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...
I badly wanted to turn back the clock. Not for because I wanted to look younger, or be able to “do over” some of my more memorable stuff-ups, but because I wanted to get back my “take it or leave it” attitude to wine.
I just wanted to drink like I did in my 20s. Back then, I didn’t even think about it, I didn’t count units, I didn’t care if I drank or not … why couldn’t it be like that again?
It seemed so unfair that back then I didn’t care if I moderated or not. Now I was a wife and mother and responsible adult and I wanted to rein in my drinking … I just couldn’t.
We’ve all heard of habituation and tolerance, but I didn’t realise until I really started looking into it that drinking regularly actually physically changes your brain. Physically. Like, that lumpy grey stuff in...
I was chatting to a woman recently on one of my free discovery calls. She’s a business coach with years of experience, and a lot of her work is done intuitively. She was interested in joining the January Reset, because she had found she was reaching for wine in the afternoon as a quick “go to” when she was feeling stressed. She said that it was starting to take a lot of energy to manage her drinking, and she was feeling very stuck.
However, she was feeling resistance to joining the course. As we talked, it became clear that her biggest feeling was fear. Fear of being judged by those around her. Fear of missing out on fun stuff with friends. And the biggest of all – fear of failure. She was in accustomed to nailing it. Getting things done. Kicking goals. What if she couldn’t “do” the Reset? What if she tried and had a drink before the end of the 21 days?
I used to have this love/hate thing going with Christmas. I really looked forward to it – but I also dreaded it because I knew that it would involve alcohol everywhere I turned. And I knew I’d be hungover and exhausted a lot of the time. To be honest, I sometimes found myself turning down invitations to go out, because I’d rather stay home and “avoid the craziness” ie have a bottle of wine to myself at home, where I could drink as much as I liked.
This is my fifth sober Christmas and I’m relaxed and full of happy anticipation about the next month. I’m not one of those “I miss drinking so much” people, because I’ve changed my beliefs about alcohol. I think I’m super lucky to not have to deal with hangovers and exhaustion any more. If you’d like to try an alcohol-free Christmas, here are my top 3 tips.
You choose: a night, a...
Have you tried to cut back on your drinking and found it hard?
Do you look at others and wonder how they do it?
I did too. I’d see other people decide they weren’t going to drink during the week, or were only going to drink with others, and think to myself, How are they doing that?
Now I know.
It’s because I kept repeating Day 1. I didn’t realise that I simply had to get some distance between me and the last drink.
When we’re Grey Area Drinkers, it’s hard to admit that drinking has become a habit. When it’s a habit, we’re regularly drinking an addictive substance. Regularly drinking an addictive substance will mean we’re somewhere on the spectrum of addiction. Maybe only lightly on the spectrum, but if drinking is part of our lives, we’re constantly in withdrawal.
So the first few days of not drinking...