It’s Lockdown, it’s 7.30am and I am exhausted. I’ve a coffee in one hand and my phone in the other googling ‘easy ways to stop drinking’. I’d another night of broken sleep; waking at 2am with palpitations and unable to get back to sleep. This scenario was so very familiar to me.
I would have a few glasses of wine, head to bed and wake during the night and berate myself for finishing the bottle. I would swear that the next night would be different. But once I’d get through the initial fog of the morning, those feelings of shame and anxiety would dissipate completely by the evening and I’d tell myself that I surely deserved a couple of glasses. And there you have it; rinse and repeat.
But I knew this particular morning that I’d had enough and I knew something had to change.
Just to be clear, I wasn’t drinking every day. I never drank if I had to work the following day. I didn’t drink in the mornings or afternoon. I wasn’t hiding my alcohol consumption and it wasn’t adversely affecting my family. No one was concerned about my drinking except me.
I think if you are worried that you might be drinking too much then you probably are drinking too much.
My Google search led me to Annie Grace’s 30 Day Alcohol Free Experiment. Her story resonated so much with me. This programme, which was free, allows you to become part of a group that is undertaking this challenge as well but you don’t have to participate if you don’t wish to. (I didn’t but I liked seeing the same familiar names appear every day knowing that they were sticking it out)
There were daily emails and videos and it absolutely helped me stick to the challenge. I even abstained six weeks in total and I felt wonderful. But then the lockdown started to ease and I with my childhood friends, booked a spa break. I revelled at the chance to have a few drinks and relax.
Fast forward a few weekends after that and I had returned to exactly to where I had been. Feelings of anxiety, lethargy and almost disgust at myself for being unable to stop at one glass. Why was I doing this to myself? Again, I decided to take charge of my life and this time, undertake a 100 Day Alcohol Free Challenge.
Another Google search led me to a post by Elliott Oshoko and his own journey with alcohol abstinence. The post wasn’t preachy or holier than thou, which some of these articles can be. It was simple, he didn’t need alcohol in his life to enjoy it. There was an option to join his tribe at the end of the article. This is a WhatsApp group of people who have their own individual goals and ambitions. Their reasons for being part of this tribe range from alcohol free like myself, literary ambitions or just being more mindful. It’s a place of amazing diversity, encouragement and positivity.
Whilst alcohol-free I’ve had my birthday, a short family break (which would drive anyone to drink), a Christening and Dinner’s with friends. All these occasions previously would have been a wonderful excuse to hit the wine but the one thought that kept me going was how good I knew I was going to feel in the morning. I knew I would wake well rested and full of energy instead of trudging through the day cringing at some of the ‘hilarious’ things I said when I was drunk.
People for the most part have been supportive; my husband extremely so but the reactions have ranged from ‘well done’ to ‘you need to catch yourself on’. It’s lucky I’m a stubborn kind of gal and not easily swayed. I even influenced my dad who is in his late 60s who undertook his own alcohol free challenge, and is now on week 5. He plays it down, but I’m so proud of him. It isn’t easy changing habits that you have spent a lifetime building up.
The benefits of giving up alcohol are many and varied. My skin is better, I’ve lost weight and my energy levels have soared. I work out 4-5 times a week and I’m so productive from the moment I get up. I’m not as quick to anger and I feel like I take more delight in the simple things that ordinarily I might have overlooked. If I had read an article like this last year I’d have previously thought ‘Sod that, sounds like too much hard work and I’d rather have the wine’. But if I can do it, anyone can. And what do you have to lose? Nothing, but everything to gain. You deserve this, your family deserves this. You’ll never regret doing it, but you might regret not doing it.
- Keep a journal
- If it helps, set a time limit; 30 days or 60 days whatever makes it easier for you
- Download an App to count drinks not drunk and money saved
- Follow similarly minded people
- Listen to Podcasts: Annie Grace, Sober Curious or Seltzer Squad for example
My 100 days are over and I feel very proud of myself. I don’t know if I will drink again.
Could I be that person who says ‘No thanks, I don’t drink’???
Take the Alcohol Free Challenge
If you wish to take your own alcohol-free challenge and share your progress with me and other likeminded individuals click here to join our free WhatsApp group.
Other Tribe Transformations:
Charlie had been neglecting his health and drinking too much so he set himself the challenge of taking up powerlifting and going alcohol-free.. this led to him making an incredible transformation.