So this subject is something I get asked about a lot. As some of you know I decided to take a break from alcohol at the start of this year, and I wanted to share with you exactly my reasons why, and where I stand with it now.
For the last year of my life there had been signs nudging me to take a break from alcohol but I was SO not ready to listen – I’m not a big drinker by any stretch, but I do love a red wine with dinner.
After what felt like a lot of mindless casual drinking in Bali around Christmas, I felt it was super important for me to make sure I knew how good I could feel without any alcohol at all in my life. I didn’t put an end date on it, just decided I was ‘taking a break’ – no pressure, no rules, just a break.
I knew from talking to friends just how much their lives had changed from stopping drinking altogether, and as I saw their growth – spiritually, personally and professionally – the more curious I got. I finally decided that this choice was something I now needed to explore for myself. I wanted to look at my relationship with alcohol in the same way I had dissected and reconfigured my relationship with food. I wanted the same level of awareness. These are the questions I now ask myself:
Do I really want this, or is this an emotional response? How will this make me feel later? Am I choosing this drink consciously, or do I feel like I ‘need’ it to take the edge off (and why do I need to take the edge off something anyway? What’s underneath that?) Am I drinking just because everyone else is?
We all know how much fun it is to go out with our girls and bust some moves on the dance floor whilst enjoying a cocktail or two. Or having dinner with a loved one and a nice bottle of wine? Sometimes just even relaxing with a glass or two of wine after work can feel like utter bliss and like we are treating ourselves…right?
I am noticeably less productive or focused in the days following a couple of glasses of wine. I’d wake up feeling anxious, lethargic and unfocused. Sure, I was having a great time! But I wasn’t showing up for myself the way I knew I could be and that had to change. I knew I could have way more energy than I was allowing myself to access. I also was experiencing bad skin and wanted to see the effect losing alcohol for a while would have on my complexion.
For the time I was off alcohol, I felt younger, more awake in the mornings, and way more productive! I also noticed I craved coffee much less, and was able to easily change my relationship with my coconut lattes too. (Am I choosing it, or do I ‘need’ it?)
A couple of weeks ago I had my first drink since New Years – a crisp glass of champagne with Rebecca Campbell in London to celebrate my debut on the Hay House Ignite stage. Shortly afterwards, I had a headache, and all I wanted to do was sleep…but I did absolutely enjoy every single sip of that glass.
So now? Well, I’ve come to the decision I don’t want a totally sober life. I would still love to enjoy my wine as part of a balanced lifestyle. But it takes 3 months to break a habit, and I believe in 3 months I have managed to redefine a new, much more conscious relationship with alcohol.
For me that feels like most of the time it’s going to be a no thank you – as I work better, think faster, feel more connected, and am more grounded in my spirituality living this way. When I am offered a drink I ask myself: How will Future Me feel in the morning?
Using this as my guide keeps my internal compass on track, I know that most of the time future me won’t want to feel the way she used to so I can say no with ease. But there are times in your life when it is totally ok to say YES and to have the wine, just like it’s ok to say YES to the cake sometimes Goddess! There are no rules in our lives, just a series of choices day after day.
I have learned the benefit of choosing long term win over short term fix when it comes to saying yes or no to that glass of wine at the end of the day. Truly nobody cares that I may have a kombucha in my hand rather than a cosmo in the bar. When you stand strong in your own beliefs and OWN your choices, you give freedom to others to do the same. Many people joined me when I said I was taking a break from alcohol, although some did really take it personally, which was an interesting reflection.
What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear your insights.
To a life full of choice, and freedom –