My Year Without Alcohol

Just over a year ago I was listening to a podcast about how to be a successful entrepreneur. When asked a question about his success, the interviewee said that his one piece of advice was that drinking alcohol was a distraction and so he didn’t drink. This planted a seed and put me on the road to considering my success and drinking.
Many of you know I’m British, you may not realize how much alcohol is part of the culture.  I have been conditioned to believe that having fun had to include alcohol. When I came to the US, I remember being mortified at the idea of being invited to a party where I wasn’t offered alcohol and a ‘dry’ baby shower was my idea of hell. Ok any kind of baby shower still is!
I started drinking early and I have mostly loved it. Though as the years have gone by the negatives seem to outweigh the enjoyment.  I had never truly considered giving up, I only had the thought that maybe I should cut down, only drink at weekends, only a couple of times a week, only 2 drinks max, maybe 3 … Anyone who has reached the point where they have decided it’s time to think about cutting down knows the drill.
I have regularly given up for Lent or done ‘Dry January’. Hey if I can give up for over 40 days I clearly don’t have a problem, right? I strongly believe in the power of the unconscious mind. My unconscious had been getting louder and louder on the issue of drinking for years.
A year ago I set off on another Dry January, this time I was late in getting started so I decided I would do a  21 day fast. I randomly discovered an internet forum for people who wanted to cut down or stop drinking. I read hundreds of posts from people who sounded a lot like me.  There were also  those who had lost everything, been convicted of drink-driving and considered themselves alcoholics. I am strongly against drink- driving, have never been involved in the risky behavior that I read about. Yet the more I read the more I recognized  that though I did not share their experience, drinking without boundaries has the potential to be destructive for everyone. Though I could quit drinking for a set period of time, I had always had an end date where I knew that I would resume drinking,  usually back to the level I had been at before. So this time I decided to keep going and see where it would  lead.
Here I am a year later and it has been an amazing year of self discovery.  A journey around the sun seemed a good time frame as it gives an opportunity to experience every milestone; birthdays, Christmas, New Year and vacations all without a drink
The big epiphany. I never acknowledged that alcohol was a way of avoiding my emotions, I have rarely examined them properly.  A bad day at the office, someone upset me, physical pain, fear, stress, sadness, homesick, worry. All these things could be dealt with by knocking back a few glasses of wine. By not drinking I had to examine the feeling, the root cause, or the relationship.
I also realized how unproductive drinking made me. Once I had the buzz of the first drink nothing else useful would be done. Now I may still be sitting up reading, writing or creating into the early hours of the morning. I am also more discriminating about TV.  I follow the plot and remember it the next day.
I kept a journal and began actively practicing gratitude. I also used Tapping therapy and created some videos on my YouTube channel  especially for alcohol cravings, I have had positive feedback that these have helped others.
I ate and drank whatever I wanted; donuts, ice cream, hot chocolate, tons of hot tea.  And still, this has been the most effective  non-diet I have ever been on. I am at my lowest weight ever in my adult life.
I decluttered using the Marie Kondo method, looking at what I have and need was helpful, letting go of things both physical and emotional seemed to be tied together.
I believe I am better at my work, more compassionate and tolerant, I am more in tune with my emotions and am much more likely to walk away from an argument. I now see what a wonderful life I have and how it is too precious to be anesthetized from.
Will I drink again? I have no plans to. It is possible that one glass of champagne could enhance an experience and yet in my long career of drinking I have rarely felt the desire nor often the ability to stop at one.
Feel free to comment or ask questions, I would love to hear your views.
Check out this free video that can help with alcohol cravings.
Free Video on Techniques For Cravings
Disclaimer: If you are considering stopping drinking, withdrawal can be dangerous  and even fatal for those who drink heavily.  Please check with your doctor  and get medical advice before stopping drinking.

By Trish Taylor

Author and Speaker