I wonder if on this bright, sunny Monday morning, you are feeling the negative impact of a few too many drinks over the weekend to celebrate the lovely weather?
That cycle of one too many drinks to either relax or have fun on Friday night - followed by a few more on Saturday night - followed by a foggy head, dehydration and a few demons on Sunday
(and Monday and Tuesday as you get older!)- is very familiar to me. Since I was in my teens, my relationship with alcohol meant that one was never enough and that I believed I couldn't really relax and enjoy myself without it.
As I got older, alcohol also became a 'reward' for working hard. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't reaching for the gin first thing in the morning and I could go for days and sometimes weeks without alcohol but when my partner asked me what it would be like for me to go without for a full year, I nearly cried!! For me, one of the things which has really helped me with #growingyounger over the last year has been my decision last May to give up alcohol for good. The benefits have been immeasurable - in mind, body and spirit. My energy levels are great, I lost a lot of weight, my face thinned out, I sleep better, my hormones are more balanced, night sweats have gone, I have one less reason to beat myself up, I don't lose days to hangovers, I don't embarrass myself in front of others, my self-esteem and self-respect have increased, I can relax more deeply and, most importantly, I have peace of mind.
Giving up the booze was the ultimate act of self-love for me and I really thought it would be incredibly difficult. I had told myself for years that I could never live without a glass of wine! I was genuinely amazed to find that it happened effortlessly and easily and I have not looked back once. So, I thought I would share a few tips with you if you are thinking about setting yourself free from the 'poison' (and it is not a coincidence that we call it poison.....it is!!). If your inner wisdom is nudging you in this direction, buy yourself a copy of Kick the Drink Easily by Jason Vale.
This little book has literally changed my life! Don't even think about stopping drinking until you have read the book all the way through. Warn your friends and family that you are stopping. This is actually one of the most challenging parts of the process because other people find it really hard to drink when you are not. It makes them question their own relationship to alcohol and most people are not comfortable with it. Get a good team on your side. Find a couple of people who either don't drink much or are just really supportive of you and ask them to be your team for the next couple of months in case you need them. Ask your partner to stop drinking at home for the first few months so the temptation is not there. Better still - encourage them to quit with you.
I also recommend that you buy a juicer or a Nutribullet! We started juicing fruit and veg just before I quit the booze and, to be honest, if I have the choice between juice or wine now, I would far prefer a juice because they FEEL so good in my system and they are far more refreshing than alcohol could ever be. These are the ones which we use at home....
Find alternatives. Personally I am not a fan of sweet fizzy drinks so I went on a search to find other tasty alternative which I could have in the kitchen instead. Some of the new alcohol free wines are surprisingly good and worth tasting. You can also make some seriously good mocktails!
Drink out of a wine glass. This is just a psychological trick but I find that drinking a lovely, refreshing non-alcoholic drink out of a wine glass (or champagne glass) during a nice meal or party, makes a difference.
Give yourself a run up to letting go off your alcohol habit. Don't put pressure on yourself and for a few months just notice your relationship with alcohol and journal about it. Write down what it feels like to have a hangover. Enquire into WHY you think you need a drink....what are you getting out of it? What do you think it is actually doing for you?
I used to think that alcohol helped me to relax and made me funnier - these were both lies which had been fed to me by advertising and our culture. Find other ways to have fun and to celebrate! Not everything needs to revolve around booze. When kids want to play, have fun or have parties, we don't give them alcohol to help them. We are perfectly capable of enjoying life without booze....we just need to remind ourselves how!
Remind yourself that you are not 'giving up' anything. Instead you are setting yourself free from a dependency on a substance which brings with it all of the downsides I listed at the start of this article. Having now been free from alcohol for just over a year I have celebrated birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and weddings without it and I PROMISE you that if you want to, you will be able to set yourself free just as easily so that you can wake up on a Monday morning feeling as bright, clear-headed, peaceful and inspired as I have today!
Finally, when we are making any positive lifestyle changes in our lives it is always worth investing in some professional support and a good Life Coach will be able to help you let go off the booze in a way that is sustainable and really positive for you. Find the right Coach for you and book your FREE Introductory Session here.