My Year Without Alcohol: An Unexpected Journey
A few months after my twenty-second birthday my boyfriend looked me square in the eyes and said either the drinking goes or I go. I decided then and there to stop drinking, this lasted just over a year until I had a sip of alcohol again.
Until this point alcohol was a big part of my life, which began when I first started drinking at the age of sixteen. I was what you’d think of as a binge drinker. On many occasions I would blackout or cause a scene. By twenty-one, I was drinking every weekend, at times nightly.
When I stopped drinking, the first most noticeable change happened in my relationships. As I looked to stop drinking, I naturally stopped partying. As I stopped partying, the texts and invitations began to decline. I stopped texting back, they stopped calling, and my circle of friends quickly diminished.
At the time this was quite hard for me to process. It was a shock because a large part of my life was my social scene. To make matters worse, or so it seemed, I didn’t have alcohol or partying to distract me. It was the first time I’d had to really acknowledge and process how I was feeling.
While I worked through this I began realising that a lot of what I did was focused outwardly, and based on how others might perceive me. These realisations allowed me to understand that I needed to place a greater emphasis on focusing internally, and I needed to start prioritising the relationship I had with myself.
What soon followed was an emphasis on prioritising my health. This came to the forefront around two months into me not drinking when my face broke out in a rash of acne. This was a particularly low point in my life as the combination of my skin breaking out and my changing relationships made me feel particularly unworthy.
However, once I had hit what felt like rock bottom, all I could do was focus on re-building. I began focusing my energy on taking responsibility for myself and my health. I invested in a naturopath and a skin specialist, who both helped me to fix my health internally and externally. I began exercising consistently, increasing my water intake and focusing on foods and activities that nourished and fuelled me.
As these changes were occurring, my sense of self began shifting. My self-confidence grew each time I progressed, whether that was by waking up early, reading, exercising consistently, learning, saving money, or another week without alcohol. My priorities began shifting from what others thought, to how I could improve myself, and be the best version of me.
Due to my year of not drinking I no longer prioritise alcohol as I used too. Previously it was normal for me to drink twenty to thirty drinks a week. Now my alcohol intake is at most around fifteen drinks a year, with the intention to move towards being completely alcohol-free.
Taking a break from alcohol is definitely something I would recommend to anyone that may be thinking about it. I urge you to give it a go, if not for a year, perhaps just a month or even a week.
Now, I want to hear from you! If you're considering a break from alcohol, what's stopping you? If you have taken a break before, what was your experience like? Let me know in the comments section below, or message me directly.