Five Unexpected Bonuses of Ditching the Drink
Apr 04, 2021
I wanted to stop drinking because I seemed to have lost the ability to moderate. And spending most of your time hung over is no way to live your life.
I thought not-drinking would be just that, my life the same but without booze. And possibly more dull, because – well, the clue is in the word, surely? Sober.
What I didn’t expect was my life would suddenly open up into full colour. Drinking regularly had sneakily shrunk my life into a dull colourless box, bit by bit, when I wasn’t looking.
That was awesome. As was the relief of having my energy back again, my joi de vivre, my skin improving, being there for my family, not spending a small fortune at Dan Murphy's, not worrying about having enough wine in the house, mornings without a headache and a furry mouth and not drinking a million excess calories every night.
But what I didn’t expect were the little things, which are actually quite big things. Such as:
- I started liking myself again. I actually did what I said I would do! I decided I didn’t want to drink so I STOPPED DRINKING. I finally put an end to that tedious ongoing push-pull saga I had going on: “I don’t want to drink”, “But I do want to drink”, “I need to stop”, “but I’m not an alcoholic, why should I stop?”, “but I feel awful when I drink”, “but I might be missing out”, etc. Big yawn. All that chatter and angst and the to-and-fro of the devil and the angel on my shoulders … I didn’t understand how I could want something so badly (to not drink) but still do the opposite (keep drinking). All of that mental load GONE. Stopped. No more. Cue huge sigh of relief. I’m super hugely proud of this achievement, even though it was 6 years ago. I wanted to do it, so I did.
- I still have fun when I go out. I can still chat and hug and belly laugh with girlfriends and still dance like an electrified ferret and not give a damn. I can do karaoke, work do’s and romantic dinners all alcohol free and they’re still hilarious/tedious/tender, because they’re about the people, not my drunkenness.
- Um. So. Sex. Turns out it doesn’t need starter fluid to get the fire going. And it’s even better when you haven’t numbed yourself. And that’s enough said about that.
- You can’t die from feelings. I thought they were dangerous and scary. I thought the big ones would be SO hard to manage and might possibly undo me completely. Not so. You just feel them and you, y’know, sit there, and feel them some more. Then you do something about what you’re feeling or you don’t. And then they go away. And that’s it. They have no more power. They’re just feelings.
- My self respect went up massively (see 1 above). I started having less tolerance for crap in my life, because I stood up to that bullying mean-girl alcohol and dealt with her ass. That means I don’t have to deal with anyone else’s crap either. I’m not all gung ho, right you’re under-performing in my life so you’re OUT! I’m not judging anyone. But I’ve gone up in my own self estimation and I like who I am. I’m disorganised and I forget things and I’m tone deaf; but I’m also a loyal friend and fun-ish to be around and I’m also quite good at drawing horses, due to a youthful obsession. I’m far from perfect but I really like this version of me. I respect who I am.
There are a LOT of upsides to ditching the drink. A lot. There’s just five of mine.
What do you think you would you like best about not drinking?
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