You may remember earlier this year I wrote a blog about my decision to quit drinking. This was back at the very start of May, just before my 34th birthday, and it was a big deal for me. And when I say big, I mean, massive. I’ve spent my whole life it seems loving a glass of wine, enjoying a night drinking with friends, and bonding with people over a big booze session. Being the big introvert that I am, alcohol helped get me out of my shell as a teenager. Alcohol has been my social lubricant, my way of retreating from society in times of crisis (of which there have been a few!) and my way of getting over heartbreak. It was how I met my husband, in a roundabout sort of way. And for people that know me quite well, I’m pretty sure they would never ever have thought I’d make the decision to stop drinking. Bianca = wine!
But, I did. I’d been thinking about it for a while, but was too scared to try. I guess I wasn’t sure if I’d still be me without the glass of wine in hand. Wow, isn’t that sad? Was I that dependent on drinking that I had part of my personality wrapped up in it? It seems so, and when I look back now that is all kinds of wrong. I was sick of waking up feeling unmotivated, wanting to achieve so much but lacking the desire to do it. I felt like a fraud helping my clients break through their health barriers but knowing I hadn’t quite broken my own yet. How could they possibly take me seriously as a health coach if I’m sitting at home getting drunk all weekend? How could I possibly create success in my business if I wasn’t wholly and completely in it, heart and soul?
The universe knows authenticity, and it knows a fraud. I felt I was the latter.
So I woke up one day, I looked at my husband and I said, “I’m going to quit drinking”. And he laughed. In that, there’s-no-way-I’m-going-to-take-you-seriously kind of way. “No you’re not,” he replied. So I looked him in the eye and with all the determination I could muster I said “No, I’m serious. I don’t want to drink anymore.” And he kind of looked at me, realising I was serious, and after a moment said, “Okay”. And that was it.
That was exactly 105 days ago, and wow, what a journey it’s been. I’ve been up, down, I’ve been tempted and I’ve been disgusted. I’ve been to the pub and watched drunk people interacting with each other, and I’ve stayed home on a Saturday night curled up with my husband watching 80s movies on TV. I’ve had amazing conversations with pregnant friends about how different life is to be sober, and I’ve planned a wonderfully sober New Year’s Eve with my best friend in Queensland.
But it’s the other changes I’ve noticed that have been the most interesting to me, and I want to share these with you. From someone like me who relied so heavily on drinking to get by in life, I’ve learned that actually, I’m okay. Who I am and what I’ve got is enough.
I’ve learned that I’m not missing out. I spent my 20s going to every party, every music festival, drinking and partying my young years away because I thought I would be missing out on something if I didn’t. But you know what? Nights out and parties don’t change! Nothing changes except the music and the faces – it’s the same old story, every time. I know now that although there were some fun times, it wasn’t really enhancing my life in any real way, and it definitely wasn’t aiding my personal growth.
If anything, it was inhibiting it.
I’ve learned so much about who I really am, my mind isn’t clouded over with a boozy fog anymore and I can finally hear myself. I know what I want and what I don’t want, I know what brings me joy and what doesn’t. I’ve moved forward more in the last 100 days than in the last 10 years! Before I would drink to fit in, now I’m at peace with who I am and I no longer have the desire to “fit in”. I’m just happy being me.
I’ve learned how much I love waking up at sunrise! It’s such a beautiful time of day, where the world is still silent, the sky turns a beautiful shade of orange and lights up with a freshness and promise of new opportunities. I’m so grateful I can finally enjoy this.
I’ve learned how productive I can really be. I get so much done in my days and in my weekends, it blows me away sometimes! My 24 hours well and truly gets used, no more wasting it away sleeping off the hangover or killing my motivation. I’m doing stuff and I’m loving it.
I’ve learned that there is so much to learn in this world and I really want to absorb as much as I can. The thought of learning something new never really crossed my mind before because my priorities lay in socialising and drinking. But now I’m waking up fresh every morning and suddenly I’m reaching for books and courses and learning about topics I’ve wondered about for years (it helps that I’m not killing brain cells anymore too!).
I’ve learned that my body works better without alcohol in it. Surprised? It’s so obvious but yet I still needed to learn this for myself. For years I did fun runs, even team triathlon events, and had no problem downing a few bevvies the night before! What was I thinking? But in my recent City2Surf run I couldn’t believe how much easier it was and how well my body adapted to the challenge. I am honestly shocked at how much I was holding myself back all this time.
But the biggest lesson for me is that I’ve learned that all these years I was operating from such a superficial layer. The things I worried about, prioritised, talked about, gossiped about, they had no real depth and for a long time I ignored my own depth too. I cared about what people thought of me and if they liked me, I would compare myself to them and change myself to be accepted. I didn’t talk about things that really mattered to me and I ignored my own interests to encourage theirs. I had friendships that served no purpose to me and I wasn’t being true to myself.
But now that I’m finally listening to myself, I’m speaking my truth and I’m totally okay with me. I’m enjoying things which truly interest me, I have conversations about topics with substance, and I no longer compare myself to other people. My relationships with people are deeper and the connections are real.
I started drinking to get myself out of my shell and to boost my confidence. But now that I’ve stopped drinking, 20 years later, I realise that I already have that confidence, all I needed to do was stop and listen.
Over to you gorgeous! Are you a stay out and party all night kind of girl? Or would you rather be a wake up early for a yoga class and hit the farmer’s markets type person. It’s never too late to make a change, all you need to do is take a step in a new direction. Please share your stories below!