Alcohol-free living: one year in!

Somehow or other, it has been a year since I cut alcohol out of my life.

Can I just say: wah-hoo!

In those 12 months, lots of people have asked me what life is like without it.

Well, life is much the same as before but better. It’s like the filters have been sharpened and the colour saturation ramped up.

It’s a curious question, isn’t it: that alcohol is so embedded in our lives many can’t imagine living without it. A life without booze is portrayed as one where you miss out, like you’re being deprived of some magic elixir that’ll make your life more sparkly.

But that’s ridiculous. The elixir of life is… living.

I spent the weekend of my 365th day doing much the same as a year ago: seeing friends, running, going out and spending time with my family.

Except this time I was totally, properly, in the moment, 100% there with absolute clarity. And it felt ah-may-zing.

This is what 12 months off the sauce does. It’s a powerful decision to quit booze, not because you have to but because you want to.

You take back control.

You gain more financial flexibility. More time. More confidence to say ‘what next?’

The decision to ditch the drink offers an opportunity to live differently, take another different path and explore this new, exciting place. The world becomes a bigger place – what else is out there?

Drink was something I did at times to deal with my fears and stresses, rather than face them. Basically, I found myself wanting.

Without alcohol to soften the edges I’ve done something about it. Like the quote from the last blog, I sat with the questions for a while then set about answering them myself, rather than looking to the outside world to fix it for more.

A biggie was tackling my fear of flying by seeing an aviation specialist rather than knocking back the in-flight processo to calm the quiet panic. It was so cool, I got to go in a flight simulator and *fly* an airbus from Heathrow to Manchester. Would I have done that if I were still drinking? No way.

After oscillating around for a while I made career-change decisions (including setting up this blog) which I feel super excited about; I feel shot through with a new sense of enthusiasm that’s reinvigorated my love for writing.

I was training with my running club recently and got talking to a friend who’s proactively reduced his alcohol intake and is feeling these benefits too. Take drink away and you feel clearer, sharper, able to do more because you can do more. Life gives you more practically, emotionally and physically.

We agreed life is much more interesting.

If you are embarking on your new journey of reduced alcohol consumption, are trying it or are a couple days in KEEP GOING! It will get easier. If you’ve given up smoking or a habit like biting your nails then you’ll know this.

You will feel better and the new way of living will become the new normal. And you will have extra cash, you’ll look better, feel better, sleep better and you will lead a different life. Be different – you’ll love it!

Here’s to the next 12 months.

Em x

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I'm a writer, journalist and communications officer based in the South West of England. I write about wellbeing, the outdoors and life in a rural playground.

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