Going alcohol free has been the best decision I have ever made. Here is why!
In this post I discuss why I decided to go alcohol free and how sober life is awesome. Picture one April 2018. Hungover with crippling fear, face bloat and feeling awful. Picture two August 2018, a stone lighter and a lot brighter.
May 26th 2018 is the last time I drank. I wasn’t doing anything particularly special that weekend. I spent the weekend in Dublin following a few days at a work conference where we had a great night out in the Guinness Storehouse. There wasn’t a particular event or incident that made me decide “I’m never drinking again”. It wasn’t one of those hungover Sunday promises or as a result of something bad happening. It was just time.
Why I gave up alcohol for good
Giving up alcohol for good was a long time coming; five years in fact. Five years of stopping and starting as I battled health conditions, depression, anxiety and weight problems.I wasn’t a huge drinker, not every day or even every weekend. It wasn’t something which caused me problems when I was out. I enjoyed drinking and had fun doing so or other times I’d just want to go to bed. I wasn’t an alcoholic that had to stop, it just wasn’t for me. For a long time I recognised it didn’t agree with me, the after effects being a lot more severe than a hangover. My mam always said I have to be allergic but this isn’t something a young woman in her early twenties wants to listen to.
I persisted but so did the severity of the hangovers. I’m not talking a bad headache and a bit of vomiting, none of that actually. I’m talking crippling anxiety, depression, no motivation, chronic fatigue, the fear so bad I couldn’t leave bed for all of the next day and struggle with the days after. At the lesser end I’d have flu like symptoms, the harsher being suicidal thoughts. It had to give eventually.
Every few months I would vow to give it up but never stick with it for more than a few weeks. In April this year I went to see a naturopath about my spiralling health conditions, not alcohol related (or so I thought). As it turns out, my mother was right (aren’t they always right). An allergy test turned up an intolerance to yeast and wheat among some other things. Yeast the beast. This little ingredient that so happens to be used to ferment alcohol. I won’t embarrass myself by going into the science but there it was, alcohol, specifically yeast, was making me sick. It’s too much to go into now but it was causing a lot of problems.
Rather than give up , I found some alcohol that wasn’t brewed with yeast and so became friends with gin. This lasted a few weeks, straying occasionally to beer and wine because you know, “it’ll be grand”. I was paying big money to the naturopath for herbal medicine, following the diet and still feeling shite!
The main driver behind giving up for good was my job. I started my job in January and was doing really well in it. Every month I was smashing targets and impressing my boss, going above and beyond my role to help others and provide value. Despite constantly running on about 40%, I was really putting my stamp on the job and loved it. But the hangovers persisted and I began to not love it so much, I began to dread Mondays and live for the weekend just wanting the days to go by quickly. I really hated this feeling. I’m one for loving life and living every day. I never wanted to be someone who dreaded Mondays and lived for Fridays – such a cliche. I want to love my job and be happy every day. The seven day hangovers were stealing my happiness so it was time to reclaim it. I figured if I was this good running on half empty, what would I achieve with 100% all in.
Being alcohol free is awesome
So I gave it up. Clean cut, simple. It was time. After 15 years of drinking, it was time to claim my life, my happiness, my energy and my health back. Today marks 90 days alcohol free and I couldn’t be happier. I feel vibrant, there’s a sparkle running through me that shines constantly. Like a shot of electricity that continues to burn as if someone has turned my switch back on and allowed me to live again. My breath is fresh, my eyes are clear and I truly feel alive.
Going alcohol free has allowed me to take stock and start again. I treasure each moment and am grateful for every thing I have. Waking up each day with a fresh head ready for action is an amazing feeling. My alarm goes off early, I wake and thank God for a new day, meditate for a few minutes, read a bit of a positivity book or listen to a video or podcast and journal a bit. I’ll have a shower, take my herbs, have a cup of tea and start work in the best mindset possible. A few months ago I would have rolled out at five to eight, grabbed tea and started in a slump.
I have lost weight, become more mindful and my anxiety has pretty much disappeared. My days seem longer and more fulfilled, I exercise often, read, draw, sing, dance and come up with creative ideas. When I sleep, I wake refreshed and I have bundles of energy.
Sober life is awesome and really everyone should try it. Most people ask me if I miss it? Miss what? The momentary cheer and silliness where mostly you just need to wee. The numbing of real feelings to pretend you’re happy for a few hours. Paying to poison yourself for fun only to spend the following days in mental and physical agony. No, I really don’t miss it at all.
Going alcohol free has offered me a fresh perspective. I have more confidence, I love myself and who I am, I’m at peace and I’m truly, deeply happy. And I would cheers to that any day!
One Year No Beer
I kick started my journey by signing up to the OYNB 90 day challenge. It helped me get into the rhythm of not drinking by joining a tribe of like minded people. They have 28, 90 and 365 day challenges. The daily accountability and videos helped motivate me and get me to the place where I’m a very happy ‘non-drinker’. The support group is fantastic and the enthusiasm of founders Andy and Rurai is infectious. They have tonnes of podcasts and resources to look at. Check out oneyearnobeer.com for more.