Posted by Amy: July 2012
After enjoying a few too many beers during a long, hot Melbourne summer, Stuart Boyd, 29, was feeling sluggish, rundown and generally unhealthy. Then and there he decided it was time for a change.
"It had been a great summer, but I was certainly feeling the effects by the end of it," said Stuart.
"March is when preparation starts for the hockey season, which was another good motivator for me to get fit and healthy.
"I decided to go the whole month without a drink - no mean feat for someone who's always been a pretty enthusiastic drinker.
"I have to say, I was surprised by how different I felt after just four weeks. I had more energy, felt more awake and definitely got fitter quicker. I even lost weight. I'd have to say though the biggest difference was how much better I slept, and obviously the flow on effect from a good sleep is almost endless.
"I won't pretend it was always easy because from a social perspective it was quite challenging at times. For me at least, socialising tends to revolve around having a drink, so I couldn't help but feel a bit antisocial at times when my mates were all starting to get a bit rowdy on a Saturday night.
"Explaining to my friends what I was doing and why was helpful, because they were generally really supportive.
"Overall, the experience was incredibly worthwhile and had a really positive impact on my physical health, mental wellbeing and my finances!
"Since the experience I have definitely cut down my drinking, especially mid-week which I've practically stopped altogether. ‘Dry March' allowed me to see the benefits of not drinking, and I want to continue reaping those benefits as much as possible.
"Before March if I'd had a stressful day at work my automatic reaction would have been to have a drink to help me relax. Now, knowing how much better I feel when I don't drink, I just try and get a good night's sleep!
"For anyone considering taking time off the booze I would thoroughly recommend it. Even better, get some friends to try ‘going dry' with you. It really helps not only to have supportive people around you but to actually go through the experience together.
"If for no other reason, just do it to prove to yourself you can. It's a great feeling."