When I started Go Brewing, a non-alcoholic—or NA—brewery, quitting drinking wasn't the endgame. Actually, NA beer was my strategy to reduce the alcohol, not eliminate it.
But here I am, 105 days sober.
I won't bore you with a side-by-side comparison of me then and me now, but let's just say there was one glaringly obvious change. Before I get into that, it's worth mentioning I was already on a healthier path when this 100+ day ride kicked off, thanks to cutting back on the booze.
So, what was this big shift? Around the 60-day mark, it hit me.
I was just... happier.
Cracking jokes and letting things roll off my back, kind of like how I was before alcohol ever entered the equation.
I realized I'd been emotionally stagnant without even knowing it. This got me questioning the role alcohol played in my mood. Turns out, it's not just anecdotal; research backs it up. Alcohol messes with your dopamine levels, and the more you drink, the higher your dopamine set-point climbs. In my case, let's just say that set-point was way out of line. Years of habitual drinking had rewired my brain, making me rely on booze just to feel baseline normal.
That explained why, come late afternoon, I was craving that pick-me-up. Screw the hangover or tomorrow; I wanted that immediate hit.
The first ten days on this journey were rough; I felt bloated and irritable. But as time rolled on, my dopamine levels stabilized.
Now, instead of craving a drink, I just "remember tomorrow," understanding that my mental and emotional baseline is gradually improving.
Will I drink again? Maybe, but it’ll be an intentional decision, not a compulsion.
And when I get that craving?
Well, I have an arsenal of the best NA beer on the planet at my disposal. Not a bad safety net.
P.S. Stick around for more revelations from my year journey with one of the nation's pioneering NA breweries. Sign up for the DL.