Updated: Jan 7, 2022
I had high hopes for how I would feel after ditching alcohol, but what I experienced was a snowball effect of enormous positive changes - it started to feel like a superpower.
This pic was taken 189 days after I decided to commit to a 90-day alcohol free challenge in October 2019. Once I knew I was invested in "testing the alcohol-free waters", I found an awesome organization called One Year No Beer (OYNB) with millions of people across the world doing 28-90 and 365 day wellness challenges. Through that organization and the amazing people I connected with, I was introduced to Annie Grace's book, This Naked Mind, and my whole world changed.
one piece to the puzzle
“Once I discovered the positive snowball effect I'm having in my life by removing alcohol, it's become an exciting challenge to see what's next.”
The picture on the right is my journal that became my new friend as I started diving into why I wanted to take the untrusted leap to the "other side". The journal houses a lot of reasons , including wanting to sleep better and wanting to reduce my anxiety, but my #1 why is the cutie in the hammock with me. She deserves the best version of me, and so do I. My biggest reflection in this entire journey so far has been realizing removing alcohol is just one piece to the puzzle of creating the person I am meant to be. It's about getting the time back that I wasted on caring about alcohol when I let it consume occasions in my life. The last six months have been full of life experiences and it's been so liberating to know with certainty that I don't need alcohol for any occasion in my life. We've been fed an enormous lie in society that alcohol is the elixir to fun, to relaxation, to life...and it's simply not true. It's been freeing to let that part of me explore this new version of myself and let beliefs go when virtually no one in my circle is doing the same. So many people are hanging on for dear life life to that part of them, the part of them that's been that way for as long as we can remember, since just past teenage years. It had been nagging at me for a long time to make a change and at least look at the possibility that life could be better on the other side. When I turned 40 last year, I knew it was time. For those just starting to get curious or begin your alcohol-free journey, I can tell you it is scary. Those feelings are real so don't push them away, validate them. Change is hard, especially when drinking has been engrained into our lives for so long. And it gets easier every day. Every occasion you rock being alcohol free builds your confidence. Not all days or occasions are smooth sailing, but it starts to feel like a superpower. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. Once I discovered the positive snowball effects by removing alcohol, it's become an exciting challenge to see what's next. It's starting to feel badass to know that I'm no longer bound by the wasteful mind trap of alcohol. In the amazing and more recent teachings of Annie Grace and others, I've learned 90% of adults who drink consider themselves gray-area drinkers, which means they have a desire to change their relationship with alcohol and feel like it consumes more time than they prefer in their lives. That doesn't surprise me at all. That was me, a little over 180 days ago. Wondering if my wine habits were affecting me, wondering if alcohol could be to blame for sleepless nights, through-the-roof anxiety and overall lackluster feelings towards life. Most of the 90% of drinkers are not physically addicted to alcohol, but emotionally-dependent. I am most shocked how quickly time has passed. I feel like I blinked and I'm sitting at 6-month mark. Once I got into the rhythm of my new normal, days started to tick by. Here's a quick list of benefits so far:
I feel calmer - things don't rattle me like they used to and I have an overall calm feeling I didn't used to have
I see things more clearly - the sense of clarity has been profound and enlightening and is likely what leads me to feel calmer
I feel more present - I used to think it made me more fun or a better parent but the truth is, it steals time away
I have more time, boy do I have more time - because I no longer focus on prioritizing drinking, especially on weekends, I have more time to play, be creative and focus on the important things
I find joy in the simple things - it all ties together, the more present I feel, the more I see the beauty and joy in the simple things around me that I missed under the haze of alcohol
My anxiety is almost non-existent which is huge! This was one of my most important whys as I suspected the vicious cycle of drinking and losing sleep was in fact creating my anxiety in the first place. Even one or two glasses of wine was sure to steal my sleep and notch up my anxiety
I've lost weight - my skin is brighter, my eyes are whiter and I feel lighter - mentally, emotionally and physically.
The value this journey has brought me thus far has already been extraordinary. The impact of one giant, yet relatively small, decision has been life-changing, and I'm certain it's just the beginning.