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What Happened When I Gave Up Alcohol

Author: Lauren Coleman

Despite the numerous bar trays dotted around my house, James and I might have had a G&T after work on Friday but on the whole, we never really drank at home. On the flip side though we really enjoyed drinking socially; any party, catch-up, mid-week supper used to be accompanied by a variety of tipples. Namely a few glasses of wine or prosecco for me, beers for him and maybe a gin for good measure.

I did reduce my alcohol consumption when I was trying to conceive but it wasn’t until the end of last year that I gave up alcohol completely. In September we had a wedding in Italy and other than a couple of sips of prosecco to toast the bride and groom I stayed clear of the alcohol for my first round of IVF. After our first cycle ended in heartbreak, our consultant noted we both had healthy diets and avoided caffeine so advised we BOTH go teetotal before starting again. With Christmas just around the corner the timing was impeccable. To be honest it was fine for me as I had hoped to be pregnant but for James that meant no festive Drambuies.

There was probably one week between IVF cycle one and two where I felt physically ‘normal’. Those drugs do take a toll on the body and so I’ve asked James for his input on the situation to provide a less biased view of what happened when we gave up alcohol.

Physically Feeling Better

This wasn’t the case for me (due to the above) but James actually started to sleep far better once he broke his caffeine habit and even more so when he was no longer on the beers. I noticed his skin was considerably clearer and generally he seemed to have far more energy when he was caffeine and alcohol-free. Ditching the booze also means it’s easier to avoid the Sunday morning fry-up situations and so our diet became even healthier as a result. Obviously the most noteable result of giving up alcohol was it’s likely contribution to the positive outcome of the second IVF cycle.

I’ve Become Far More Observant

I do enjoy the carefree feeling after a couple of drinks but I’m probably not the best drunk. I’m pretty sure I’m the annoying repetitive, slurry one that everyone’s rolling their eyes at. I’m not the teary one though thankfully but I am a complete lightweight.
It’s made me very observant about the amount that people around me knock back. (Let’s just say it’s a lot!) I’m really trying to reign in how vocal I am about it as there’s nothing more irritating than the sober one sticking their two-pennyworth in. I have to respect the fact that not everyone wants to give up booze.

People Don’t Really Notice

The last thing I wanted was for anyone to think I was pregnant when I couldn’t have been further from it. We went out for a big Christmas do with all our friends and I was paranoid that it would be noted I wasn’t permanently glugging from a prosecco flute. I confided in a few of the girls as to why I wasn’t drinking and their response was that they hadn’t even noticed. I think as long as you don’t cut short the evening and are still up for a good time then it shouldn’t impact anyone else around you.
James went on a skiing trip in January and although he had a few beers it was nothing like the shot-laden trips he’d had before. His take on it was it was the best skiing holiday he’d ever been on and he can remember ALL the stories of what the rest of the drunken crowd got up to which previously he may have had very hazy memories of.

Weekends Are A Lot Longer

Aren’t there a lot more hours in the day when you don’t have a hangover?! Before the morning sickness took hold I was up with the lark doing ParkRun on a Saturday morning and was extremely smug on a Sunday getting all my chores done with my newly acquired hours. I’m obviously saving money by no longer buying prosecco. I’d love to say I’m saving but I’ve managed to spend elsewhere!

It’s A Pain To Decide What To Drink

I’ve never been a fan of fizzy drinks and I find all these zero percent alcohol-free wines and beers are just filled with processed crap and sugar that I’m not entirely convinced are much healthier than their counterparts. (Please do correct me here though. I would absolutely love to add some more soft drinks to my repertoire). When we went to a gin bar to celebrate Mother’s Day I orders a Seedilp and Tonic which was very pleasant but mostly I just stick to sparkling water. Drinking this all evening is very dull.

I know some people enjoy a glass of vino every so often when they’re pregnant but as I gave it up to conceive it seems very odd to start again now I’m growing a human. Will I go back to drinking alcohol when I’m no longer pregnant? That’s the million dollar question. I would like to think I’ll never go back to drinking as much as I did socially. Who am I trying to kid? Let’s face it I’m not going to have the social life I used to!

Has anyone given up alcohol? Did anything surprising happen to you when you ditched the booze?


Image by We Are The Clarkes

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
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23 thoughts on “What Happened When I Gave Up Alcohol

  1. I’m not a big drinker, alcohol just doesn’t seem to mix well with me and I don’t really enjoy the taste, my go to drink is a French martini – if I’m going to drink it has to be my fave and made well.
    I stopped drinking for my pregnancy last September and I haven’t missed it at all. Part of me wonders if I’ll really get back on it – which I’m sure will delight my husband who works in whisky, we live rurally so someone always has to drive!
    I do agree being the sober one you do notice how much more people drink or even just spend on drink when you’re not splitting the bill! Without doubt waking up with no hangover is fabulous, albeit my morning sickness was 10 weeks of feeling hungover! Awful.
    Appletise from a champagne flute is a nice way to enjoy a soft drink and it looks like champers. Elderflower cordial & fizzy water is a staple in our fridge.

    1. Sarah I love having a soft drink from a flute too. So much fancier.
      Agree with the hangover feeling – I’ve had that feeling for twelve weeks now despite not touching a drop!

  2. I’ve kind of inadvertently dramatically reduced my alcohol intake, I was never a big drinker but after the near-teetotalism of pregnancy and over a year of breastfeeding, any more than a couple of drinks now knocks me for six. When you have a needy baby/lively toddler who is going to demand your focus first thing in the morning, the thought of even a mild hangover is not an appealing one.

    There are occasions when I just fancy a drink, a glass of wine on a Friday night after a particularly challenging week, a cider after the tent is finally pitched on the first night of a camping trip, a gin on a rare night out and a glass of fizz at a celebration. But I’m glad I can happily stop at that and don’t feel involuntarily compelled to have more because it would just make me feel crap the next day.

    I love a fevertree with ice and lime in a big stemmed gin bowl as it feels like a real g+t even though the g is missing. I also love a rhubarb cordial with fizzy water, most bars stock something similar.

    I suspect once baby Coleman is here you’ll feel similar, Lauren, it’s highly unlikely you’ll revert to much social drinking. Although understandably some of my pals feel they get to go out so infrequently now small people demand so much of them, that when they do they want to make it count and get smashed! Which is perfectly fine but I think I’ve got to an age where the recovery is too protracted to make it worth the blow out 😆

    1. Ahhh yes, rhubarb cordial. I was wondering about making my own syrups (but I’m probably too lazy).
      A friend of mine got pregnant very quickly and really missed alcohol when she was pregnant. Now her little one is 18 months and she rarely drinks for all the reasons you mention Philippa.

  3. Congratulations on your long awaited pregnancy!
    I totally recommend these two non alcoholic take on alcohol drinks…. Eisberg Sauvignon and Nanny State ale to give you that feeling of having a drink without actually having one!
    My husband and I have tried lots of different non alcoholic drinks and we have to say these are the absolute best and not too high in calories … we were drinking them to help us lose weight instead of alcohol and we enjoy them so much we regularly replace actual alcohol with these now so we don’t have the dreaded hangovers but feel like we’ve had a couple of drinks in the evening.
    I’m currently pregnant too so not drinking it as much but it is nice to feel like you’ve had a lovely crisp Sauvignon with your dinner sometimes without the alcohol included! Apart from that I drink lime and soda usually and add mint if I’m feeling in the mood and pretend I’m drinking a refreshing mojito!
    Enjoy 😃

  4. Ive not had a hangover since 2007. I’d not long since started full time work, and I lost a bank holiday to feeling rubbish. It seemed like such a waste of time given how few days I had to myself compared to when I was a student. I now drink very little so I’m sure it’s my last! I think some of the virgin cocktails are delicious – they feel special and I think that’s part of the appeal of alcoholic drinks. I had a ‘gingerito’ on holiday recently which was ginger ale, lime, mint and crushed ice. It was delicious!

  5. I think I drank too much as a teenager as I basically gave up alcohol when I was about 21! In the last few years I’ve barely drunk at all, for no reason other than I don’t like beer, I don’t massively like wine, and don’t really want to drink more than one g&t in an evening. I’m also quite tight and don’t want to spend money on a drink I’m not bothered about drinking! It was quite useful when I was pregnant as no one thought anything of the fact that I wasn’t drinking, I’d already got that reputation 😂
    I have struggled with people not understanding why I don’t want to drink though, or always asking if I “just wanted one”. And I agree with you Lauren, you definitely notice just how much other people drink!! I’ve had to bite my tongue a few times…

  6. I think with soft drinks, you need to make them feel something more than they are – lots of ice, a slice of fruit, a nice glass. It makes so much difference.
    I’ve just discovered some new robinsons ‘posh’ cordials, once is lime and mint and the other is rhubarb and orange blossom. I also love Cawston press, their rhubarb and apple drink (sparkling or just juice) is lovely.

    I dont drink that much any more. Life does change when you’ve had kids. I stopped drinking a few months before I got pregnant (also IVF over here) and then never really started again, I don’t miss it.
    When I do get the chance I will enjoy a few drinks, but only if someone is looking after my son the next morning/day as well. The hangover with a toddler or baby is definitely not worth it AT ALL. I’ve done it once where I got home at 5am and had to get up at 9am when my Mum had to unexpectedly leave and I think that was when I realised drinking would never be the same again. Which is fine by me because I’m not that bothered either way. And nowadays it has to be a really good few drinks, like a lovely wine or special cocktail, a luke wam vodka lime and soda just isnt good enough.

  7. I like a drink both socially and at home, although I do go through occasional health kicks and cut down. I rarely go out now and find that I do have a g&t every other day, but it is just the one drink. I really like Mr Fitzpatrick cordials with sparkling water. The rhubarb and rosehip tastes very similar to rhubarb gin!

    1. A G&T is such a nice way to wind down in the evening Claire. Let’s hope this Mr Fitzpatrick cordial fools me into thinking I’m having one 😉

  8. Congrats on your pregnancy Lauren, what an exciting time you and James have ahead! I really missed a drink when pregnant and then breastfeeding but also not a fan of fizzy sugary drinks and quickly bored of sparkling water I found myself gravitating towards lots of grapefruit based drinks, grapefruit & soda being the main one – at Xmas I made some rosemary syrup for grapefruit mocktails.

    my friend has a small business – you can find her on insta @Ginfused she makes botanical ‘tea’ bags that you pop in tonic and they are delicious – a fraction of the price of Seedlip but a great gin substitute!

    For beers / lager the best I found was the Heineken 0.0%

    If you find yourself in Spain at any point they cater really well for non-drinkers. Most bars have beer ‘sin alcohol’ on tap and the super markets are full of booze free options.

    Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

    1. Thanks so much Rachel.
      Oh I need to get myself some of these ‘tea’ bags. Just having a look at her Etsy shop and love that they are 100% natural too,
      I’ve heard good things about Spain for non-drinkers, particularly the islands. I wonder if it’s because they have so many cyclists?

  9. Same as you Lauren, Charlie and I did not touch a single drop of alcohol in the lead up and during IVF (including a month in portugal,weddings and a trip to Ibiza!) but it was 100% worth it as it got me twins! It took me ages to drink again,but I was sick ever day for almost 6 months of my pregnancy. I would say I have waaay less nights out now which lead to atrocious hangovers afterwards, but I’d say I have been driven to a drink at the end of a stressful day with the twins lol,m! On balance I probably drink the same amount but in a much more controlled way. I never wanted to be that mum saying ‘Wine o clock’ but I tell you it is an actual thing! On out last holiday at the end of each day at sunset, we took the girls on the beach and had a cocktail whilst they played and it was the best drunk I’d ever had! One was enough,and maybe it’s psychological,but it was the highlight of my day! Maybe your little baby will be so easy, a sparkling water will be all you need! I have elderflower with sparkling water but otherwise just water for me! Hope you are feeling well xx is and regards to your holiday oost,go somewhere hot and DO NOTHING while u can!

    1. Rochelle you made me giggle when you said the bit about easy babies and sparkling water. I think we all know that won’t be the case 😉
      Love your evening sunset ritual x

  10. Whilst my life is still a long way off planning to have a child I am going to confess that I love a drink. Almost all drinks, wine, gin, prosecco and espresso martinis are top of my list, and I would happily drink a glitter lass of wine every night. I love a holiday where I can drink with breakfast. My mum and my grandma both drink everyday – my grandma has a gin and tonic every Saturday lunchtime which part of me thinks is the most civilised thing ever.
    However, I had a run in with mental health towards the end of last year and I learnt how my alcohol habits weren’t helping anything. I took up a lot of new exercise and had to learn to fuel my body proper and unsurprisingly gin and wine didn’t come into that.

    I still love a drink, I think I always will truth me told, it’s in my genes, but I am a drinking a lot less than I used to, particularly in the week which used to really affect me and I do agree that sleep is so much better. I have also really admire people who have the will power to give it up – good on you Lauren and I hope you and your bump are doing well!

    1. My twenties revolved around where we were going that weekend and how early we were going to start drinking. I think it would have been virtually impossible to go teetotal then so I think you should be really proud of yourself Beckie for cutting down.
      NYC looks fab by the way! x

  11. I’m also on the look for more non-alcoholic drinks (love my wine, just trying to stop having a glass every night) and ones that aren’t too sweet, or gin-like (not my tipple!). Will certainly try some of th suggestions mentioned.

    Personally I rate Beck’s Blue non-alcoholic beers being one of the better tasting ones (and quite available).

  12. I wish this post was a year ago when I was pregnant, as I had gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy and was so desperate not to get it second time around that I went on a diabetes diet anyway, so I really struggled to find soft drinks that weren’t full of sugar and made my teeth furry after a couple of glasses. Some great suggestions here.

    Thankfully baby is here now so I’m right back on the vino. I have no desire to give up again, thought happily consign alcohol to Friday and Saturday nights.

  13. Firstly, congrats on your pregnancy! Fabulous news! After having 3 babies in pretty quick succession, followed by years of breastfeeding, I didn’t drink much for nigh on 6 years. Every hen do / Christmas party & wedding I was either pregnant or breastfeeding {sad face!}. I have to confess that, when I finally stopped nursing my 3rd baby, I kind of went slightly OTT with the booze – any dinner party or afternoon bbq we were invited to, I took the opportunity to make hubby drive & I got totally sozzled. It came to a point where I felt I was bingeing at social events & it wasn’t healthy. Two trips to the breast clinic for breast pain in the space of 18 months (turns out from carrying a heavy toddler) made me reassess my drinking habits. I now have a glass of wine on a Friday & Saturday evening (measured out using a wine measure, and spritzed with fizzy water). Yes I may indulge if we’re on a rare night out without the kids. I don’t think I would go completely teetotal as I do like a cold glass of white on a summers evening but I do refrain Sunday to Thursdays so I have a good 5 days alcohol free each week.

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