My biggest change is me. I now know who I am, and that I rather like this person.
My life before ONYB is one that will probably resonate with a lot of people out there. On paper, I have it all – the fantastic family, the lovely house, good car and amazing job. I, like a lot of my friends drank socially and often at home – no big deal. Until it wasn’t and slowly, I began to notice that my fun filled relationship with alcohol changed.
It went from the Fridays and Saturdays and special occasions to the any emotion or state warranted a drink; a hard day at work = glass of vino, feeling low as I’d missed my target at Weight Watchers (again) = glass of vino, it’s Friday (subsequently Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday….) = vino. And often it didn’t just stop a one glass.
My relationship with alcohol
So, I never missed a day of work and still managed to do everything I wanted to do, so clearly, I didn’t have a problem did I? To evidence this I did dry January every year and sometimes even Sober October too. Definitely not a problem, and yet why did I find myself clock watching, making plans so I didn’t have to collect kids in the evenings, hustling them off to bed so I could get some quality ‘me’ (aka vino) time. I think this and a realisation that my body didn’t seem to process it as well meant that the headaches lasted for days (ooh headache = glass of vino).
Taking on the OYNB Alcohol-Free Challenge
For me, doing OYNB was a challenge. I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t have an issue with drinking and that after 30 days I could go back to saturating myself in gin. I had absolutely no intention of giving up the booze as it is quintessentially a part of me. How could I be fun mum without a drink?!
So, then I got to 30 days and thought let’s try for 90 (no ways I was committing to a year!) I was surprised that I didn’t lose weight immediately. I assumed that stopping drinking, the weight would fall off. Likewise, I assumed that my life would become instantaneously better overnight, again that didn’t magically happen. But that by taking away my default coping mechanism I (firstly) began to feel and then to learn that I had to deal with the things that made me uncomfortable, learn to say no and become more resilient.
My experience of the challenge
For me, the daily video’s were inspiring and a game changer; I’m so busy (like most people) that I don’t have time to invest in self help books (and to be honest neither the inclination) but the daily bites were just enough to keep my interest and then allow me to reflect on them during the day.
Then I got to a year and I had realised that my relationship with alcohol had shifted exponentially. I actually liked myself and I wasn’t defined by what I was drinking. It was empowering enlightening and bloody amazing. At this point, I realised I’d never drink again – not because I ‘had a problem’ but because it adds nothing to my life. My biggest change is me. I now know who I am, and that I rather like this person. OYNB gave me the tools to look inside and challenge myself and my relationship with alcohol.
Since stopping – I can honestly say I am now living my life as opposed to existing, I was a passenger before, now I am really really living.
My new life
My relationships with my children and my partner have improved, I’m less grumpy and more mindful – I live in the moment more (by no means perfect at this). I try and listen as opposed to thinking ‘can I squeeze in another glass of wine.’ I’ve also become acutely aware of the role model I want to be and how much alcohol influences all our lives. I am calmer and able to cope with situations better. With all the free time I have I am now doing triathlons. In the last 3 months I’ve dropped 11kgs and completed a ½ ironman. I think my doing this I can be a far more effective role model than with a glass in my hand to my children and to the patients I support.
I love that it was so subtle I didn’t notice the transformation happening – if you had asked at the beginning if I could have done 90 days, I’d have laughed at you. The difference between this and Sober October is that it changes your beliefs and core values and makes you question these ingrained issues.
I don’t have a relationship with alcohol now
It never even crosses my mind. 100% the whole program is amazing, it’s a complete game-changer. The Facebook support group is brilliant and it’s a place where you can share your concerns, fears and worries in a beautifully supported and well moderated group.
I would highly recommend OYNB to any and every one, maybe you don’t have a problem with the booze, maybe you are slightly worried or perhaps you know you should do something but not sure what – then try it – there is really nothing to lose (it costs less as I was spending on wine). OYNB will be help you to discover the best version of yourself and to be the best you.
I cannot thank you enough.