Soberistas: How Quitting Drinking Has Changed My Life
I have never considered myself to be an alcoholic. Neither did I ever dream that one day I would cut alcohol out of my life for good – surely teetotal people are dull and unable to let their hair down; why would I ever choose to spend my life stone cold sober on a permanent basis?
As a regular and heavy binge drinker, I once classed my boozy ways as entirely normal and certainly nothing which raised alarm bells for my health and general well-being. Once I hit my thirties, however, I did begin to experience increasingly niggling fears with regards to the effect alcohol might be having on my body.
Following one evening (when I was 35) during which I sank three bottles of wine at home, alone, I collapsed on the pavement outside my house and subsequently woke up in the casualty department of Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital at 3 am. I finally acknowledged that my relationship with alcohol was not healthy, and made the choice to quit drinking right then and there. I set forth on this new chapter of my life with much trepidation and anxiety.
These days I am passionate about the positives that can be obtained from a booze-free life, and am a million miles away from the school of thought that says sobriety is all about gritting one’s teeth and muddling through life one day at a time. I believe strongly that women are better able to fulfil their potential when they’ve put down the bottle. Everything we are good at, from multi-tasking to organising, to being creative and empathetic, all become things we excel at again once the hangovers have disappeared and evenings have been reclaimed for productivity rather than slumping in front of the TV, glass to hand.
For those drinkers who are bereft of the ‘off switch’, quitting alcohol is an incredibly liberating and empowering lifestyle choice – it doesn’t mean missing out. Conversely, alcohol-free life is about allowing the real you to come to the fore and to start accomplishing those stagnant goals that have remained pipedreams for all the years defined by drinking.
Choosing to quit drinking has been the best decision I’ve made in my entire lifetime. My self-confidence and self-belief have been restored, my family relationships and friendships are happy and secure once more, and I always know that I have done the best I can each day for the people who rely on me – especially my children. I value my body and mind as well as the world around me. Whereas once I only thought about reaching the end of each day in order to crack open the wine, now I feel true excitement about the endless possibilities that await me in the years ahead.
Today it feels as though I could achieve anything, not least because without alcohol, the depression and anxiety from which I suffered so acutely since my teens have simply vanished. The old me (the one who I thought was the real version) has disappeared without a trace, along with all the associated misery and alcohol-fuelled crises that used to spring up on a regular basis. I now use my experiences as a reformed binge drinker in my role as editor of Soberistas.com, a social network site which is aimed at women looking for a way out of the booze trap, and as a writer; The Sober Revolution and Your 6 Week Plan are both intended to show how remarkable life can be once free from the vicious cycle of alcohol-dependency, low self-esteem and depression.
Lucy Rocca is the Founder and Editor of Soberistas.com, a social network site for women with alcohol dependency issues. She is also the co-author (with Sarah Turner, cogitive behavioural therapist and addictions counsellor) of The Sober Revolution and Your 6 Week Plan, both published by Accent Press.
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