I wanted to talk about my year without alcohol to help others have the courage to do it or just to be able to say no to a night out when you really don’t want to.
Firstly, I want to answer some of the most common question I have had in the last 38 hours. Secondly, I will share my experience in moving through the year without alcohol starting at Christmas and New Years.
What made you stop drinking?
I had started to slow down drinking over the last couple of years because it just wasn’t sitting well with me. I’d drink on occasions and still get completely messy – it just became less frequent. It was when I was really getting into my health studies, I noticed I couldn’t be naive anymore. I was also getting a bit deeper into my spiritual development and self development work and alcohol was showing a lot of resistance.
I stopped drinking because my hangovers are horrible. I would literally go through the process of knowing exactly what my body is doing to remove the toxins and that worried me. It felt like putting a knife into the toaster – knowing exactly what the outcomes is going to be. I call it ‘hang-xiety’. Hungover with a dash of anxiety.
So finally I got the courage to just give it up. Until I decided to have a drink or not. I am really unsure. I know for sure I won’t ever get ‘drunk’ again.
How did you feel and manage at social events?
Sometimes awkward, sometimes fine, sometimes freaking amazing and completely alive!
I’m not one to feel extremely awkward. I am a very big thinker and observer. I don’t miss a lot and I have a good perspective (according to me) and I see the wider picture. I am also an empath so sometimes I relay the feeling of others.
I am crazy with out alcohol. I, 100% do not need alcohol to dance, talk to people or be crazy. Alcohol only amplifies the natural craziness.
I usually only felt awkward at the beginning of an event until I settled in or when people are drunk screaming in my sober ears (time to bail/ghost). I just got used to that initial thought and left the party or event when everyone was getting too drunk for conversations.
But mostly I felt great. At music festivals or gigs I felt so so great. Mostly because I love live music and I love to dance. I have a little boog most days to be honest with you; in the lounge, getting ready for work in the afternoon, at night when my possum mode comes on. I LOVE music and I LOVE to dance. It brings me so much joy so dancing sober is well very normal for me.
It used to make me sad when I would observed people struggling to socialise/dance/talk until they had a few drinks under their belt. I think this give me an extra layer of confidence to help them in their ‘not yet drunk’ stage to bust a move. I hope that one day these people can just use their confidence to do what they want. The happiness of peoples faces when they’re dance makes me smile.
Do you feel any better?
Hang-xiety is obviously not in my life anymore so that’s great. I have managed to keep my weight the same which is nice. I don’t have those drunk food cravings and I saved some money.
But the one thing that feels great is my mind. I feel like I passed the final level of Super Mario. I can see everything that I was holding onto. I have been able to push my mind outside her comfort zone. I have so much more self worth. I have even more confidence than I used to. Do you know how invigorating it is to say no. Give it a go and please do let me know! I just feel so clear. It is still something I am trying to put into words and actual context but it been liberating to say the least.
When I meditate and really go deep it gives me this feeling, but it’s basically a complete up level to my life. (insert super mario up level sound).
How did you do it?
I went cold turkey. Enough was enough for me.
So I quit one month before Christmas – how the heck was I going to get through Christmas without a drink?
To be honest it was pretty easy. My family are THAT supportive it’s unreal. They know I am dedicated to my health. I still had a stale taste in my mouth since that last night I had drank, so I definitely wasn’t craving a drink but I felt like I was missing the ‘celebration’.
Quickly I realised that we decide what makes a ‘celebration’ or not. What makes alcohol mean celebrations? I don’t know and now that I have thought about it for so long – it seems even sillier to celebrate with a drink. Like “Congrats you finished uni, let’s drink to kill some brain cells and forget that our arms are attached to our shoulders”. Sorry I know that’s a bit exaggerated, but do you see what I mean? Although not that exaggerated if you remember my little incident when my chin met the concrete floor. Who decided that when we celebrate we will have a drink?
This year I have really been focusing on questioning why we do the things we do. Or more like why do I do the things I do.
New Years. A complete other story. This one made me nervous. This also gave me some serious prospective, mostly because my New Years celebrations over the last few years revolved around drinking (a lot) and well you can imaging the details here. Kinda like that ‘fly on the wall’ saying. It was completely fine, my friends where really supportive even though it was all so new and kind of weird for them (and me).
And then the rest of the year was pretty chill. Events, birthdays, music festivals, what ever – it was all fine. I grew stronger at responding to negative comments, unsupportive people and being confident sober. I ended up being around people who were really supportive and encouraging.
I just knew I wanted to start doing what I wanted to do.
A year sober
I feel like that title has a negative connotation and that I was an alcoholic – I wasn’t, just so you know. Honestly I was a pretty normal Australian. Australians drink a lot: frequently and in an abundance.
Moving to a place where wine is its main industry and everyone I had just met either works in the wineries or was an avid drinker. It wasn’t an easy decision to decide not to drink. But it was getting harder and harder to go through my hang-xiety.
Another massive reason I decided to stop was, I’d put myself on a pedestal to be a ‘picture of health’ being in the health industry. I felt like I was working at Telstra while using a Samsung phone. I felt like I was a heart surgeon smoking out the back of the hospital. It felt so out of alignment for me and it was bringing me so much stress and guilt. When I worked at a gym down south and I would go out drinking, I felt like a bad example of a trainer. Like ‘who would take advice from me while I am hungover’. I know that many trainers do it and I am definitely not saying don’t listen to them – I just personally have some guilt around this. It felt like I was an accountant trying to give finance advice out while being broke. This guilt is just something that I am working through and nothing to do with others that can go to work hungover. This is why I share ups and down in my health now, because no one is a ‘picture of health’ and we shouldn’t put that pressure on ourselves and most definitely not others.
Drinking means socialising in Australia. So I guess you could say I have had a less social year. But then again that’s not really true because now I am very selective with the socialising I do because it’s more meaningful and more special. But there has definitely been moments where I have missed events because it was basically just a drinking event or I just couldn’t be bothered to have a late night for short banter and drunk conversations (even though some of those night were an absolute cracker).
So that’s the short of the last year – it’s been wildly interesting + blissfully invigorating.
This is not to say that I will never drink again. This is also not to shame people who do drink or get drunk or what ever they want to do. This is just my personal experience and I don’t love you any less if you do drink. We are all equal, we are all human, we all have souls and mostly at the end of the day we all want happiness so how ever that looks to you – do that.
If you have been thinking for a while that you’d really like to lay off the beers or cocktails I’d love to have a chat. I also hope this helps maybe just one person to take the leap and have a year off drinking.
Love + Peace
Teags Lee x