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What I learned by quitting alcohol

I'd never had an amazing relationship with alcohol. My problem was that I didn't know how to moderate. Being a Northern girl growing up being taught that drinking until your blackout was the only way to REALLY have fun, I didn't really know anything else. My bad habits with drinking continued well into my twenties. In fact, they got worse. I'd find myself in all sorts of tricky situations: thrown out of bars for being paralytic drunk, passed out on the side of the street, arguing with friends: that's really only the half of it.


As I entered my 30's I started to really struggle with how alcohol affected my mood. After a night of heavy drinking I would wake up with crippling anxiety that would last for at least a couple of days, all my healthy habits would go out the window (no exercise or eating well for me, thank you), and I would feel like utter rubbish until Thursday rolled around again and I restarted the cycle.


When a friend of mine went sober, it sparked my curiosity of cutting alcohol out of my life. Inspired by her to educate myself on how alcohol affects the body and mind, I decided to give it a try. I'm now almost 4 months sober and have learned the following:


  1. You can still have fun without alcohol

Your not actually a bore without alcohol. Alcohol gives us a false sense of security and confidence, but the longer you use it as a crutch, the longer you run away from people meeting the real you. The real you may go to bed a few hours earlier and may not be the first to hit the dance floor, but doesn't repeat the same story & does respect personal space.


2. There are such things as drink pushers


Before quitting alcohol for real, I would often be persuaded to break a sober streak by someone at a party saying "oh just have one". I'd think, "well, they're all going to think I'm really boring if I say no" and "it would be much easier and more fun if I do get involved and have a drink" but the fact is, them pushing drink on you when you've told them you aren't drinking is a reflection on how they feel, not about you. Stick to your guns and you'll feel much happier and hangover free in the morning.


3. Your limits are endless


Now I no longer spend my days lulled in a drunken stupor, it's incredible what you can achieve in 1 day. On Sundays now, I've usually been up and conducted a spring clean before 11am, whereas in my drinking days I'd just about be coming round to the world and have one eye open to order KFC directly to bed.


4. Your body changes


I've always thought of myself as someone that lives a relatively healthy lifestyle. Yes, I drank, but so did everyone else. And I also exercised and ate well most of the time. But when I stopped drinking I noticed my body change in ways it never had before. I, for the first time in a long time, had definition in my abs and my skin glowed like it never had before. Coincidence, I think not.


5. You inspire others


Turns out most people also want to rethink their relationship with alcohol. To cut down or cut it out completely, but because it forms such a huge part of our society, it doesn't really seem like an option. Since quitting drinking, I've noticed people reach out to ask for tips, and feel open to share that they would also like to drink less. Once you start to be open an confident with your decision to either stop drinking completely, or drink less, you'll notice most people are completely accepting of it, and you may even inspire others too.


Some helpful sources that inspired me to quit:


Social:

@Sobergirlsociety

@Proudandsober

@CatherineGray


Books:

The unexpected joy of being sober

A Million Little Pieces

How to Quit Drink Easily


Good luck!

Sophie


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