“I am so happy, I finally have the fire that I’ve always searched for. I’m so excited to see what other changes this year will bring.”
I had always been a heavy drinker, always out at the bar being the life of the party. There was always something to celebrate or a special occasion to go out for. Everything revolved around alcohol and it always included a lot of it. As I got older, my friends were having kids and getting married, so I didn’t go out as much. I soon realised I could drink wine at home by myself – seemed like the thing to do because I was now in my 30s.
Why I decided to take on the AF challenge
What used to take one glass to get a glow started taking 3 glasses and before I knew it, it was 1 or 2 bottles a night! That became my norm for the last 3 years. Every day I would wake up miserable, tired, feeling rubbish and telling myself that today would be the day that I wouldn’t drink. Yeah right. By the end of the workday I couldn’t wait to get home to have my wine. I’d wake up so disappointed, this was a daily battle. Reflecting on my life then, I would come home to an empty house, I have no children or husband, no obligations. I’d reason with myself that this meant I could just drink and feel sorry for myself, because I was lonely and wanted those things. We all know how much of a depressant alcohol is, so it only made the feelings of loneliness worse. As I came to realise, loneliness was my biggest trigger.
I had seen OYNB ads on Facebook before, and for whatever reason this one testimonial hit me. It sounded like I could have written it, she was describing how I felt. She went on to say how things changed for her when she took on the alcohol-free challenge. I was sick of being an empty shell of myself and I wanted what she was feeling being alcohol-free. 365 days seemed terrifying and so far out of reach, so I signed up for 90 days!
My experience of OYNB
I was overwhelmed at the outpour of encouraging words and support from the Facebook tribe, and really enjoyed watching my daily emails while I ate breakfast so I could start my day off on a good note. For the first time I wasn’t alone, these people were all fighting the same battle I was! I wasn’t alone with my fears, and thoughts, I had a safe place to share them and ask for advice.
As it turns out, I had an alcoholic fatty liver, and after much medical testing was told if I had continued on this path, I would have had cirrhosis in a matter of years. I had extremely high blood pressure, even though I was medicated for it and severe hot flashes that would leave me lightheaded and soaked in sweat. I had gained quite a bit of weight and was at my heaviest in years. I was in such a rut and just not excited about life the way I once was. I hated that alcohol controlled me and I drank to suppress the anxiety and loneliness, which in turn left me secluded and drinking alone.
Well, I never thought I would be here, but I’m past my 90 days with not one drop of alcohol and continuing on to the BIG 365! I am officially off blood pressure medication and have not had a hot flash in months. My liver functions are in range on my recent bloodwork, I have so much energy and have never had better sleep in my life. I even have dreams again.
My AF benefits
I have been going to the gym, eating healthy and I have lost 17 pounds in the last month. I have even signed up for a 5K cancer run this summer! I now spend my free time volunteering on a regular basis for various events around the city and I am attending church faithfully every Sunday. I have also signed up for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. These are all things I wanted to do for years but thought I didn’t have the time and definitely didn’t have the energy.
There are so many amazing benefits, I could go on and on. There is NOT ONE downfall to being alcohol-free. I wish I would have made this huge life change years ago. I’m so grateful for OYNB, they gave me a lot of great tips and tricks to curbing the cravings and getting through those rough patches. I loved the Facebook tribe, for being so supportive, caring and understanding. I always had someone to listen when I was having a tough day. I’m thankful to god for giving me the strength to push through the hard times, and for my family and friends for being an amazing support system
I am so happy, I finally have the fire that I’ve always searched for. I’m so excited to see what other changes this year will bring. Looking forward to my amazing journey of living alcohol-free.