I have now been booze free for 397 days…a whole year and more! At the start of 2015, I knew that I wanted to give up for a year but didn’t want to say that out loud, knowing that 12 months was a huge ask of myself.
2015 was all about becoming healthier: less sugar, no processed food, no dairy and no alcohol. For anyone new to the blog, I drank wine every night, and had done for about 15 years except for when pregnant.
(The glasses are empty!)
So here I am, clearer in thought and vision and lighter in mind and weight (2 stone to be exact). So what have I learnt:
People seem to have a problem with me being teetotal
I’m starting with the biggie – everyone else’s view of me being teetotal. While this isn’t everyone I know and love, there are a whole heap of people who seem to have a real interest in my drinking status. Some make a joke of it. Many seem to spend their fun time trying to convince me to have a drink. By the end of 2015, this had got pretty boring to be honest and I’m hoping that this disappears over time. Would they ask if I was an alcoholic (probably not) so why do they feel the need to ask for a lifestyle choice?
Adam, my husband, reckons it’s their way to detract from their own over indulgence! He may well be right.
Nights out with good friends, totally trashed, are still fun
I honestly thought that going out with my girls, when they were drunk would be a nightmare. I’d be sitting there wishing I could join in or thinking they were daft and feeling a little smug about my sobriety. Turns out that some of my best nights out in 2015 were spent with them enjoying a bottle (of three) and us all laughing our heads off. If you’re great friends, you will have a great night without the grape.
However, it is worth saying that a night out with people I don’t know or particularly like while sober, can be a lot harder. In this situation it is hard to suffer fools gladly, and my sobriety makes their bitchiness or negativity harder to stomach.
Life is clearer in many ways
I used to feel fuzzy in the mornings, more stressed with the kids from enjoying an extra glass of wine, or from sleeping badly. This has gone now (I of course still get stressed when they can’t find their school shoes) and am feeling generally more calmer. This has impacted many areas of my life especially work.
I in fact, now work fewer hours than I used to.Being clearer has helped me to prioritize resulting in my turning off the laptop and having an evening with my husband with no talk of work.
I am not a taxi driver
Now let’s be clear, I have no problem driving on a night out as this is obviously one of the benefits of being sober. I also have no problem driving my friends back as let’s face it, I want them to be safe (especially if they have been drinking). But total randoms rocking into my vision wanting a lift makes me a tad cross. On one night out someone came up to me and told me it was my responsibility to make sure I drove her home so she was safe. While I don’t want anyone to be in danger, I had never met the girl! I like that Adam keeps forgetting that I can drive home, like it’s an added bonus rather than an expected taxi ride.
Friday nights on social media can be boring!
I always know it’s 5.00 on a Friday evening as my Instagram feed is full of shots of cocktails. While I really don’t care what anyone does, it’s amazing how much everyone talks about booze. And not just on Instagram – everywhere! Memes, emojis, menus: gosh we are a nation of drinkers!
All my ailments have gone
I suffered for years with a bad lower back and sinus problems which has all gone in the last year. My back pain was from sleeping without moving and my sinus pain was also only at night. Now that I am sober, my sleep is deeper but without being comatose meaning that I move more in the night, freeing up my joints. I recognise that cutting out dairy will have also helped, but overall I feel so much better!
People forget you in a round
A year ago I read that the person buying the round at the bar always forgets the teetotaler! I thought that this was rubbish but it is alas, true. Even my husband regularly forgets me in a round! I presume booze is on their mind and a sparking water drops from their memory but come on guys!
I don’t need rewards anymore
I used to have a glass of wine as a reward for putting the kids to bed. 7.30 would come and I felt that I deserved a tipple. Someone recently asked what my new reward is and do you know what – I don’t have one! My reply was why the hell did I feel I needed one for doing something as basic as putting my kids to bed. Surely sitting down for the first time all day is reward enough.
Non alcoholic drinks are ladened with sugar
I don’t drink sugary drinks and I definitely do not drink diet fizzy ones (anyone that’s been around long enough will know the my diet coke addiction led me to hospital) so what choice do I have in restaurants and bars? Er, try nothing! My new tipple is sparking water with ice and a slice. Sometimes I have mint and lime in it, or maybe strawberries. And some pubs don’t serve sparkling water so I’m left with soda water on tap! It’s about time we sorted this out!
I am richer in so many ways!
Firstly I save about £35 a week which is over £1800 a year! I’m sure that this has all been spent on shoes and makeup but anyway, that is still a great saving.
But I am also richer in my health, my fitness and my outlook. I am happier to be honest. Christmas was great and I enjoyed and took in every second of it (usually it would have been all about the champagne!). I remember my night out at Twinwood Festival in the summer and how I enjoyed the music far more than usual. I realised that I was actually watching and listening rather than thinking about wine. I was happy to meander from stage to stage, taking my time and enjoying the conversation.
I have been asked a lot recently, when my next drink is to be now I have done my year! Do you know what – I have no idea. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, maybe never. I don’t know when or if I will drink again, but even that statement shows my clarity. I feel no pressure to conform or to answer the question even.
I have seen quite a few people doing Dry January this year, so well done to everyone giving their liver a rest. And for all the people, thinking about continuing into February… do it! You will not regret I promise x
Cheers, here’s to another year
What a great blog! Having just completed dry January myself for the first time (an achievement for this serial grape enthusiast) the only thing that really got my goat was the lack of sugar free alternative. As the wife of a diabetic I have long observed my husbands frustrations in pubs and restaurants with fizzy drinks and fruit juices and with a personal dislike of hot drinks I found myself with the grand total of two options “sparkling or still Madam?”. There has to be market out there for some seriously tasty sugar free options and I will make it my mission this year to find some, any ideas would be very welcome. I may well start on the wine again but not before I have given the sugar free lifestyle a go – wish me luck! x.
Agree! They need to sort the drinks out, and offering chemical filled diet options is rubbish too! Well done for dry January!
Really enjoyed reading this! I havn’t had a drink since November. I was suffering with increased anxiety and I felt that I was becoming more dependent on alcohol in the evenings. So I stopped drinking. I’ve also cut out sugar and caffeine and I feel so much better for all of that. Good riddance!
Well done you and good luck for the year ahead X