My life has fundamentally shifted and there’s no way I’m going back!

I drank daily, usually 3 or 4 drinks before I made my way to bed. Anytime something stressful happened I would say ‘I need a drink’. It is so easy to get caught up in the memes that glorify having a drink after hard day, that it was natural for me to slide right in.

I made the decision to quit drinking last year because I didn't like how often having a drink would dominate my mind. I didn't like that I avoided problems, instead defaulting to unwind after a long day with some special red juice. I wanted to face my stressors and triggers head on, so it wasn't the same loop of shit over and over.

Starting OYNB

Once I made the decision to quit drinking, I knew I needed some process to follow to get me started so I signed up to start the OYNB Alcohol-Free Challenge. I am a creature of habit so replacing my ritual was the hardest part for me, but I felt grounded, connected to a higher purpose. I started to think, I can definitely do this!

A couple weeks in, I had to attend our company’s annual meetings out of town. There was an open bar, and colleagues I hadn’t seen since the prior year. This was the first time I was in a social situation since starting my challenge and I let the pressure get to me, and I had a drink. More than one in fact, I drank the entire week I was there. My perfect feeling of confidence was shattered, but I reset my Day 1 and carried on. I see now that this was the wake-up call that made me realise I wanted this to be a life choice.

What I have achieved since going alcohol-free

Taking on this challenge has led me to realise how much alcohol had been my blind spot in life beforehand. While 2020 was the most difficult year for some, it was a game changer for me. Professionally, I was named Employee of the Year for my contributions to the company’s reporting infrastructure. Physically, I lost the 20 pounds I didn’t know was hitching a free ride thanks to alcohol. Academically, I decided to pursue my MBA and have been able to maintain a full course load with a 4.0 GPA. I made big moves to contribute to the success of the companies my husband and I own together. I passed the certification to become a Certified Applicator for a pest control business we plan to open in the next couple years, I passed examinations to add additional specialties to our contracting business and hired a full-time office manager who I’ve trained to taken on core requirements. I applied and was appointed to the Board of Adjustments for my local city government and was then accepted into the Citizens Leadership Institute. This was a key networking decision to make sure I had a seat at the table where decisions were being made that affected myself and my business directly. These accomplishments all happened in ONE YEAR.

But it’s my personal life that had the most dramatic change. There were a lot of new obstacles to face, such as being thrust into home-schooling my kids, not having my serene environment during the day, and not being able to see my friends and family would have most certainly been justification to start drinking earlier and earlier into my day. But with alcohol removed from my ‘equation’ (sorry…developer here) I found alternate ways to decompress. I found that drinking sparkling water with fresh lime in a ridiculously large wine glass still scratched that same itch to sit down with a special drink. I also started taking a bath every night. I began to thread together those bits of insight from my journal entries that softened my heart, empowered my mind, and nurtured my soul. I was more patient with my kids, I was more loving to my husband, and actually took the time to make a nice meal for my family to enjoy at night. Every single piece of my life got better.

My OYNB experience

Hands down one of the best aspects of the OYNB journey is the community. Reading other peoples’ struggles AND wins were a great reminder that I was enough. The prompts that came in the daily emails really allowed me to take inventory of my life and identify triggers.

I take pride in the fact that I live life on my terms. If there's an undesirable output in my life, I'm self-aware enough to not only objectively observe, but to make conscious choices that spark change in the right direction. There's a beauty of freedom in that clarity where you take something for yourself, for your well-being.

It’s amazing to say that I don’t even think about alcohol. The only reason I remembered it was my 365 days is because I added a calendar appointment when I reset my Day 1. My life has fundamentally shifted and there’s no way I’m going back!


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