“I have loved the learning experience. It’s like having a life coach at my finger tips.”
I have always struggled with alcohol and tried to stop many times in the past. It always started with a glass of wine here and there, and later 2 glasses, and always ended up with wine everyday. After reading ‘This Naked Mind’ I realised that I was brainwashed into holding certain beliefs about alcohol. It makes you relax, alcoholism could be in my genes, it gives me personality, helps me have fun, I can still be fully functional, it could be good for your health etc etc.
Everybody around me (even loved ones) told me I didn’t have a problem with alcohol and there’s nothing wrong with drinking 2 or 3 glasses of wine every night with dinner (let’s be honest it’s pretty much a bottle a day!) Fact is it was all lies. Alcohol made me tired, dehydrated, guilty, ashamed, feel like a bad mother and wife and it stole a lot of my time, energy and money. It stole my self confidence, my mental clarity and my love for myself. It controlled me. The only thing that made me happy was my glass of wine (and I had a perfect life – one to be happy about!) There is not one single positive thing about my relationship with alcohol. I’d use it to escape reality but we can never really escape, it’s always back the next day plus the hangover!
I read an OYNB testimonial on Facebook and it felt like it was me writing it. It was MY life this lady was describing. I decided there and then that this was it. I signed up for the challenge but spent the next 3 days finishing all the alcohol in the house. I started reading the OYNB Challengers Facebook group posts and was amazed at how many people go through the same thing as me. At last people are being honest about their experiences and not trying to validate their negative relationship with alcohol.
I got into quit lit which helped me to realise that my problem with alcohol was all in my head. I had been thinking about alcohol, and quitting alcohol all wrong which was why I had been struggling to kick the habit. The first 10 days of my challenge were hard but got better thereafter. I had 3 blips but just one sip or one glass of wine, not the usual one after the other! The OYNB group’s positivity and support after a blip helped a lot. The best thing about being alcohol-free is that I can feel my usual bounding energy returning – I feel like a varsity student again! I have more mental clarity and I deal with reality better. I have dreams I want to achieve, so I have been setting myself goals and I have been so much more productive. I’ve always exercised, but now it feels like the exercise is actually working as it should.
My alcohol-free journey
I have loved the learning experience. It’s like having a life coach at my finger tips. The emails, community support and the literature have introduced me to healthy eating, exercise and meditation. I think this has been key as I have been replacing bad habits with good ones. I learned what my triggers were e.g. when I am hungry, I want wine and but now have the tools to deal with this when it happens. The most difficult thing I have found was that I can’t convince everybody to join me in living AF. My 2 teenage sons are starting to experiment with alcohol and I can’t help but feel like I’ve been a bad example over the years. I don’t want to preach at everybody the whole time, but I want to convince them to leave alcohol altogether!
OYNB has been a lifeline for me and has completely changed my life. I still get scared that I will slip and fall back into old habits, so I decided to sign up to the 365-Day Challenge. I really want to feel like this forever and I don’t want to NEED alcohol ever again. Thank you OYNB for your great support and programme!