I’m serious when I tell you when I gave up drinking, I hadn’t intended to. One day I was changing how I ate, looking to achieve a whole host of things, and I decided alcohol wouldn’t fit in with those changes. So, I stopped drinking. Now, It’s been three months since I gave up drinking, and I don’t miss it. Thinking about it now, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve even given it a second thought.

Very strange for someone who enjoyed a good drink or two but here we are. Most people who have heard about this recent development are confused about why. Others, I’m sure, weren’t surprised at all. Team wine, that was me, and the frequency with which I would consume a glass or two had been growing over the years. Add in my friend, vodka, and it was becoming a free for all.


After these few months, what have I discovered when I gave up drinking; about myself, alcohol and the whole darn thing?


A small disclaimer before I get into this. I’m not a professional medical type, nor do I have any experience with addiction recovery or counselling. This is not advice, medical or otherwise, and it certainly isn’t a comment on addiction. It’s simply my experience, what I’ve noticed about my life and health since I gave up drinking after being a regular, if not heavy, drinker for decades. If you’re feeling like alcohol might be a problem for you or someone you know, try this link from Lifeline Australia.


The effects on your waistline


I learned that alcohol, such as wine and its mixer friends, have a lot of calories that seem to enjoy adding to your waistline. There are no ifs, buts, or maybes about that. Add to that general puffiness and dull skin. What’s not to love about that? She says sarcastically. But remove them from the equation; the extra weight (and the rest) leave as quickly as they arrived. Or that has been my experience anyway.


The Money Honey


Next, let’s talk about how much money I was spending! Between a wine subscription, trips to the local bottle shop and a taste for the good stuff, vodka-wise, the costs were adding up. A few years ago, I talked about how I felt entitled to upgrade my spending as our lives became more financially stable. Well, this was one area I did that and then some!

Tallying it all up in my head, I was astounded by how much money we spent on drinks. Between that and trying to kick the takeaway habit, our transaction account got cleaned up really fast! But to be fair, it’s not like I’ve saved a lot from not drinking these last few months. I have a new thing to spend my money on… plants. (How Millenial of me, haha).


Sleep and general mental clarity


That last subheading sounds serious, and it is. The biggest thing I’ve learned since I gave up drinking is that drinking ruins your sleep and mental health. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but with regular drinking comes crappy nights of sleep and the subsequent days of fogginess and all-around sluggishness.

It may be me, full disclaimer, but I’ve improved my sleep quality massively since I gave up alcohol. My apple watch/health chart-thingy has an impressive graph to reflect that. Even with my higher-than-average caffeine consumption, almost immediately, it was better. Which, if it were a weight-related thing, wouldn’t have shown any real improvement until weeks later? But there it was, an immediate spike.

Then there’s the less easy-to-track mental clarity. Based on how I feel, this has improved dramatically. My business has been booming, and I’m busier than ever. While sometimes I get tired, I don’t feel burnt out or exhausted like I once did as I poured a glass to end my day. Sure, this could be an improved mental health state, but interesting to note this upswing in brain power.


So, what now for me and booze?


In conclusion, I don’t intend to quit drinking forever. That might change; never say never, but that’s the current feeling I get. Because I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, celebrating with my sparkling favourites or a frosty beverage at the beach. Even over Christmas, I won’t rule out a beverage or two. But this time off of the booze has completely changed my relationship with drinking.

Before, I felt like I had to drink to be social. To quiet the voice of anxiety so I could forge ahead in situations that put me out of my comfort zone. In the more difficult mental health times, even at some places in my comfort zone. But that was an excuse, short version. Drinking made those things worse in the long run. Even if I didn’t feel the effects until the next day or once the alcohol had worn off. And giving up drinking made them better, over time, with a distance between me and what my life used to look like.


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