Going Alcohol-Free: Is It Really That Scary?

Going Alcohol-Free: Is It Really That Scary?

It’s nearly Halloween and all this talk of spooky stuff got me thinking about an important question: what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

When it comes to going alcohol-free, most of us are a bit scared. I certainly was. The thought of losing a crutch is bound to trigger a few fears.

If you’re not careful, those fears can hold you back and stop you from making the leap into sobriety.

Today I want to shine a light on 5 common fears about going alcohol-free, and explore how you could shift your thinking instead:

 

“I’m afraid of trying and failing.”

Whenever you try to do something big and brave like stopping drinking, there’s a high chance you’ll slip up and fall flat on your face. Failing hurts, so it can feel safer to not try at all, right?

A good reframe for this is to accept that you probably will trip up. After all, failure is part of success. It’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t.

Avoiding change might feel safer because you avoid the risk of failure, however in the long run you are essentially still ‘failing’ because you’re still stuck. So why not take a risk and go for it?

 

“I’m scared of what people will say.”

We all hate being judged by others. Some people will have opinions about you and your sobriety and annoyingly, they’ll probably want to share them with you!

How I reframe this is by remembering that we are ALL being judged, all of the time. Right this second you’re making judgements about me and this article and 101 other things.

People will judge you whether you’re thin or fat, rich or poor, drunk or teetotal. My point is, if we can’t avoid judgement – because we’re all being judged, all of the time – why not stop worrying about it?

 

“I’m afraid people will think I’m boring.”

Behind this fear is the belief that choosing not to drink says something about us. To get some perspective on this, switch drugs and look at how you treat people who choose not to smoke.

Do you dismiss non smokers as dull and boring? Of course not! When it comes to other drugs, you don’t judge people for abstaining. So why should alcohol be any different?

The latest stats show that more and more people are choosing an AF lifestyle, so you’ll be in good company. Anyone who tells you that you’re boring for not drinking is either very insecure or a bit of an idiot.

 

“I’m worried about how I’ll relax and switch off.”

If you’ve come to rely on alcohol for stress relief, the idea of doing anything else can feel intimidating. Yet the truth is that alcohol doesn’t solve stress. (If it did, you’d be a really chilled-out person.)

When you’re drinking, you’re literally pouring stress into your life, glass by glass. You can find other ways to relax naturally – there are so many options! I’ve written more about this subject here.

 

“I hate the idea of calling myself an alcoholic.”

If the A word doesn’t resonate with you, then don’t use it. I never do. After all, you don’t hear many ex smokers calling themselves ‘recovering nicotine-oholics’, do you?

Going alcohol-free should be no different to stopping smoking or giving up gluten – you can do it whenever you like, just because you want to. Your decision to quit drinking doesn’t define you.

My online coaching programme is specifically for women who want a label-free, positive and inspiring approach to quitting. You can find out more about my next course here.

 

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Jack Canfield

This is one of my favourite quotes and it’s certainly true of sobriety. When you push through your fears and take action, the pay-off is incredible!

Let me know in the comments which of these fears resonate with you the most. And if you’ve already stopped drinking, tell us how things have turned out for you – did any of your fears actually come true?! I know your experience will inspire other people.

Have fun if you’re celebrating Halloween this week! 🎃

 

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Alcohol’s Empty Promises (And The Truth About Sobriety)

Alcohol’s Empty Promises (And The Truth About Sobriety)

Once upon a time, booze seemed to be my answer to everything.

Need to unwind? Drink.
Need a confidence boost? Drink.
Need to feel happier? Drink!

I used to rely on alcohol for so much. It was a pick-me-up when I felt down and a reward at the end of a long day.

So when alcohol started causing me problems, I couldn’t get my head around the idea of quitting. I thought I’d miss out on too much.

Can you relate?

If you can, then keep reading – because there’s a mighty big secret you need to know about alcohol.

This socially acceptable, liquid poison never actually delivers on its promises. It never has the power to do what you think it does. Ever.

 

Here are 4 of alcohol’s empty promises… the things booze claims to provide, but sobriety delivers:

 

Happiness

Booze is a depressant. It provides a brief, artificial high, followed by a long, crushing low: a hollow, empty feeling which makes you crave more of the drug in order to end the misery.

Whilst it sounds convenient to be able to open a bottle and suddenly feel better, we have to remember that ‘happy’ feeling is false.

It’s a drug-induced, short term, fake happiness – a couple of hours at best. And the price you pay for that experience is huge; we’re talking days of feeling low and awful.

If you want to feel genuinely happy on a regular basis, sobriety is definitely the way to go. I wrote more about how to be happy and sober here.

 

Confidence

Alcohol has a numbing effect that makes it easy to ignore unpleasant feelings, like nerves or shyness. But whilst it can seem as if your cares fall away when you drink, it’s only a temporary effect.

If you’ve ever made a fool of yourself whilst drunk, you’ll know that actually, we need those inhibitions. And isn’t a shy, sober person far more interesting than someone who’s drunk and repetitive?

Sobriety forces you to be who you really are, rather than who you think you should be – and that does wonders for your confidence in the long run.

 

Comfort and reassurance

Drinking can feel safe and comforting, providing familiarity and escapism when things aren’t going well. But in reality, alcohol delivers the opposite of this.

When you’re drinking, you never quite know what’s going to happen, because you’re not fully in control of yourself. You’re far more likely to put yourself in danger or do something you later regret.

When you’re sober, you never wake up feeling shame and guilt as you wonder what you did last night. Instead, you’re fully in control – and that’s a sense of comfort and safety that’s hard to beat.

 

Stress relief

This is the big one. True relaxation is achieved by removing the source of discontent. Alcohol, by definition, just cannot do that. It doesn’t have those kind of superpowers.

All booze can do is numb your brain and your senses. That doesn’t relieve you of your stress – far from it! The stress is still there, only now you’re zombified and numb.

If anything, alcohol is a stress delayer. When you wake up at 3am – thirsty, hungover and unable to get back to sleep – that stress will still be right there, tapping you on the shoulder, needing to be dealt with.

 

Conclusion

Alcohol makes sooo many empty promises, but it’s up to us not to fall for these lies.

When you dig a little deeper, you can see that all booze provides is a temporary distraction – a brief diversion that can make problems worse. You deserve better than a fake, drug-induced illusion.

Sobriety on the other hand, quietly delivers EVERYTHING alcohol promises. Whatever it is you’re searching for at the bottom of a wine glass, you’re guaranteed to find it in an alcohol free lifestyle.

 

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Do I Need To Quit Drinking? 6 Surprising Signs

Do I Need To Quit Drinking? 6 Surprising Signs

Do I need to quit drinking?

Years ago, when I was trying to decide what to do about my own drinking, I used to google this topic endlessly.

I was never sure if I was overreacting or not – I wasn’t a rock bottom drinker, but I didn’t feel like a ‘normal’ drinker either. I was somewhere in the middle, in the grey zone. 

If you can relate – or you’re trying to figure out what to do about your drinking – I made this week’s video for you.

I’m sharing 6 surprising signs you probably haven’t thought about before… these are the unexpected clues that it might be time to take a break:

 


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A quick recap of the six signs:

 

1. You’ve always got one eye on the booze.

You know exactly how much is left in the bottle. You’re keeping an eye on what everyone else is drinking and wondering if there’s enough left; you often feel anxious about getting to the shops in time so you can buy more.

 

2. You’re very touchy about your drinking.

Perhaps a friend makes an offhand, jokey comment about your love of wine and you replay the remark over and over in your head. What did they really mean by it? You worry that other people think you drink too much.

 

3. You’re relieved when you know you’re going to be able to drink.

You often feel worried that you won’t be able to drink in the way you want, so it’s a relief when you can. You feel delighted when someone else volunteers to drive, or you get home early so you can have a few drinks alone.

 

4. You create lots of rules around your drinking.

Perhaps you make yourself wait until a certain time of day. Maybe you have rules about what you can drink or where. (If you want some more ideas for ineffective rules that rarely actually work, check out this old blog post of mine!)

 

5. There’s a lingering feeling of fear and unease.

You have this sense that something bad is about to happen, you’re just not sure what. Perhaps you’ve already had a few close calls or put yourself in situations that could’ve ended in disaster, with you seriously hurting yourself or someone else.

 

6. You’re here.

Asking yourself if you need to stop drinking is generally a sign in itself. If alcohol is making you unhappy, you have nothing to lose by experimenting with sobriety and taking some time off from drinking. (Need some help to do that? You can find more support here.)

 

Let me know…

How many of these signs feel familiar? Which ones resonate with you the most? Or perhaps there’s been something else entirely that’s made you question your drinking. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below 🙂

 

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How Much You Drink Doesn’t Matter – Here’s Why

How Much You Drink Doesn’t Matter – Here’s Why

I get a lot of emails from people who want to know if I think they’re drinking too much.

They’ve added up their drinks, worked out the units… and they’re worried. Or confused.

After all, don’t most people drink more than the government guidelines? Doesn’t everyone have a raging hangover every now and then?

And just to make things even more confusing, we all handle alcohol differently! What might seem a lot to one person may not be that much to another.

So how do you assess your drinking and figure out what to do?

Personally, I think that how much you drink doesn’t really matter. Seriously – there’s a much better question you could be asking instead. I explain all in this week’s video:

 

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The breakdown – why focusing on ‘how much’ isn’t a great idea:

 

It can lead to a false sense of security

When you’re just focusing on quantities, you’re always able to find someone who’s drinking more than you. It’s easy to find books or blogs about heavy drinkers and convince yourself that you aren’t ‘that bad’ – even though you know alcohol is making you miserable.

 

How much you drink might vary a lot

If you’re like most people, your drinking changes day by day. Sometimes you might have a lot and feel relatively ok afterwards; other times you might have less, but still wake up with regrets. How do you decide what an ‘average’ night is?

 

It reinforces the idea that sobriety is a last resort

When we’re focused on how much is too much, what we’re really saying is that sobriety is only for people who are ‘bad enough’. You don’t need to be anywhere near rock bottom in order to decide that you’re going to change or raise your standards. (I wrote more about rock bottom here).

 

So what should you do instead?

Rather than focusing on how much you drink, ask: how is alcohol making me feel? Keep a diary, so you have a record of your mood and general wellbeing when you’re drinking compared to sober periods.

When you keep a proper record of this, you will notice patterns. You’ll start to see whether alcohol deserves a place in your one and only life. If you decide it’s time to stop (or take a break) you can find more help here.

 

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Don’t Let Your Excuses Hold You Back!

Don’t Let Your Excuses Hold You Back!

Do you keep promising yourself you’ll do something about your drinking – only it never seems like quite the right time?

Back when I was thinking about quitting (but not actually doing anything about it) my thoughts went like this:

– I’m too busy to figure this out right now
– I need to wait until that party / birthday / holiday is over
– I’m probably overreacting anyway…
– My friends won’t want me to quit
– I never stick at things like this, so what’s the point?

Those issues felt so real, genuine and true at the time, it was hard to see them for what they really were: excuses!

If you’re worried about your drinking – but you’re struggling to actually do anything about it – check out my video below. 

I’m sharing two tips to help you move forward and stick to your sober goals!

 


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Make a list of all the reasons why you can’t tackle your drinking right now

Write down everything you can think of and take your time over this. Next, analyse whether these reasons are genuinely true or not.

For example, you might well feel too busy to tackle this right now, but just think about how much time you’re losing when you’re drunk or hungover and feeling sluggish. Alcohol is a massive time thief!

Imagine if you had to stop drinking because your life depended on it, or you were being paid to do it. Would you let your excuses hold you back? Or would you push yourself to find a way through?

 

Reframe discomfort

Change makes us feel uncomfortable. Trying new things and stepping into the unknown is tough, so it’s easier to stay in your comfort zone… right?

Wrong! Drinking might be what you know – and it might feel safe and familiar – but it’s also causing you quite a bit of discomfort right now. Hangovers, shame and regrets are NOT comfy or pleasant.

You are going to experience some discomfort if you stay stuck and carry on drinking. And you’re probably going to feel some discomfort if you take the leap and give sobriety a whirl.

So… if you’re going to be uncomfortable no matter what you do, why not take a risk and try something different? You might just stumble across a new way of living that makes you feel really good 🙂

 

Let me know…

What’s been holding you back from taking action? Is there an excuse you’re committed to letting go of? I’d love to hear about it 🙂

 

Download your free Wine O'Clock Survival Guide!

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Why I Love Being Sober In France

Why I Love Being Sober In France

I’m on holiday in France, a country often associated with wine.

When I first quit drinking, the idea of staying alcohol-free during trips like this seemed crazy. In early sobriety, it was so hard to get my head around the idea of being sober in France! I worried I’d always feel as if I was missing out.

Fortunately, a LOT has changed since then.

Nowadays, I couldn’t care less about the romanticised, rotting fruit juice they love so much in this country. I can see through the marketing hype! Alcohol-free living is awesome no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

This week’s video is about why I particularly love being sober in France. I hope it inspires you!

 

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The breakdown:

 

Not drinking means you’re more flexible and open to new experiences

Travel is expensive and it’s important to make the most of every minute. When you’ve travelled hundreds of miles, you don’t want to waste time being hungover or being preoccupied by where your next drink is coming from.

 

Being sober in France means you can really appreciate your food

Alcohol numbs and dulls your taste buds, so if you love food, you’ll love sobriety! Don’t fall for any of that ‘you must drink wine with your food’ nonsense. Giles Coren (a food critic) has written a brilliant article about that here.

 

You have so much more energy!

When I’m travelling, I like getting up early to beat the crowds. And I love exploring new areas on bike tours or walking tours. Last week I did a running tour of Paris (it was amazing – I posted a pic here.)

 

Church bells

What can I say about this… they love church bells in France! They seem to ring out several times a day and often early in the morning. I know if I was drinking, I’d be so irritated by something like that! Sober, it just seems a quaint part of the travelling experience.

 

Better memories

Holidays are supposed to be about making memories – but sadly, alcohol robs you of them. When you’re using booze to blur the edges of life, you blur a lot of other stuff as well. You dull the highs as well as the lows, so you can’t truly appreciate the good times in life.

 

Let me know…

Would you consider leaving booze behind on your next trip? Perhaps you’ve done that already – what were your experiences? If you need any help to make sobriety stick (and actually feel good about your decision) check out my online coaching programme here.

 

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