Reaching milestones has always been a way to keep myself motivated so hitting goals of number of days and weeks of not drinking has helped to encourage me to keep going.
By 50 days AF (alcohol free) I was getting into the swing of things. I had faced a few hurdles and felt my mindset was beginning to change.
So, what has kept me going through this first stage? Books (quit lit is a whole genre, who knew?), podcasts and alcohol-free drinks.
But one of the key things is that I’m starting to reap the benefits of this lifestyle choice. For me, the top three are:
It’s amazing that when you stop pouring toxins down your throat, you start to feel a lot healthier. Who’d have thought? I’ve always been a regular exerciser but without alcohol in my system I have more energy and therefore push myself harder at the gym or during a run.
I’m also eating healthier. After a heavy drinking session I would crave stodgy foods to soak up the grog and ease the nausea – a bowl of cheesy pasta rather than a salad would be my go-to meal. While it helped with the hangover it wasn’t the best fuel for a healthy body.
Now I’m seeking out healthy options and my carb intake (aka hangover food) has definitely decreased.
This has worked on several levels. Firstly, I’m no longer battling a foggy mind caused by drinking too much the night before. Life is so much easier when you can make decision and solve problems with a clear mind.
Also, when I used to drink too much there would be fragments of the night that were a bit of a blur. Now that I’m not drinking alcohol I don’t dread that someone will mention something that happened or was discussed the night before and I have to grapple to recollect any memory of it.
More positive outlook
Alcohol is a depressant so while we think we are having a good time and relaxing when drinking, the impact it is having on our mind and mood is quite the opposite.
Sometimes this period is called the pink cloud – the almost evangelical stage of wanting to convert your nearest and dearest to your new lifestyle.
Meanwhile, your nearest and dearest are deeply suspicious of your lifestyle choice and are looking on from the sidelines to see if this is a phase you’ll grow out of or if it is indeed something more permanent. I’m planning for it to be more permanent.
There are numerous other benefits so naming them all would require a book rather than a blog post but even with just these three, it makes choosing an alcohol-free lifestyle one of the best choices I have ever made.