1 year ago today I had my last alcoholic drink. Most of the time when I talk about this I usually say “Don’t get me wrong I didn’t have a problem” but what constitutes a problem? When it comes to drinking I think there’s a scale and I definitely did have a problem. My problem wasn’t that I was alcohol dependent.
It wasn’t that I drank every day or that I even drank myself to oblivion regularly. It’s just that I had no switch, no off button, absolutely no consciousness and no come on Kate it’s time to go home.
What has quitting drinking done for me? Well a conversation with a fellow sober friend just before Christmas hit the nail on the head. The main thing it’s given me is a year of consistency. I have never felt more consistently healthy in my life. I have a consistent exercise regime that I’m gently adding to (cause it feels so great). I have consistently eaten more healthily throughout the year. I initially lost weight and then have stayed at a consistent weight throughout the year no matter what I’ve eaten. I have been a more present and patient parent. I get better quality and more sleep and upped my personal development game. I have found more time for myself, I prioritise my health and well-being. I consistently get up earlier adding hours on to my day, weeks and months. I got back into running, consistently. I developed a consistent breathwork practice. I go wild swimming at least once a week. I have a 3 minute cold shower every morning and have done since last January. Stopping drinking has given me more time, more consistency and better health and quality of life... to name a few.
So how did I do it? Well first of all none of this process this year has been hard for me. You could say that it’s because all my friends were pregnant and that there’s not exactly been a jam packed social calendar this year 🙄. But I honestly don’t think that has made much of a difference. I would have done it anyway. I do think this was a year in the making. For the whole of 2019 I wished that I could be that person who didn’t feel they had to drink to have a good time and it was just a couple of occasions last year that really just pushed it over the edge for me. I knew when I was a bridesmaid at my best friends wedding on December 30th 2019 that that was the last time I would have a drink for a long time. It has honestly felt like the easiest decision I’ve made because I was so ready for it.
What advise can I give for those wanting to try a dry Jan?
- If I ever felt tempted by a drink this year I would fast forward in my mind to after I’ve had the drink or the next morning and really feel into how I would feel after that drink (or two). That usually would make me steadfast in my decision not to take a drink. I would almost be able to feel the foggy head and dread that came with it.
- When I wake up in the middle of the night or when I wake the morning after another night of not drinking I feel so grateful for feeling good and well rested and often think eurgh imagine how I would feel right now if I’d even had one drink last night.
- Perhaps think about getting yourself into another healthy habit (for example getting up early or running) that drinking would ruin, giving you another reason to stay away from the booze.
- Download the STREAKS app to monitor your progress so you can document your success and show your winning streak in days.
- Follow some inspirational accounts on insta to keep you motivated (@sobergirlssociety @laurievmcallister @soberandsocial_ @soberdave) or get yourself a buddy to do it with. Meeting and chatting to supportive friends who are on the same journey as you just reaffirms your mission to stick at it (thanks @silvergreenjewellery and @mrprof!)
- Don’t keep any booze in the house and if you really feel like you can’t go without, try a non-alcoholic beer or G&T. You can get an amazing G&T imitation from The Bottle Shop in Goose Green called Pentith and my favourite non-alcoholic beer is Erdinger. (Ok it’s actually low alcohol - less that 0.5% but I’m not counting that!)
To conclude. There are endless benefits to quitting drinking and for me, they far far outweigh the drawbacks.
If anyone has any questions or needs some moral support please feel free to slide into my DMs (@soul_yogi) I am so keen to help people who want to make this amazing healthy lifestyle change as it’s been such a game changer for me.
As a society we need to stop the stigma around people who don’t drink, labelling them as weird, untrustworthy or assuming they must be unstable (aren’t we all a little?) actually says more about how uncomfortable we are in ourselves than anything true about them. Finally, will I ever drink again? I’ll never say never but I am so much happier in my sober life that I certainly have no plans to anytime soon!
Love Kate xx @soul_yogi Co-owner of The Garden Eatery