels like the annual Christmas festive season goes on for months" says Liz.
"People start celebrating as soon as late October.
"There's the Christmas parties, New Year and endless catch-ups with friends because it's holidays.
"Things can easily get out of hand. By the time January finishes it's like, 'man, I need a break!'"
Liz and Henry will have to come up with a catchier name for their quarter off the booze, which has become an annual occurrence.
"This will be our fifth year of doing it, and the benefits are massive," she says.
Neither are huge drinkers, but they enjoy a glass or two of wine or beer most days, on top of social occasions.
Liz says she and Henry both generally maintain an active lifestyle, but the three-month break presents an opportunity to achieve serious health and fitness gains.
"Even if you keep a similar lifestyle without the drinking, it certainly has an impact – you're definitely losing weight because of the reduced calorie intake," she says.
"But during that three months off, we definitely find we're better at keeping our commitments to do exercise, especially before work.
"You feel more motivated, you feel healthier and lighter, so it all gets a bit easier."
Liz's exercise regime is active by any standards during the dry months, consisting of four or five gym sessions a week, "and a fair bit of running".
"Henry would often go to the pub for lunch during the week with his workmates, and instead he goes to the gym," she says.
"We wouldn't have the motivation to keep that routine otherwise."
With the evenings cleared of boozy catch-ups, she and Henry schedule in social sport.
"We'll have a hit of squash at nighttime rather than go to a pub," she says.
Liz's three top tips for for surviving a booze-free stretch:
1) Make sure you have a buddy.
"It's so much easier to stay committed if you're doing it with someone else," she says. There's no way I'd last the three months if Henry was still drinking. You've got to do it together."
2) Stick with it – it gets better!
"The first couple of weeks you get to the end of the day and you think, 'gee a wine would be nice'," she admits. "But then you start feeling so good that you get the momentum to keep going. The first month is definitely the hardest."
3) Stock up on alcohol-free alternatives.
"I drink mainly soda water because I'm not keen on sugary soft drinks," she says. "Or, I'll have a diet tonic with a slice of lemon, because it feels a bit like you're having a G&T."
Liz has only recently learned of Lyre's Non-Alcoholic Spirits, and is excited at the prospect of taking her non-alcoholic G&T to the next level.
"I think it's great idea. It's lovely to be able to enjoy a pleasurable drink in either a social setting or just winding down for the day, without having the effects of the alcohol," she says.