A year ago today, I gave up alcohol completely and what an amazing year its been. I hadn’t considered that giving up alcohol would give me such a range of benefits other than just feeling better after a few glasses of wine on a Sunday morning. Its been really interesting to look back and see what I’ve actually done with myself this year, to see how much more positive it has been, in so many ways.
My relationship with wine had come to an unhealthy end and it took me a couple of years, attempting ‘mindful drinking’, ‘moderate drinking’ all of which felt as controlling and annoying as a calorie controlled or weight watchers style, restrictive diet. Or like having a relationship with someone who you know isn’t good for you, but you keep trying to make it fit. The facts were obvious, alcohol was not doing me any good and rather than trying to fit this toxic stuff into my life so I could fit into the social norm, I made the choice to get out.
Liberation came when I read Annie Graces book ‘This Naked Mind’, a fascinating study into the effects of alcohol on the brain and a very real look at how conditioned we are into believing alcohol needs to be a part of everyday life in our culture.
Armed with this knowledge and a strong desire to wake up everyday feeling energised, I announced to myself and the world that was it, for good. Some considered this a brave move, some over the top and some questioned why I was making such a big deal about it, some still do. I am making a big deal about it again today! Because its a big deal!
For many of you too it seems, I have had so many clients and friends tell me, my story inspired them to do the same and give up, I think thats amazingly positive, the collective consciousness is rising and we are becoming more aware of how alcohol has lied to us for too long, its time to take back our own power and push away what keeps us down and keeps us small.
My own life in the past twelve months has exploded into creative successes and adventures I had only dreamed of. I thought I had suffered with anxiety my whole life, but now I wonder if it was alcohol that made me anxious all along, I have never felt more balanced. Something was always blocking me from really achieving my goals, fears were always keeping me just below full throttle. It is still hard to describe what has happened, but its like a switch has been flicked and rather than my ideas and dreams bubbling just below the surface, never being allowed to be fully realised because of fears and doubts, they have literally exploded.
I’ve pressed the ‘book now’ button on travelling dreams I’ve had for decades. What made this suddenly seem possible? Nothing else has changed but being sober. I planned and booked a family trip to Thailand for six of us that we took back in June, I’m currently away running a yoga retreat in Morocco and after years of dithering, booked a trip for my husband and I to India coming up in a few months time, its like I’m having my gap year, just 30 years late!
Work has always been a passion but its changed, I’m fully booked, all the time! The therapy diary is solid, often weeks in advance, the yoga classes are packed out and retreats are selling out over and over again, I have some money in my bank account for the first time in my whole life! My relationship has balanced out and I’m lucky that my husband isn’t a big drinker, but we never argue about politics anymore, hm perhaps that was me getting bulshy after the red wine got into my veins! And I still have fun on nights out, I definitely laugh more and feel more free to be myself when I walk into a room of strangers at a party or supper night. Alcohol lied to me for years telling me I needed it to be ok, I am ok, I am more than ok.
What has changed but being sober? I feel richer and fuller with more to give, my energy is balanced, my moods more stable, my anxiety non-existent and my belief and love for myself are complete in a way that I never knew was possible before.
I will never judge anyone who drinks and I wish that people wouldn’t feel judged by my not drinking, my giving up alcohol is about me and not about anyone else. Not everyone struggles with life sometimes the way I did, or feels that alcohol is detrimental to them in anyway and thats fine. But if you are even the slightest bit concerned that the booze is lying to you, that it isn’t helping you unwind or relax, that it isn’t fun or indeed a necessary part of having fun, that the craving for a glass of wine isn’t healthy and that we have all been told a very big fat lie our whole lives, that fits a social conditioning that needs rebelling against, maybe its time to make the leap into soberista life.
Enjoy, Saira xx