I was chatting to the hubby the other night and we were talking about Oktoberfest (not the one in Germany, just a big event coming up in the town we live in). And I had this realisation, which was that I couldn’t even relate to it anymore. That urge to get dressed up, stock up on booze for the after party, sit around drinking, getting blind, staggering home.
It all felt so foreign to me.
Which is funny, because that was exactly the stuff I was getting excited about just 18 months ago. I would’ve been first in line at Oktoberfest, had it happened in 2013!
But now it just all feels so…. wasteful. Of time, of weekends, of money, of health. I know how I would’ve been had I gone – really drunk, staggered home, woken up the next day with a terrible hangover, sat around on the couch all day doing nothing with zero motivation. What a waste.
I believe that alcohol stops you from following your dreams and achieving your goals. It keeps you contained within these limitations. Because to get drunk takes so much time! It’s not just the drinking part, it’s the day (or days) of recovery afterwards. You can’t be bothered getting off the couch let alone doing what it takes to chase dreams. Motivation = zero.
And it takes so much money! The loose purse strings, the ‘I’ll buy a round of shots and I don’t care!’ attitude. Before you know it, the pay cheque is gone and you’ve got to wait another week until the next one comes around. It’s hard to chase goals when you’re broke.
Being a big drinker like I was kept me in this boozy vicious cycle.
Work all week, have a few Thursday night, have a few more Friday night, a whole bunch more Saturday night, maybe a few to take the edge off on Sunday, wake up Monday and repeat. There was no time for anything else! I was either drinking or recovering from drinking, and my self-development was at a standstill.
One might even say it was going backwards.
Now it might sound like I’m attacking drinking here, and let me be clear that I’m not. What I’m attacking is the way that I used to drink. I’m attacking the stronghold it had over me, and the way I would prioritise it over other things. I’m attacking the way that we all put drinking above other aspects of our lives and let it be a focal point. If you’re one of those people that can enjoy one or two drinks and stop there, then great! But if you’re like me and alcohol takes over your weekend every weekend, then we’ve got a problem.
I was recently interviewed by Bex at Sexy Sobriety and I said to her “Because drinking, it just holds you in this vicious cycle. Because you’re drinking two, three, however many days per week. Then you’re hungover, then you go to work, then you come home, then you drink some more, then you’re hungover…
And it’s just this constant cycle. And it’s so hard to evolve or grow or develop yourself personally, when that’s all that you’re doing. So the second you can remove that out of your life, suddenly you’re like: oh my God, there’s this whole world, and this whole life, and there’s so much I can do.“
What I found was exactly that – suddenly I had all this time on my hands. I had money in the bank. And I had a clear head! I could get up and decide what I wanted to do with my day without the fog of hangover or the shame of having done something really stupid the night before. It gave me the opportunity to go, okay, what do I really want to do with my life? With my time and my money? What are my goals and my dreams? And how can I get myself there?
It feels like I was shackled before to living a pretty average life. Now I feel like I’m free to live an extraordinary one.
“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” ~ Robin Sharma.
Of course, at the time I thought I was having fun. But really, what’s fun about not being in control of your actions, or your words? What’s fun about hangovers, or feeling shameful? What’s the point if you can’t even remember what happened? There’s nothing fun about blackouts!
18 months on and I’m continuing to learn about the endless possibilities that a sober life holds, when you’re not chained to living within those limitations. Now every week is a new adventure – it builds on the week before it and pushes boundaries. I’m constantly thinking of new ideas, or business ventures, or adding new skills to my abilities.
In fact, I’m about to start my Psychosomatic Therapy training! This is based on understanding the connection between what you think (psycho = mind) and how that affects your physical body (soma = body). This strikes a chord in me because I know how sick we can get from thoughts (ever been really stressed?). So I’m heading off to Perth to start my training in a week and I’m so excited. Not only because it’s something I’m feeling pulled towards, but also because I have that freedom to be able to follow my dreams in this way.
If I was still drinking, none of this would be happening. I’d still be on the couch feeling like crap after Oktoberfest talking about one day when I’m gonna do something with my life, then planning next weekend’s party. Talk about limiting my own existence!
If this is something that resonates with you – maybe you’re sick of being in your own vicious cycle – then how about checking out Sexy Sobriety? Bex has been through the same thing, that dependency on alcohol and the shameful mornings after, so she’s put this program together with no judgement and a whole lot of love and understanding.
You can also check out my blogs from when I first quit drinking here, here and at my one year soberversary here. I know that it’s a constant progression forward, and no doubt I’ll keep learning as time goes on, and for now knowing that I’m not holding myself back anymore is pretty amazing.
With love and keeping the goals alive,