It’s beyond anything I could have imagined, I never knew you could live life without alcohol.

Life before OYNB was very much like a treadmill. Wake up, do my daily routines, pour a big glass of Pinot Grigio at 5pm for both myself and my (now ex) husband and watch TV. We’d usually finish the bottle, or two and fall asleep on the couch, eventually move to the bed, and then wake up and do it all over again. I was sad, uninspired, bored, and felt like I had no purpose. When we socialised, I’d like to have a Grey Goose Martini, dirty with olives or Champagne, I loved champagne!

Finding OYNB

I had done a month here and there with no alcohol and enjoyed it, and yet was always eager to get back to my daily dose. Approaching 2017, my husband at the time suggested that we do a dry January. I was shocked that he suggested it, as he’s from Ireland and enjoys his beers…and had never wanted to join me in the past when I did a dry month – so I was like YES, let’s do this together! Well, after the first 3 days, he gave in, but I didn’t, I was committed. That’s when I stumbled across OYNB on Facebook. So, I joined, and it was the beginning of the END!!!

I was happy to have the Facebook group to be able to get support from fellow seekers of sobriety. It was nice to have others on the same page and hear their inspiring stories, as well as when they would fall off the wagon. Nothing like a cautionary tale to keep you on the straight and narrow… I also really appreciated that it wasn’t AA – I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. I was a heavy social drinker. Not drinking had seriously never even crossed my mind, as it was always just part of the social norm that I grew up with. In fact, my dad’s best friend’s wife gave me my first drink at age 14. I told her I didn’t like the taste. She said, “I don’t either, I just gulp it down…” So that became my MO too. Having OYNB as a guide, for not only giving up the booze, but also encouraging getting out of the house and engaging in activities was fabulous!!! It was a mind shift, not just an abstinence program. 

My experience going alcohol-free

Well, the biggest outcome was me following my dream and moving to Maui, Hawaii, as well as my divorce after 13 years – which was not desired, but ultimately a non-drinker and a committed drinker are like oil and water. I’m sure some can figure it out, but for us, it seemed to shine a light on ALL the areas that we no longer meshed! 

I dropped 10 pounds, like instantly, which for me was great, but I was already slender, so it was just the perfect amount to lose. My skin cleared up, my sleep got WAY better. I no longer woke up in the middle of the night fretting over what I had said or didn’t say.

If I drank too much, I would be awake and feeling miserable. I envy the people who just pass out, but not me. I got to sit and stew in the horrible feeling of feeling sick and occasionally throwing up and unable to move for the next day. That has been one of the biggest blessings, waking up refreshed and ready to take on the day. It’s beyond anything I could have imagined, as I said, I never knew you could live life without alcohol. 

Some observations

My grandparents were teetotallers, which as a young child I would hear my parents make fun of them and then scurry around to pour their alcohol into a mug, so as to not upset my grandparents if they were over. I was made to believe that only weird, uptight people didn’t drink and that there was something wrong with them. 

I also noticed how pervasive alcohol is advertised in our culture. It’s everywhere!!! TV, magazines, movies, billboards, social media – truly the placement of alcohol in random places is flooring once you open your eyes to it! Another positive aspect is that I primarily attract non-drinkers into my life, which is awesome!!! However, I can also go out with a group of friends and have no problem with them drinking, I just have something NA or soda water.

I made the mistake of having a glass of champagne on my birthday 3 years ago. It went down so fast and so smooth. Holy cow! Within 15 minutes I was spinning. I couldn’t control my body, and I hated the way I was feeling. Yep, I was awake all night feeling terrible. It was such a great learning lesson. It truly is poison in my body so now it’s easy to refrain. 

The OYNB support

OYNB was a tremendous help! I’m not an addictive person, so releasing alcohol was relatively easy for me. I didn’t have withdrawals or any negative side effects. I’d say the hardest part was changing my habit of pouring that glass of wine at 5. Instead, I joined a yoga class at 4:30 and when the class was over, so was my desire to have a glass of wine. I also loved the challenges. There was a 5-minute plank challenge done by a fellow OYNBer that was epic! Absolutely loved it!

Overall the stories on the FB group were always so inspiring or a reminder as to why I’m doing this. I know I could not have kept my willpower up for almost 5 years without OYNB. I rarely go on the FB page now, but wow, every now and then I need that jolt of energy from that awesome, inspiring group! I also love to encourage newcomers. It is hard at the beginning and the only way to do it is one day at a time. 

What's next?

I have ZERO interest in drinking alcohol. I had 2-3 sips at my daughter’s wedding last year, but other than that (and the full glass on my birthday) I have zero desire and I love my alcohol-free life. It’s fun and exciting and now that I live on Maui in Hawaii, I wake up and do beach yoga, surf, hike, and love life each and every day!! I’ve recommended OYNB to at least 50 people!!! I tell people about it all the time!

 

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