I decided to take a break from drinking on February 15 in 2015. I am nearly at the 12 month mark of living life with out drinking and I really wanted to share with you what I have achieved in this time. Many people still question my choice to avoid drinking, looking aghast that such a thing could even happen. This is Australia, a place where drinking is the social glue, and crucial ingredient for every social/cultural occasion. I however, beg to differ.
If you have read my blogs before I have gone into detail describing why I chose to give up drinking. Please have a read of those posts if you are curious. For this post, I want to share my achievements, the benefits, and express the differences in my lifestyle. I hope it helps to inspire you, and help you along your path of sobriety.
I will simply list the benefits of not drinking:
- My health is astronomically better. I have way more energy, my eyes are clear, my body is fitter, I weigh less and my skin is clearer in complexion and looks way better.
- My brain works better. I have way more mental clarity and I feel like I am a lot smarter. I notoriously have a poor memory, and I feel like it has improved significantly by reducing my in take of booze. I still have moments when it is a little fuzzy, but I realise this is when I am stressed and strung out from being too busy. I started this blog around the same time I gave up drinking, and this for me has been one of the biggest things I have achieved since choosing to go without drinking. I honestly do not feel like I would have stuck to writing so frequently otherwise. My excess mental energy has been channelled into writing, and the outcome has been wonderful. I love that, and I look forward to continuing to write long into the future.
- I have saved a lot of money. When I was partying hard previously, on average I could spend $200 a week. That’s $10’400 a year. Instead I buy soda water for 75c a bottle and sparkling grape juice for $3.60 a pop. Not bad savings right there.
- The number of early mornings I have had the joy to experience this year has been awesome. I have always loved being outdoors in nature and love the fresh early mornings. When you’re hungover, the last thing you feel like doing is getting up early to exercise.
- I read so many books!! I have read a copious number of books and magazines and online articles this year, way more than I have in previous years. I have always been a big reader, thirsty for knowledge. But when drinking, the ability to concentrate on a novel after you have had a few is not very easy, or enjoyable. I am a regular at my local library and plow through 4 books at once, and love it.
- As a positive flow on effect, I have had a few of my friends and people I know through my writing, who have changed their relationship with alcohol since I decided to make changes in my own life. To positively influence someone else based on my own good example is excellent; and makes me feel even more awesome.
- My productivity levels have skyrocketed. I am very motivated to get loads of things done. I make weekly ‘to do’ lists and surprise myself by ticking most things off. I have always been a motivated person, but I have noticed previously in heavier drinking days, I was way less motivated or enthusiastic to strive for constant achievement and productivity. So that’s a very good thing!
- I think bigger. My mind set is broader and I like to think bigger picture more frequently. It has been challenging at times to face my emotional issues, confront my problems head on, and to literally ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. But I am way better for it. I used to drink too much to try and forget about my problems, and now I simply do not do that. I have grown a lot in myself, my self-confidence and self-acceptance is higher; I can appreciate myself a whole lot more. I have a lot to offer some one special and I am proud of my achievements, and proud of myself for living life without succumbing to one of the biggest social pressures.
We are all different, and many people would not be interested in experimenting with removing such a free flowing social fun drug from their lives for any period of time. For me there were many reasons why I wanted to try living life with-out drinking, and I must say as I near the one year mark of reaching my goal, I am super happy for sticking to my decision. It has been one of the best years of my life. I really mean that. I highly recommend taking a break from drinking. Start with one month and build to 3 then 6 then 12 if you are interested in the challenge. Experiment and try removing it from your life for a short period of time, this will reap interesting and personal benefits; and could be all you need to gain a new perspective in life.
As for returning to drinking, I am really not sure about that whole conundrum. You see, the longer you go without drinking the more you realise you do not need it to enjoy your life. However, life is fun with a little champagne here and there, so this will be a work in progress decision. I plan to keep it flexible and continue on my healthy lifestyle for the time being. One day at a time.
How long have you gone without drinking? Would you consider experimenting with elimination? Now that I have conquered a year without booze I am contemplating other poor habits I could remove for a short period of time. Any recommendations?