“A few weeks in I remember crying because I felt so beautifully free.”
Drinking was always a fun event for me. I started in my early 20’s and always associated it with parties and going out dancing. When I was 25, I fell into bartending and that’s when alcohol started to become a bigger part of my life. I have to say, I loved drinking. It was always a happy event; I loved going to bars and meeting new people, having all sorts of “adventures”. I was a bit of a nerd growing up, and the newfound popularity from working at bars was fun. I prided myself on the fact that I never drank to cover up sad or negative emotions.
Then drinking wasn't so fun anymore
I remember years ago when I wanted to drink less. I was making choices that I wasn’t proud of, and instead of waking up the next day thinking “last night was awesome!” I was waking up (if I had even slept) with terrible self-loathing. I remember countless days spent feeling unworthy of love and wondering why people even liked me. Drinking wasn’t fun and fulfilling like it had once been, but I still felt compelled to do it.
A couple years ago I made the shift to drinking (almost) only on weekends. I felt better but still spent tons of time thinking about drinking, wondering if I should drink, making decisions about alcohol, and constantly talking to people (and myself) about wanting to change my relationship with alcohol. I still had out of control nights where I would end up ruining all the plans I had for the next day. The only option I knew for quitting was AA, but I didn’t identify as an alcoholic and knew that wasn’t the right option for me.
Finding One Year No Beer
I had been intrigued by OYNB for months but was afraid to join. The final straw came when I ruined the end of a perfect family weekend by drinking too much, spending the rest of the day feeling parched and irritable. I was sick of making what felt like unconscious choices about alcohol that were totally out of alignment with what I truly wanted. I signed up for OYNB two days later.
The first surprise upon signing up was that I felt an immediate strong sense of relief! I wanted to change my relationship with alcohol, but I was afraid that 90 days of no alcohol would be really boring. I wanted to know that I would make choices that were in alignment with my deeper desire to feel good and treat myself well. One of my original “why’s” was to trust myself. Something about paying for and committing to the challenge felt unexpectedly good!
My experience of the alcohol-free challenge
I found the first two weeks hard, especially weekends. I went to a couple parties and left early because I was uncomfortable and bored. I had a major meltdown about three weeks in which really opened my eyes to how much I had let alcohol be in charge of my life. That realisation just added fuel to my desire to complete the challenge.
Since going alcohol-free, the sweetest change is I have not hated myself for over three months. I’ve started doing things both big and small that seemed “too hard” or not “fun” enough. Things that my inner being wanted to do, but that drinking had kept me from doing. I also sleep better, my heart palpitations that I’ve had for years are mostly non-existent now, and my life is more deeply enjoyable! Plus, it’s been so awesome to know that anything I commit to, I will actually be able to follow through with!
OYNB gave me my freedom back from “alcohol jail”. A few weeks in I remember crying because I felt so beautifully free. Right now, I don’t plan (or want) to drink again. At the end of 90-days I realised I wanted to continue with this path so I signed up for 365 to see what else I can achieve. I’m so thankful for the group, the positivity of OYNB, and the fact that I’m finally free!