It’s been 6 months since I gave up alcohol – from the glasses of wine over dinner with friends and champagne toasts at weddings to the tequila shots at hen-dos and mojitos on holiday. I wanted to see what life was like without alcohol in it. Sure, it would be tough, or so I thought… but so many of the opinions and warnings I was given were just not true to my experience. So, if you’re thinking about taking on the OYNB challenge but are getting caught up in the stories that surround giving up alcohol, here are a few myths I feel are important to bust…
- It’s really difficult.
Myth! When I’ve told people I’ve given up alcohol, the usual response is ‘Oh I wish I could do that but I just could never commit to it’, or ‘wow that must be so hard, I could never do that’. But the truth is, if we went into anything thinking we couldn’t do it, then we wouldn’t. Sure there are moments of temptation, but there are also tools to help us deal with that. Our perceived difficulty of something is all relative; if we want something bad enough, nothing is difficult (did anyone see the Penguin episode of David Attenborough’s Dynasties with the Penguin who used her beak as a pickaxe to pull herself and her baby out of a freezing cavern?) When I realised that the lows I experienced after a night out – tiredness, not feeling my best, anxiety, lessened focus and productivity, wasted time, overshadowed the highs I was getting from a night out, plus the benefit of highs from the things I did instead of drinking – yoga, starting a business, writing more, being kind, spending time with people that lifted me higher, climbing mountains… well, it didn’t feel difficult at all. Change can be uncomfortable, it can feel safer and easier to stay where we are, even when we know that place isn’t serving us, but that place of discomfort is where the transformation happens. Plus, with OYNB you’ll get daily support emails and exclusive access to inspiring and supportive members group on facebook for any moments of difficulty you do feel.
- You have to miss out.
Again, not true. I’ve danced at weddings, had spectacular holidays, stayed up until 4 am dancing at an open-air nightclub, been to the pub with friends, and had the best New Year I’ve had in ages, all sober. Grab yourself a bottle of Nosecco, an alcohol-free beer, a mocktail or dealcoholized red wine and you’re right there with everyone else in the ritual of social drinking – no missing out required. Dancing sober is surprisingly liberating and confidence-building, and holidays without alcohol actually allowed me to fully enjoy the real treats a holiday has to offer from the gorgeous food, true restful sleep, and the magic of cool alfresco mornings before the hot day ahead. My motto has been ‘if I really want a drink I can have one’… it’s all about choice. It’s empowering to remind ourselves of this – the point is I don’t want to drink – not that I can’t And so when I take that empowering feeling into anything I do, I go with an open mind.
- Your life will change.
Yep, this one is spot on. When we decide to stop drinking alcohol, we’re making a conscious decision to change our lives for the better. Some things you used to do might fall away, but again, it will be conscious change rather than a behaviour we follow simply because everyone else does or because it’s what we’ve always done. And from this place we can begin to make a conscious change in other areas of our lives – exercise more or take on a new challenge. Start a side-hustle or volunteer. We stop doing the things that don’t serve or nourish us (alcohol) and start doing that which does.
- Life will be boring.
“Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true”. William Inge. I’ve had moments where I’ve thought ‘this is going to be boring without a drink’… but then I remember all the wonderful benefits, not drinking has given me, from feeling healthier and having better skin, to living more authentically and achieving more in my career. How can life be boring when I’m transforming my life? On the other hand, if I am bored, then I have to ask myself… why do it? Sure, we can drink to make an event more fun… or we could just not go! On top of that, the disappearance of alcohol in my life has made space for some amazing experiences – climbing a mountain on New Year’s Day, travelling more (and having more money to do it with!), completing my yoga teacher training, starting a new business, taking up new hobbies, meeting likeminded people… the list is endless, and definitely not boring.
- Everyone will judge you.
Myth! And in all honesty, I’ve realised that if I do ever feel a little resistance from someone towards my decision, it’s always down to their own relationship with alcohol, which has nothing to do with me. All in all, I’ve mostly experienced awe towards the lifestyle change I’ve made, and that’s a great feeling. It’s helped me feel pride, gain confidence in my abilities, and encourage me to take on new challenges.
Take the OYNB challenge and change your life today… it’s changed mine! Click: www.oneyearnobeer.com/takethechallenge