Of all the changes I’ve made in my life over the past few years, the one that people are most intrigued about and comment on the most is my decision to give up drinking alcohol.
I did start getting an urge to give up drinking about two years before actually committing to it. I would go to a party intending to stick to the soft drinks but would cave at the very first “Oh come on, have one with us”.
Why did it take me so long to give up alcohol?
Because I wasn’t an alcoholic.
That kept me drinking for a long time, and I think it probably keeps other women drinking for longer than they really want to.
But what I came to realise was that even though it wasn’t negatively impacting my life in general, alcohol was having a serious negative impact on me.
There are some real mental hurdles to jump over when you’re considering quitting drinking; especially when you’ve been raised in British drinking culture where socialising and alcohol go hand in hand.
We didn’t really have alcohol in the house when I was growing up, but as soon as I became a young adult and started going out, it was just what everybody did.
So as an adult, I really had to change my attitude towards drinking.
The result is that I’ve now been alcohol-free for over a year and, honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s like a well-kept secret that you only discover once you master the mental gymnastics involved in ditching the booze.
No more wondering if I said something stupid or offended someone while drunk, no more bargaining with myself about whether to stick to wine or gin or to try to limit myself to just two drinks (never works). No more hangovers that, combined with a chronic illness, had me feeling at death’s door.
That’s not to mention clearer skin, steadier mood, and better sleep. But the best thing about stopping drinking has been reclaiming so much time.
No more hours lost to the drunken time machine, where all of a sudden, it’s 1am when you meant to leave at 10pm. No more mornings lost to being hungover, and no more time and mental energy used up on thinking about what to drink, when to drink, and how much to drink.
If you’ve found yourself toying with the idea of giving up alcohol, trust me when I say it’s so much better on the other side.
And no, you really don’t have to be an alcoholic to decide to give up alcohol.
If you want help learning to tune into your body, the Weekly Wellness Tracker can help you identify the triggers that are affecting your physical symptoms so you can make changes to feel better quickly.
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