2 days ago I hit a milestone – 100 days alcohol-free. I don’t like the word ‘sober’ as it’s a sad-sounding word ( sober: serious, sensible, and solemn ) and my alcohol-free life has been anything but sad. The common misconceptions when you say you don’t drink alcohol are that you are pregnant, an alcoholic or just plain boring. All of which I am not.
There is no juicy story of me waking up one morning in a trash bin after 10 too many tequilas vowing to turn my life around, but I will admit that my relationship with rosé wine had become a little too close in the months following my Dad’s death. I had started a wellness journey which involved daily trips to the gym and lots of motivational audiobooks, both of which were counterproductive when you have a hangover.
I eased myself in last October by cutting back on my alcohol intake to the point in April where I just decided to quit it altogether. The less I drank the happier I became. Has it been easy, no, do I sometimes feel like a social leper, yes, but the thing I learnt was I only drank out of either boredom, stress or force of habit. Date nights were always 3-course meals with fancy bottles of wine and nights out with the girls were lavish cocktails in town. Even our quiet Friday nights in included a bottle of something. It has been like learning to walk all over again.
I made friends with the Alcohol-free aisle at the local supermarket. Just like we all have different tastes when it comes to alcohol, finding your go-to AF tipple takes time. ASDA and Tesco both have a great selection of AF beers, wine and spirits you can just nip in and grab while online brands like Lyre’s , Clean Co , Citizen Spritz and C•A•R•O•U•S•E can be ordered in advance.
I started by replacing a couple of my alcoholic drinks with AF ones and over time kept reducing. If you are wanting to reduce or even quit alcohol then I would suggest picking an AF alternative to your go-to drink. For me, it was an Aperol Spritz which I found AF Martini mixed with lemonade a perfect dupe. Don’t be put off if the 1st brand you try isn’t to your liking, the beauty of the AF life is you can try as many different ones as you like without the worry of a hangover.
View this post on Instagram
This is a lot less scary than you think. If I’m off to a friend’s house or a family event, then I take some AF supplies and pour my own drinks. If Im planning on going on a night out I pick the bars & restaurants according to the AF options on offer. Except for one depressing event where I was served warm OJ in a martini glass ( marketed as a mocktail ), I have found all the bars and restaurants have bent over backwards to offer me impressive AF cocktails, beer on tap and even order-in my favourite AF Martini.
If you are anything like me and like to check out a restaurant’s food menu before you go, do the same for your AF drinks. To stop all temptation I offer to be the group taxi for the night. There’s no better feeling after having a great night out than driving past the mile-long taxi queue, knowing you will be home and in bed within 20 minutes.
This is where I have had to grit my teeth and take another gulp of my AF beer. There is always a well-meaning person who tries to lock you into a conversation after their 5th glass of wine, I have learnt to just excuse myself and run off to the toilet. They are harmless but are as much help in keeping you AF as a guided tour of a gin factory. We can all ‘ just have one ‘ the problem is 95% of us want ‘ just one more’ after that. The longer I have been AF the fewer people bother about it and the ‘ just have one’ crew have faded into the background.
This is the question that I just can’t answer. The last 100 days have been made up of me waking up each morning and deciding not to drink alcohol that day. This is one of the biggest positive changes I have made in my life, to stop making huge long-term plans and just live each day as it comes. If you need some motivation I can highly recommend The Power Of One More by Ed Mylett.
There have been so many positive changes to my life since I stopped drinking alcohol, both mentally and physically that I don’t have the urge to have a drink. Sure I still occasionally feel like a social leper and have had to decline invites to the new Wine Bar ( no AF options ) but waking up each day with zero anxiety and a clear head has been well worth it. Let’s face it once you hit your 40s one night-out means a 3-days of suffering. Over the last 100 days, I have started new hobbies, attended new fitness classes, made new friends and had the clarity and motivation to make changes to my life and career. I have done more in the last 3 months than I have in the last 3 years.
I have proven to myself that I can still have a great social life, and attend parties and events without the need for Dutch courage. Whatever happens in the future I am proud of what I have achieved so far. Today I choose not to drink alcohol, let me know if you have made that choice today too !!