So, let’s start by talking about my relationship with Alcohol over the years; it’s been a rocky road and we’ve had our ups and our downs. At times we’ve had a relaxed love affair centered around recreational activities – nothing too heavy, a few nights out together a month, no strings attached…but like all love affairs, the longer they go on, so does the likelihood of one party wanting more, getting too involved and in the process getting hurt.
That’s usually me – it starts with feeling low and depressed the day after our encounter – the come down from our amazing night together…. then the fear sets in – I think I had a good night, but did I upset anyone? Was I rude? Did I make a fool of myself? It then creeps into other aspects of my life; alcohol helps me to unwind so why wouldn’t I indulge myself after a shitty day in work? Or on one of the weekends where I find myself available (and bored)? And before I even know that it’s escalated, I’m indulging in my ‘love affair’ up to 4 to 5 times a week and we’re not even ‘casual’ anymore, we’re in a full blown relationship.
OK, so by writing it down on paper, it does sound pretty toxic and I’ve had periods of self-reflection before where I’ve realised that I’m going down a pretty dangerous road if I continue. In these moments I’ve fortunately had the sense to realise it’s not doing me any good and I’ve made the choice to take back control. This time has been no different (except that this is probably the longest time in my adult life that I’ve gone without a drink!)
I’ve decided to consciously make the effort to explore what life would be like if I cut out alcohol completely. This process began in my friend’s kitchen over Christmas where she said she wanted to attempt to give up alcohol for a year – no pressure, just to see how it goes. Whilst I offered no comment at the time, it really got me thinking about my journey with alcohol, how I was feeling at the time and whether I thought I could do that…so quietly, I made a pact with myself, that instead of committing to the usual month’s detox in January, I would see how long I could go without drinking…period.
It’s now been 8 weeks and the benefits can be felt physically, but also mentally…I want to share with you, some of the perks I’ve experienced by not drinking!…
I’ve lost 1 Stone! (14lbs for my American friends or 6.5kg for any of you using the metric system). And not only that – I’m less bloated and I’m getting my hourglass figure back!
A better relationship with food
Ok this is a working progress because I also have an emotional connection with food. I am, however, no longer binge eating after a night out or ordering high carb take aways the day after to feed the hangover! Bonus!
Clearer, younger complexion
My face is slimmer, clearer and more vibrant! Before I started this – my skin had a greyish hue and my face wash bloated with a permanent double chin ring, that’s all gone and I’m beginning to free my facial features from the chub!!!
I have had 2 nights out so far this year completely sober! – this has probably been one of the biggest tests to my willpower and the longer I go without drink the less I want to fail!
- I am waking up most mornings with a lot more energy, it’s taking me less time to wake up and I’m starting my day positively (instead of driving to work bleary eyed).
- I’m also feeling more motivated to work out – I’ve re-joined the gym and it’s been less of a mental battle getting there (I guess because I don’t have this tempting alternative anymore – ‘don’t go to the gym Alison, stay with me, take a sip!’)
- My digestion is much improved too – I’ve always suffered from really bad acid reflux and IBS but, both have calmed down drastically since the New Year and I haven’t had to pop one Rennie this year yet!
Improved Mental Health
This one’s the biggy for me; it’s been transformational!
I’ve started 2020 with a more positive outlook – the anxiety is still there but it’s manageable and I no longer have the ‘beer fear’ feeding into my self-doubt and insecurities. If I’m struggling with something (be that stresses in work or not being able to sleep) I’m more rational – my clear head is helping to solve the problems and I feel less panicked. The feeling of day-to-day dread has gone – let’s remember folks that alcohol is a depressant!
I’m not looking too far ahead or saying that I’m going to be ‘on the wagon’ for life but whilst the momentum is there I’m going to keep going and see what the next 8 weeks bring!
So, here’s my challenge to y’all….is there something that is having a negative impact on your life? Or something you’ve been contemplating cutting back on? – DO IIIIIIIIITTTT!!! What’s stopping you? I guarantee there will be a whole host of positive changes…not least of all the feeling of accomplishment!
#goodvibes #willpower #selfimprovement #wellbeing