I was someone for whom one drink was never enough.

One would always lead to at least three double gin and tonics, or more than a bottle of wine. Even on weekdays (I tried to limit my drinking to weekends only, but occasionally I slipped up), one glass would turn into half a bottle. I turned 50 in 2020, and hangovers had been becoming progressively worse since my forties. I used to be able to cope with the after-effects just fine, but eventually the hangovers started taking their toll, especially with two small children to look after.

I’d been trying to give up drinking for a few years. I started with ‘Dry January’ about five years ago, but kept progressively extending it. It never really stuck afterwards. Then one morning, I saw OYNB pop up on Facebook and decided to try the 90-day challenge. I figured if I was paying for it, I might have a better chance of success.

I said, “one last drink” for the last time

Initially, I was hoping to get to three months alcohol-free. I started on 1 September 2021, and then ten days later decided to have ‘just one drink’ at my sons’ birthday party, once all the games had finished and the adults were tucking into the cocktails. One margarita turned into six, and the rest of the day was a write-off. Even though the party was a success, I felt terrible about ruining the evening for myself. The day after, I said, “Fine… I’ll have one last drink,” (which turned into three), and that was the last time I drank. 

It doesn’t take long now to feel like myself

I’ve been practising yoga more regularly, but the biggest change has been in the quality of my sleep. When I was drinking, I’d invariably wake up at 4am feeling terrible, have to pop a pill to get back to sleep, and then feel groggy the next morning. Now my sleep is much better and generally uninterrupted—unless by my kids! I also have fewer headaches than before. 

I did expect to bounce out of bed every morning feeling fantastic, and while this hasn’t happened (I blame ‘old age’ and the occasional sugar hangover), it doesn’t take long now to feel like myself after a shower and a coffee. I’ve kind of substituted alcohol with sugar (a common occurrence, it seems), and now, six months in, I’m trying to wean myself off that. As a result, I haven’t lost any weight, which would have been nice! But at least I’ve stayed off the alcohol, and the rest can follow. 

No one gets it unless they’ve gone through it

I definitely feel “I’ve paid for it, and therefore I’m going to stick to it.” This mindset also eventually got me to sign up for the 365-day challenge. I’m generally one of these people who tries to do everything themselves and hates taking help from others. But once I accept the help, I’m all in. I love the OYNB community, and being part of a group where you can rant, show off, and talk about the highs and lows. No one else gets it unless they’ve gone through it… and why should they?

So far, so good

The first three months were a bit of a white-knuckle ride, but completing four months has made it much easier. Although, parties can be excruciating once everyone crosses the line from happy to slurring! But so far, so good. I’ve managed to abstain for over six months, and now I’m on to a year. I genuinely don’t feel like drinking now.

 

Take the challenge

 

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