When I quit drinking, my fingers were crossed that I would lose weight. I mean, I was drinking A LOT of calories. Now, you may be shocked to hear that I only lost about 5 lbs. However, I lost a ton of bloat in my midsection. Losing this bloat made me lose inches from my waist and this meant that clothes started fitting better, and overall I looked a felt a lot better in my own skin.
Besides losing my belly bloat, I also noticed a change in my face. It’s like my face was swollen from drinking and I didn’t even notice it until I quit drinking. I lost so much puffiness in my face. Along with that, my skin became brighter and clearer.
Lastly, my eyes became brighter. When I was drinking regularly, my eyes always looked tired and puffy. When I quit drinking, I lost the puffiness and my eyes became brighter and whiter.
My husband and I LOVED to drink together. We had so much fun when we’d drink together. However, as we’d drink more, we’d bicker with each other over silly things. A lot of this bickering would turn into me being so upset with my husband that I would end up grumpy and mad at him for the rest of the evening. I would wake up in the morning and remember I was mad at him, but I couldn’t remember why I was mad at him. It was the worst feeling ever.
These days, my husband and I bicker a LOT less. When we do have a disagreement, it is resolved quickly, and rarely does it turn into us being so upset that we are mad at each other for the whole evening. PLUS, now if I do go to be upset, I wake up in the morning and remember why I was upset so we can actually talk about it.
No more arguments that we can’t remember why and how they started.
I hear so many moms say that drinking makes them a more patient mom, and I totally understand because that is how I used to feel, too. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, either. The first few days (and into the second week) that I was alcohol free, I was CRABBY with my kids. They’d be arguing with each other, and I’d think, “That’s it! I need a drink so I can chill out and not yell at them.” But I’d just drink a fizzy water and let the feeling pass.
I found that after the initial urge would pass, I would feel okay, and as the evening would carry on, I’d feel so much better. I used to be so irritated with my kids by the end of dinnertime and especially by bedtime. Now, I have so much more patience with them. I actually sit and enjoy their dinner conversation. Plus, I genuinely listen (and remember) our dinner conversation each evening because I am not drunk.
I used to sleep terribly! I’d wake up almost every night with my heart beating fast and my mind racing. I’d lay in bed and try deep breathing techniques, but I’d still be awake with my mind racing. I would get up and got to the restroom, drink some water and then lay back down and try to still my mind, but it just wouldn’t work. Instead, I would just toss and turn all night and then finally get out of bed when my alarm went off.
I thought that this was just part of aging. Maybe I was peri-menopausal? My doctor told me I was too young for that, but maybe she was wrong? Maybe my thyroid was out of whack? My doctor checked that, though, and it was fine.
It was actually all a cause of drinking. I would drink most evenings, and yes, the alcohol helped me fall asleep. However, the alcohol would convert to sugar in the evening, and when my body would metabolize it I would wake up. I would be hungover and out of sorts. My mind was so tired, but the the sugar from the alcohol was making me stay awake. It was a terrible cycle.
These days, my body is actually on it’s natural cycle. I fall asleep easily and I RARELY wake up in the middle of the night. On the rare occasion that I do wake up in the middle of the night, I fall back asleep very quickly.
I’m embarrassed to say this now, but I used to spend so many of my Monday’s teaching super hungover! I’d drink most of the day on Sunday . . . You know the drill – Mimosas, then day drinking with some beer, and then wine with dinner. I would chug ALL the water in the evening and take to ibuprofen before I went to bed and cross my fingers that I’d wake up without a hangover.
I was never that lucky, though, instead I would wake up hungover. I’d pop some more ibuprofen, chug more water. I’d workout in hopes to sweat some of the toxins out. Choke down a breakfast and get myself to work.
I would literally drag myself through the day, just counting down the minutes before I could go home. When I was drinking, NO ONE was getting the best parts of me. I would chalk my Monday tiredness up to it just being Monday, but I knew the truth. Alcohol was stealing my energy.
These days, I show up at work on Monday’s feeling well rested. I’m happy and excited for the start of a new week. Monday’s are actually my most productive days now because I use my weekends a combination of rest and relaxation AND crossing projects off of my to-do list. I go into Monday’s feeling ready to conquer the world now!
This was probably the most surprising thing that happened to me when I quit drinking. My creativity level went up! My brain was no longer living in an alcohol induced fog. Instead it was running on all cylinders.
From writing to crafting to parenting. My brain is able to work to find creative ways to do things. I had always been a creative person, and when I was drinking I honestly thought still was creative, but alcohol is tricky. It makes you live in a life with a faint veil over you. That veil has been there long enough that you stop noticing the cloudiness.
It was difficult in the beginning to take a break from alcohol, but when I did, I was so surprised when the veil of alcohol was lifted. I was suddenly living my life at FULL capacity and when my brain came up with an idea, I had more creativity on how to make that idea a reality.
My weekends used to be all about laying on the couch recovering from a hangover, or trying to do things with my kids while having an awful hangover (that’s the worst isn’t it).
The weekend would come to an end and I would look around my disaster of a house, and I’d tell myself, “Just make it through your Monday, and everything will start falling into place.” I was in constant “survival mode” with the organization of my life because I never had the energy to get ahead in our household chores. It was NOT a fun place to be.
These days, our weekends look so much different. Gone are the days of nursing a hangover and instead our weekends are full of FUN and PRODUCTIVITY. Without a hangover or a night of drinking. Now we have time for something fun and we get ahead of our household chores, and even do some extra chores in there, too.
Monday mornings are no longer fueled by thoughts like, “Just make it through today.” Instead I go into Monday’s feeling well rested and prepared for the week ahead. It is an AMAZING feeling!
I know that the idea of taking a break from alcohol can feel super overwhelming. So I put together a list of 10 Mantras I used (and still do) when I took a break from alcohol. Click HERE to download your 10 Mantras today.
The thought of socializing without alcohol can be SO overwhelming. I get it. My social anxiety was actually one of the reasons I put off even trying to quit for so long. Here’ the thing, though, I was actually surprised at how easy sober socializing turned out to be. (It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, but it really was easier than I had thought it would be.)
If you are in the beginning of your alcohol free journey, I’ve put together 5 tips that can help you when you venture out to your first social event.
GO OUT WITH A “Drinking” PLAN – Before you head out for an evening of sober socializing, go out with a plan. Will you be at a social situation where everyone will be social drinking? (Hopefully, not if you’re early on in your journey, but sometimes it happens.). Bring non-alcoholic beverages for yourself. Bring MORE than you thing you’ll need, too, because I often find that I drink more of my NA drinks when I’m out with people that are drinking (or even people that aren’t drinking). I guess I still hold onto and sip on my non alcoholic drink as a way to calm my party jitters.
My favorite NA drinks are – flavored club soda, Kombucha (the GTS brand and Brew Doctor are SO yummy, a super fancy lemonade, and I also like NA beer every once in a while.)
VISUALIZE THE EVENING – Practice before you head out by visualizing the WHOLE evening. By mentally playing through the whole evening, your brain actually feels like it has already experienced the event so you are more prepared for success.
To visualize the evening, sit somewhere quiet and start playing through the whole evening. Picture yourself getting ready for the night. Then picture arriving at the event. Where will you go first? Will you check out the food or will you go around the perimeter of the crowd to see who all is there? Who will you talk to first? What will you talk to them about? Picture yourself doing all these things with a smile on and carrying yourself with confidence. Then picture that someone asks you what you’d like to drink. How will you answer them. Play through the rest of the party or event in your mind and then picture yourself saying goodbye and leaving feeling so proud of yourself for staying alcohol free.
PLAN AN ACTIVITY NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOHOL – If you are in control of choosing the activity, make a plan that does not include drinking. Now, I know that sometimes this is hard because if you were like me when I first quit drinking I was suddenly realizing that all the activities I enjoyed seemed to include alcohol so you may need to branch out a little. Also, sometimes it’s not about the activity, BUT the time of day you go, so planning a lunch with someone is an easier time to avoid drinking. Here are some activities you could try that don’t put alcohol front and center and eliminate peer pressure:
Hiking, going to an exercise class, going to a museum, meet for a cup of coffee, go to a crafting night or host your own, go for a scenic drive, etc.
REHEARSE WHAT YOU’LL SAY – At some point someone is going to ask you to have a drink. Before heading out, rehearse how you’ll answer. Now, I may lose you here, but this seriously works. Practice in a mirror. Just pretend you’re in middle school again and lip syncing to you favorite song (Was that only me??). Back to what I was saying, look in the mirror and practice saying, “No, thanks. I’m not drinking tonight.” Or even bolder, “No, thanks. I actually quit drinking.” Now, if you go with the bold route, you are going to need to rehearse what you say next. When they ask, “Why?” I go with something along the lines of, “I took a break from drinking, and actually found out that I really enjoy life without drinking alcohol. I know it seems crazy, but I’ve figured out that alcohol just wasn’t working for me.” After that, they either ask me more about it or leave it be. 90% of the time, they leave it be.
BE CONFIDENT – Before I go to any social event (or even just hang out with friends I used to drink with), I work to pump myself up beforehand. I think of ALL the things I have accomplished since I quit drinking. I remember that drinking has actually changed my physical appearance – my skin and eyes are brighter, and I’ve lost some inches off my waist. I also remember that without drinking I will have a cleared head so I can communicate more easily and even tell better jokes. When I remind myself of all these things, it gives me a confidence boost, and when I’m feeling confident, it’s easier for me to stay on track with my alcohol free life.
I hope these tips help you the next time you’re headed out with friends. Which tip do you think you’ll use first? What is a tip you have for socializing without alcohol that you would add to the list.