I have been studying the field of personal development for over 15 years. It started out as a desperate chase to solve my unhappiness with just about everything in my life. I believed that my lack of a significant other, my miserable time at work, my cripplingly low self-esteem and lack of confidence, could all be resolved in the latest book, course or retreat. I could be more successful, healthier, attract the right love, and kick ass in every area of my life. I just needed to follow the instructions and all would be well. Hmm
Obviously, I learned a huge amount, I could see the logic of how these brilliant books would change my life for the better. I tried all the new methods I learned but I was only able to stick with them for a short time. Writing ‘I am enough’ on all my mirrors was great until someone came to stay for the weekend, writing my gratitudes every day was fine until I had the hangover from hell and couldn’t think of one thing to be grateful for.
On and on, spending hundreds, probably thousands, on trying to improve myself, to be better, to be happier. One day, in a fit of desperation, I read my journal back to see if I could spot anything that I had written that might give me a clue. I got the biggest smack in the face. Every day for weeks and months previously I had written something about alcohol. There were positive and negative notes but they were there every day. I was mortified. This is what gave me the motivation to give up.
After a few weeks of detoxing and feeling rubbish, I had a moment that I will never forget as long as I live. I was walking to work and I had this overwhelming feeling of pure, unadulterated joy. In that moment, everything that I had been trying and failing to improve in myself came flooding in. It was like 15 years of learning instantly hit me.
I knew then that I would never drink again.
I know many Sobersistas struggle with the repeated day one cycle, generally because they can’t see beyond where they are now. If this is you, take heart. What follows is a list of all the things you will easily give up and be a million times happier than you are if you are currently drinking. In reality, there are so many more, but I picked the ones that Sobersistas talk about in the group most often.
Well yes, that’s a bit obvious. This is Sobersistas after all. But you will be happier if you give up. Your life might change in ways you hadn’t expected but it will be better. In a recent poll in Sobersistas Closed Group I asked if women found it easy or difficult to give up drinking. Out of the 126 women who responded 69 said it was easy and 57 said it was difficult. Some of the comments below the poll made the point that making the decision was difficult but once that was achieved, giving up was easy.
#2 Bad Skin
Alcohol dehydrates your skin and giving up will give your skin back it’s natural healthy glow.
#3 Dull Eyes
One of the big things I always notice when Sobersistas post before and after pics in the group is the difference in their eyes. In the after picture, the eyes are always brighter, sparklier and more alive.
#4 Poor Eating Habits
I ate so much crap when I was drinking. Giving up meant I made healthier choices, which has helped me have more energy and feel good about what I eat.
#5 Poor Parenting
You’ve seen all of the memes telling mothers the only way to be a parent is with the support of ‘mummy juice’. This infuriates me. Giving up alcohol means that you can free yourself to be the parent you always wanted to be. The mum who listens has time to play and gives brilliant advice. We all need you to raise brilliant children.
#6 Dysfunctional Relationships
So many women in the group drink because they fear what will happen to their relationships and friendships when they stop drinking. If this is you, don’t assume that your relationship will end. The clarity of mind you will achieve with sobriety will enable you to make the right decisions and have loving conversations with the people you care about.
Who wouldn’t want to give this up? There is something totally delicious about going to sleep every night knowing I will wake up in the morning with a clear head.
#8 Guilt and Shame
Yes, the guilt and shame you feel for the things you did in the past will always be a part of who you are. Getting sober improves your emotional intelligence and enables you to put things in their correct perspective and take action to make your life better.
#9 Poor Health
I heard a doctor say – ‘there isn’t one part of the body that alcohol doesn’t affect’. Imagine that. Every single part of your body is negatively affected by alcohol. Of course, giving up won’t solve every single thing that you have wrong with you but you will be giving yourself the best chance of improving your overall health.
#10 Disrupted Sleep
I didn’t realise until I gave up drinking 3 years ago that my sleep was so bad. If I woke in the middle of the night it would take forever to get back to sleep, if, in fact, I did. I still wake in the night for toilet breaks but I always go straight back to sleep. These days a solid 7 – 8 hours a night is usual and when I get an occasional attack of insomnia I know it is temporary and will right itself the next night.
#11 Money Problems
If you need some motivation to give up drinking, simply work out how much money you spend on alcohol. Don’t forget to include the ancillary stuff that goes along with it like pizza deliveries, taxi’s, expensive creams for your dehydrated skin, headache pills. It soon adds up. What would you do with all of that money in your account?
#12 Lack of Confidence
My self-esteem and confidence were rock bottom when I drank. Within weeks of giving up I realised that I wasn’t this terrible person and had lots of good qualities as a friend, mother, teacher. One of the things I dislike the most about alcohol is that it robs you of your natural confidence. Get alcohol out of the way and your authentic, confident self will naturally appear.
#13 Fear of the Future
So many women don’t give up because they can’t visualise what their lives will be like or falsely fear it will be boring. One of the beautiful things about giving up is that you will discover some untapped potential in you that will change your life for the better. Yes, sobriety will change your life, but for the first time in a long time, YOU will be in the driving seat – not alcohol.
#14 Under-Performing at Work
How often do you mutter under your breath about how incompetent the majority of your colleagues are, telling yourself that you could do better? That’s because you can. One of my favourite things about sobriety is that it gave me my brain back. I’m a million times better at any work I do now and have uncovered some natural talents that alcohol kept at bay. I had no idea that I am a natural problem solver and troubleshooter and can create an efficient process or procedure with my eyes closed. There is talent in you that will enable you to shine and achieve anything you want.
#15 Sex You Don’t Remember
Ugh, ugh, ugh. This is just the worst, isn’t it? Waking up in the morning wondering why weird parts of your body feel tender or how you got a bruise there is mortifying. I know that sober sex can seem scary but I have never met a man yet who doesn’t love a confident, sexy woman who knows what she wants.
#16 Putting Yourself in Risky Situations
Have you ever had a drunken argument with your boyfriend, who had the taxi money, and had to walk home alone in the dark, fall down and gash your knees, and had to wake his granddad up to get money to get home? No? Just me then. Alcohol makes us do things we would never do sober. These days I love going out, taking the car, having a lovely time and going home safe to my bed. Sheer bliss.
#17 Netflix (well not entirely)
How many hours do you currently waste, drinking your favourite tipple, binge-watching anything and everything on Netflix? I used to. What a waste of time. Yes, I still watch TV but I am so much more conscious of what I choose to watch and will read if I feel like it. Sobriety gives you so much time back. What is it you would love to do with your time? Is there a hobby you’d love to try or resurrect, or maybe a book you’ve been meaning to read forever?
#18 Brain Fog
As I mentioned earlier, the clarity of mind I achieved with sobriety is one of the main reasons I will never drink again. I felt like my brain was taken out, washed and sprinkled with glitter and put back in my head. I am NEVER giving this up.
#19 Endless, Repetitive, Boring Conversations
If you have ever sat with a group of people who are drinking when you are sober you will know how boring and repetitive the conversations are. It’s not to say that the people are boring, it’s just alcohol that makes them so. And if it does it to them it does it to you too.
Sobriety uncovered the natural introvert in me and this happens to lots of women when they give up. I love living alone. Yes, I spend time with loved ones regularly, but I always have lots to do and know that what others might define as loneliness is, for me, spending quality time with myself, taking care of mind, body and spirit.
#21 Feeling Lost
I remember so many times when I was drinking terrified of where my life was going. I could see no end to my dull, hungover life. These days, I don’t have it all figured out but I do have a general direction that I am going in and because it’s one of my own choosing (not chosen by alcohol) I am genuinely happy with the direction of my life.
#22 People Pleasing
I know that this is a really big problem for many Sobersistas. So many women spend their lives putting everyone else before them and putting themselves at the bottom of the list. You think you are being helpful and supportive but deep down you know it’s not good for you or them. Sobriety gives you the gift of taking care of yourself so you can show others how to take care of themselves.
When you are hungover and tired on a regular basis it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed with life and all the stuff you have to get done in a day. Being sober means having the clarity to know what is reasonably achievable in a day and what can wait.
I’ve always been really good at making decisions – I think it’s the single parent in me that just had to – but, today I always have the energy to act on what I want to do. No more putting off till tomorrow if it needs to be done today. I have made some brilliant decisions for myself in the last 3 years and have witnessed many Sobersistas doing the same. It’s incredibly empowering.
#25 Hating yourself
Alcohol makes you hate yourself for your weakness, for how horrible you look, for how you are wasting your life. In my Facebook group I always tell women to remember MLT – which stands for Most Loving Thing. When you are struggling just ask yourself “What’s the Most Loving Thing I can do for myself in this moment?” It will never be to drink and asking yourself that one question will set you on the path to loving yourself.
As you’ve gathered if you’ve read this far, giving up alcohol will make your life happier in so many ways. In truth 25 Things is a bit of a short list. There are so many different ways your life will be better living as a sober woman. If you can think of an aspect of your life that isn’t working for you, ask yourself if it would improve if you didn’t drink. I suspect the answer will be yes. I often feel like the Dad in the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ who says Windex will solve every problem. But I honestly think sobriety will solve all your problems, not because your problems will magically disappear but because you will have the clarity of mind, the bravery and the natural daring you have in you to live a brilliant life.
Much love always, Jules xxx
If you are ready to give up all these things and more and would like some individual support in a private space you can join The Sacred Circle. Check it out here.