Before OYNB I would consider myself a bit of a ‘grey area' drinker. I was beginning to experience more and more negative effects after my alcohol consumption and would think about beer a lot. It was my reward to myself after a productive or stressful day. Moderation was hard for me and I would stress out before and after drinking because intuitively I knew it was making me feel bad. Drinking beer was my favourite part of socialising but I usually let myself down by having too much and feeling rubbish the next day. I don't believe I was ever at the point where I was physically dependant on alcohol, but I think I was certainly using it as an emotional crutch.
The last day I drank
I did not have a traditional trigger or rock bottom moment, but I can vividly remember the last day I drank because it was my first day of having a Kegerator. The next day, I woke up and I knew having that kind of access to alcohol was going to become a real problem if I didn’t do something. It was as though the “Universe” must have read my mind as an advertisement for OYNB popped up on my Facebook feed that day and I actually laughed out loud at the crazy idea. The seed was planted and the next day I decided to go for the 90 day challenge. I was totally terrified that I wouldn’t be able to stop and that life as I knew it was over.
My alcohol-free journey
The first couple weeks of my challenge I spent a lot of time reading about the science of alcohol, and going alcohol-free. It wasn't long before I started to recognise some of the issues discussed in the literature. My conscious brain was conflicting with my belief system about alcohol; this was the cause of constant stress. It was a battle between what I knew what was good for me, and what had been programmed into my belief system for so long. I had been convinced that alcohol in moderate amounts was not unhealthy, I should be able to “just have one” and be satisfied with that. Becoming educated about the science of alcohol reconciled the conflict that I had within myself. The relief was very quick and profound, I feel free. I don’t want it anymore because it’s bad for me.
My experience of OYNB
Participating in the OYNB Challengers Facebook group was so great as I could read other people's experiences with alcohol and share my own. I have been able to provided myself with the information I needed to decide I am not interested in trying to moderate. There is no need to prove to myself that alcohol is not good for me, I know I'm better off without it. It’s already been proven for me. As the literature suggests, I experienced so many positive outcomes from going alcohol-free. I am happy, more productive, better at my job, I sleep better, I am kinder to others (including my family), I have lost weight/inches, I am a better mountain biker, I love myself more and last but not least – I trust myself.