I have invested in my own personal growth and the payoffs keep rolling in.

Here’s the thing… I got into the habit of thinking that life was more fun with a drink, that drinking is a valid way to celebrate a win. Habits are funny things, doing things the way you have always done it is fine and good until it isn’t anymore.

It was a series of events that made me decide to take a different path and go AF. I got laid off for a month in March 2020. My whole life changed all of a sudden (just like everyone else). I found I was more anxious, worrying about things, feeling like I didn’t have any purpose, and realising that the relationship I was in was not working out. I simply wanted to feel better. It was one of those curled up on the floor, there has to be more to my life moments, that forced me to take the challenge that had been coming on my Facebook news feed.   

Starting my alcohol-free challenge

I started the 28-day challenge just to see if being sober, clean, clear would give me a chance to figure out how I was going to change my life. I can say that at this point in my life, I didn’t know what I wanted. I was lacking any imagination and didn’t really know what my dreams were. Like many habits (having drinks), they are often interwoven with a multitude of other habits. It never occurred to me that changing this one thing would lead to me facing many beliefs that didn’t serve me anymore. That I could have the life I wanted, see possibilities, achieve goals, pursue my passions. I made a decision and I did it for me.


My thoughts going in

I knew it was going to be hard to change my behaviour, but I have experienced success in the past, using my willpower and persistence to reach a goal. I quickly realised it was more complex than I thought, that I would need to have some support and resources.

AF lifestyle was not the norm around me, and I had no idea the challenges I would face. Being part of the OYNB Facebook group, reading the quit literature and the daily emails helped me build new strategies, awareness, understanding and resilience in abstinence from a substance that was intertwined in my life, sometime in surprising ways. 

I started with a life coach as well. I knew I wanted something different for my life. Initially, I wasn’t even sure what that “different” looked like. I started to become more aware of my desires and what I want out of life. I challenged myself to let go of some of my old beliefs and dream of a bigger and better life for myself. I honestly never thought to wish for or aspire to a different way (AF). It didn't occur to me that it was possible. It is possible! Everything did change! And, it happened in weeks and months, not in years of wondering, worrying, fretting, or grumbling.

How life has changed

Now I wake up at dawn and apply myself quietly, practicing my craft with persistence and passion (reading group, food prep, studying). I am rocking my position at work. People notice that I have a renewed confidence and that I am getting results. When you make plans with a clear head, things have a real chance of happening. Acting is key to building a life that thrives. I create my plans, send the email, make the call and things happen today. The motivation that comes when you go alcohol-free is immense. I feel like I have a superpower! Now I trust my higher faculties (Intuition, will, memory, perception, imagination, and reason) when making my decisions.

What do I miss?

Shannon on bikeMaybe being able to switch my brain off. ‘Miss’ is the wrong word because I don’t miss being absent or avoidant. I do believe that I sometimes played in the foothills rather than climbed the mountain, avoiding being uncomfortable, almost hitting the goal. Now I leverage my decisions with momentum by doing small things in a big way. I take a chance; I make mistakes and I use the feedback. It is better to bump into edges than to pretend they don't exist. I am meant for expansion and growth.

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”, Bernard Shaw.

The OYNB support

I miss the daily emails. There was tons of information in bite size pieces. I found that often the messages helped me set intentions for the day, encouraged me that I was on the right track and challenged me to think of things in a different way.

The story of the Goldon Buddha was my favourite. Historians believe that a giant Buddha had been covered with clay by Thai monks to protect it from an attack by the Burmese army. In 1957 while moving the Buddha, one of the monks noticed a large crack in the clay and revealed that it was made of solid gold. The awareness I gained by being part of the program encouraged me to chip away at the clay. I am learning to appreciate the gold in me. Trust, faith and imagination.

I love being a part of the Facebook group. Being part of a community that is non-judgemental and supportive has given me strength and encouragement. I have learned from the successes and struggles some of the members have gone through. I reached out when I wanted to celebrate my success or when I needed direction.  It gives me assurance that like-minded people are there for me as I continue an AF lifestyle.

What's next?

I have decided to remain AF. I don’t want to give up all that I have gained. I feel like I have an advantage. It is hard for me to want to mess with that. I feel smart! I can trust myself that I will figure it out, even if it is something unexpected or new. People count on me to be there, and I always am but now I am consistently there for myself. I have invested in my own personal growth and the payoffs keep rolling in.

I rarely think about having a drink. I am sure as we recover from Covid, there will be some social challenges but for now, I am finding it quite easy to find yummy and satisfying alcohol-free options. I have everything within me to create the life I want to enjoy.

Since I posted my 365 publicly, I have had a few people ask me questions. One girl told me she was sober curious. I thought that was a great way to put it. If you are thinking you would like to change your relationship with alcohol, you never feel very good drinking it or just want to do your life different, this program works. It will guide you through, provide support, celebrate your wins and 28, 90 or 365, you will never regret investing in yourself.


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