Why did I step out onto the scary ledge of going alcohol-free? Why, after years of heavy, daily drinking did I take on the biggest, most terrifying challenge that I could imagine – taking a break from alcohol?
The simple answer – because I had to.
By 2018, my life felt out of control and I had to acknowledge that my relationship with alcohol was problematic. I was drinking one to two bottles of wine a night on a regular basis. Weekends would pass in a blur of drinking, blackouts and hangovers. My marriage was in crisis. I was ashamed of how I would behave when drinking. My anxiety levels were sky high despite being on medication. My children were at home as infrequently as possible.
OYNB was my life raft
I knew I had to grab hold of it with both hands!
On NYE 2018, I glugged back my last glass of wine and committed to the 90-Day Alcohol-Free Challenge! It was truly terrifying. The first week was really tough. A cynical husband, a huge family feud, fierce cravings and not knowing what to do with myself instead of drinking. I wrote out my WHYs and journaled every day. I stepped up my gym routine and made myself accountable to my trainer as well. I dove head first into the incredible OYNB community and doused myself in the recommended quite lit! Every day, I committed myself to my journey: do whatever it takes to not give up!
The days began to add up
Day by day over time, my life began to change.
AF beers and lemony sparkling water have replaced wine. I have halved my anxiety meds. I have gradually lost some weight and my skin looks great! Being alcohol-free is better than any expensive skin care treatment! A strange, but wonderful calm happiness has started to take root. This is not some transient chemical induced good feeling, but something real and fundamental.
Most importantly, my children are happily spending more time with me and I am loving being with them, being more present in their lives, being part of their good days, bad days and just day days instead of parenting at what I have to admit, was a pretty superficial level. Wine time was more important than spending time with them.
My husband joined me a week after I signed up.
He was stunned that I made it through those first few difficult days! The combined effect of our joint sobriety on our marriage has been remarkable! A year ago we were in marriage counselling and could not have a discussion without an argument (drinks in hand!). We are now falling in love with each other all over again and making plans together for our future.
I have dusted off old dreams and goals: I am training as a life coach, studying up on addiction, starting to write again, working on growing my business and gradually getting back to feeling like me again. When I signed up, I set out to reclaim my life. Today I am building a better one.
It [being alcohol-free] is not always easy, but it is always worth it!