Will life be difficult and miserable?
Will my alcohol free life be too difficult?
Today I’d like to tell you a story about how I stopped drinking without it feeling too difficult or miserable
When I first decided to go alcohol free for a whole year I thought there’d be blood, sweat and tears. The blood would from the friend I ended up murdering when they mentioned for the eleventy squillionth time that I didn’t have a problem with alcohol and the sweat and tears were bound to be mine each time I even thought of what lay ahead.
But No. None of that came to pass. There was no blood, sweat or tears shed and here’s the shocker – there was learning, connection and joy!
As I started to drink less in preparation for going alcohol free I read books I didn’t know existed before from a genre called quit lit – I know – who knew!
A couple of my favourites were This Naked Mind by Annie Grace and Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker. These books really helped me to see alcohol through new eyes, I felt like I was able to understand why I had drunk like I had and how I could start to change. I also really enjoyed a couple of memoirs – The Unexpected joy of being Sober by Catherine Gray and We are the Luckiest by Laura Mckowen
I bought some physical books but also bought some on audible and listened while I walked my dog.
I then realised that there were podcasts on the subject and HAY – check it out – you’re listening to one right now! Good for you – you’ve got this one sorted. This podcast is short and snappy – meant to be quick love notes to inform, inspire and share my story but others out there are longer form and interview based – do go and search for others that float your boat.
Have you ever heard of habit tracker apps? I hadn’t but in the early days of my alcohol free experiment I used one to keep a track of the number of days I’d been alcohol free and I loved seeing the time add up. I always made sure I ticked that I hadn’t drunk alcohol first thing in the morning so that my brain knew what my intention for the day was. There are loads of specific sober day counting apps – find one that suits you or if the thought of counting sober days is off putting for you then don’t! Always do what feels best for you – you don’t have to copy anyone elses version of alcohol free unless it feels good to you
This alcohol free journey is supposed to feel like a joyful, positive decision not in any way a punishment.
In the early days of not drinking it did feel a bit like a full-time job – I put a lot of my energy into it. I took the time to read, listen, count, and also to journal about the thoughts I was having.
However, in prioritising the habit of not drinking it became easier and easier because I put it at the forefront of my mind and knew it was important I kept being able to stack up week after week without a drink. The more distance I put between my last drink and where I am currently the better I feel in mind, body and soul.
The tools I used in the early days gave me ideas of how to talk to my friends about the choice I’d made, gave me hope that I could do what I set out to do and made me feel less lonely about my choice.