Is Alcohol-Free for Me? 6 Reasons Why I Cut it Out for Now
Tomorrow marks 6 months alcohol-free for me! Besides my two pregnancies, I'm embarrassed to say I've never gone this long without alcohol in my life since before I was legally allowed to drink it.
As a 44 year old woman, alcohol was with me for the good times and the bad - plus everything (and every excuse) in between. Before I cut it out completely, a few years ago I decided to set parameters around when I would allow myself an alcoholic beverage (which was only on vacations or the weekends).
However, sometimes Thursdays were "close enough" and some Sundays were "Fundays." So instead of a typical two day weekend, it occasionally turned into 4 (which is basically almost half the week)! I also noticed I would have a glass of wine or two on a Friday night only because it was the weekend - not because I wanted one. On vacations, I would take advantage of the time off/being away and indulge, only to punish myself the next day with fatigue and a headache.
My tipping point came back in April. After hosting family over spring break/Easter, there was about a glass of wine leftover in a bottle. I didn't want it to go to waste so I broke my own rules and enjoyed it on a Monday night. Why not, right?! But that following morning I woke up feeling awful. My workout depleted me, I had a headache and, and if I'm being totally honest, felt completely unmotivated to do anything once my kids went to school. To be clear, this was after only having ONE glass of wine. What was the point of having a relaxing moment only for it to ruin my entire next day? At that point, I decided enough was enough. I told my husband that evening I was going to stop drinking all together. To my surprise, he told me he would do it with me (minus the bourbon tour coming up that I got him for Fathers Day:))
So, in honor of my 6 months alcohol-free, I wanted to give you 6 reasons why I decided to do this.
1) Sleep: As a health coach, I know how fundamental sleep is. Your hormones, anxiety, stress, digestion, mood and cravings are all affected when you don't get much sleep. Weekends, a time to catch up and enjoy an alarm-free couple days, were actually starting to become miserable. I would wake up promptly around 2-3 am only to toss and turn the rest of the night. Which brings me to number 2...
2) Patience: When you don't sleep, you don't have much of it. Unfortunately, this affected how I showed up for my kids too. It wasn't fair to them that I didn't have as much patience (or energy) because I didn't get solid sleep the night before. Which brings me to number 3...
3) Being present: When you're tired, and have little patience, it's very hard to be present. You're constantly thinking about when you're gonna get a break, instead of enjoying the little moments (with or without your kids).
4) Decision-Fatigue: Setting up strict boundaries sounds very restricting - and it is. But, it's also incredibly freeing. For example, before I gave up alcohol I started becoming choosier when to have a drink. However, more often than not, I would go into a social situation with every intention not to, but would end up giving in when I got there. As a result, I would regret it the next day - not just because I didn't feel good physically, but mentally because I would beat myself up over not keeping a promise to myself. If I had a strict boundary around alcohol, the decision would've been made before I even left the house.
5) Challenge: I wanted to challenge myself to do something hard - mentally and socially. I'm so used to having alcohol as a way to unwind. A way to celebrate. A way to escape. A way to feel more comfortable in certain social situations. But I wanted to see how I would experience life, in the moment, and all the emotions that come along with it. So far, so good:)
6) Goals: As I was approaching my 44th birthday last week, I decided to dedicate this next year to my overall health and well-being. When I turn 45 next October, I want to the happiest, healthiest and strongest I've ever been in my life: mentally and physically. When I drank, I had the tendency to eat food that I wouldn't normally eat. I would would stay up much later than I normally would (see #1). My workouts suffered, my anxiety increased and my self-discipline and motivation went out the window. Cutting out alcohol goes hand in hand with this new goal.
I'm not saying this is forever thing, but these last 6 months have been an incredible opportunity to see what life is like without it. What I have found so far is that it's freeing, it's challenging, and it allows me to live more in the moment.
If you're in my private FB group, this weeks challenge is going alcohol free for 7 days. If you're not in the group, I'd love for you to join our community. If not, feel free to challenge yourself to an alcohol-free week on your own if you ever feel inclined. As always, I'd love to support you in this so reach out if you like!
Certified Holistic Health Coach
Ali Naglee Wellness