I recently celebrated my birthday and, despite all the happy birthday messages complete with champagne bottle emojis, I didn’t pop the cork and pour a glass of bubbles to celebrate.
In fact it was so different to all of my previous birthdays which, if I wasn’t pregnant or breastfeeding, included alcohol as part of the celebration.
So, you may ask, was celebrating a birthday without drinking hard? Maybe a bit depressing and sad? Obviously a difficult day not to drink, right? No. No. And absolutely not.
Of course, I would never have believed this, even a year ago.
Birthday celebrations: with alcohol
On my last birthday my partner surprised me with a night out at a fancy hotel in our city. The room was gorgeous with views across the river to the city. We started the afternoon with celebratory drinks on the balcony, continued with bubbles for me and beer for him at a nearby wine bar and then on to dinner at the restaurant with a bottle of nice red to complement the meal.
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? It was lovely – at the beginning. However, the latter part of the night is a bit of a blur although I do remember getting into a bit of a heated debate about something (who knows what) with my partner at dinner.
I woke up the next day in that beautiful room with its gorgeous views feeling very hungover, a bit grumpy and with foggy memories some parts of the previous night.
Birthday celebrations: the alcohol-free experience
This year was markedly different. I had a long brunch with family, a relaxing afternoon of pampering and then went to a movie and dinner that night. The dinner was at a pub near the cinema but, even though I was surrounded by people drinking (including my partner), I wasn’t tempted to celebrate with a glass of wine.
It seems such a contrast to the year before but the way I think about alcohol has changed so much. It simply did not factor in as part of the celebration and that, in itself, continues to blow me away. I can enjoy my life without a drink – who knew?
And the best bit – I got to enjoy every part of my birthday, I didn’t end up having a pointless argument with my partner at the end of the night and I woke up the next day feeling fantastic.
I received some great present on my birthday but probably the best gift (no offence to anyone who gave me something) was the gift I gave myself – choosing an alcohol-free life.