I am not missing out on anything at all by leaving alcohol out of the equation. On the contrary, I’ve only gained.

I had a habit of drinking 2-3 glasses of wine on most evenings for years. I was drinking to relax after work, to enjoy cooking, to fight boredom, to get out of doing things that matter, to celebrate, to relieve social anxiety, to battle loneliness – so really for any and all occasions. My drinking was not extreme by any means, but it was affecting me in more ways than one.

I felt stuck in my life of fuzzy tired mornings

Poorly slept nights, 3am anxiety with a racing heart and unbearably slow afternoons waiting for the clock to strike five to unwind. I was getting forgetful and irritable. I could not internalise new information. I wanted to have a clear mind, learn, develop, to live a healthy, fulfilling and abundant life. I knew that the key was to shake the alcohol induced lethargy and false contentedness.

I had quit countless times over the past several years. Over time I’d poured several bottles of wine down the drain in an effort to underline (to myself) that this time I mean business – only to end up stopping by a store the very next day to get another bottle “just for tonight”, and to postpone quitting till tomorrow.

Breaking the cycle

I had seen OYNB pop up in my Facebook feed now and again. During the first days of yet another attempt at quitting the wine habit, I made the decision to join. I did not have any expectations, but I was hoping that joining a group would make me commit firmly. Joining was “easy” as there was no stigma associated with the challenge. And it did make a difference!

It turned out to be the best decision I could have made. It was the first time I realised that there are quite a few of us who have been or are in a similar unhealthy relationship with alcohol, so I was not alone – I was in good company. OYNB daily emails and video clips have been wonderfully encouraging and full of great advice.

My OYNB journey

The first days and weeks were a struggle at times. I was craving for a glass of cold crisp white. I was feeling vulnerable and alone, and cried a few times for my “lost friend”. I ate sweets liberally. Especially during times of low resolve, I was glued to the OYNB Challengers Facebook page. This is such a positive platform full of amazing, supportive people and stories that can carry one through! After my body and mind adjusted, it got easier and the feelings of sadness and numbness turned into relief and joy.

My alcohol-free gains

Countless positive changes have taken place during this year and I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my life on a new level. I am reclaiming my life. I have become present and most importantly more available for my daughter. My sleep is better than in years – I get several hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. I’ve lost the puffiness. I have a ton more of energy and my memory and ability to concentrate are vastly improved.

I’ve picked up some great new habits. I wake up bright and early to do yoga, meditating and reading. I’ve been studying before daybreak and am on the verge of a career change. I’ve started jogging again and I no longer have heart palpitations in connection with running. And I can come and go as I please without having to think about blood alcohol levels behind the wheel, so I can now take my daughter for 8pm after dinner ice cream!

I believe that taking the 365 challenge made a huge difference in my resolve. I am truly grateful to OYNB for giving me the tools not only to cope, but to flourish and go beyond by stressing the meaning of new habits and self-development. I now understand that I am not missing out on anything at all by leaving alcohol out of the equation. On the contrary, I’ve only gained. I enjoy my fresh Saturday mornings, my sober social life with no regrets, the steps that I am taking to enrich and advance my life, my newly found freedom as a non-drinker! I feel grounded and light. I am proud of myself and of all the Challengers making a difference in their own lives! Whatever it takes on this journey, because it is truly worth it!

 

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