When people find out that I no longer drink, they often expect to hear some crazy tale of drama and debauchery.
But if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I was never a rock bottom boozer.
Even at the height of my drinking career, I was firmly in the ‘grey zone’.
Yes, alcohol was causing me problems and making me unhappy… but I was also doing a pretty good job of making sure everything looked fine on the outside.
I worked out. I ran. I watched my weight. Most people would’ve described me as ‘health conscious’.
And that’s the inspiration behind today’s blog.
Here’s what happens when you’re a health nut by day – and a boozer by night:
You’re really open minded about everything… except sobriety
Hula hooping classes? Hot yoga? Soul cycle? The maple syrup diet? Sure thing. When it came to most health and fitness crazes, I’d give anything a go. But sobriety? That thing where you learn to relax naturally, without inhaling a glass of wine first? That was a bit too weird.
Selective calorie counting
Throughout the day I’d try to keep track of how much I’d eaten, in a bid to shift a few stubborn pounds. But as soon as I started drinking, all that went out the window. Calculating liquid calories was too complicated (and depressing) so I’d pretend they didn’t exist. Sadly, my waistline did notice…
Selective fact finding
As a drinker, I could’ve told you all about the merits of quitting gluten and the risks of not getting enough exercise. But booze? Hmmm. That was a bit of a vague area in my mind, because frankly, I didn’t want to know. The information I did retain was remarkably one sided, which brings me on to my next point…
Drinking for the ‘health benefits’
If you told me you eat chocolate for the milk content, I would’ve rolled my eyes. And yet I was perfectly happy convincing myself that I was drinking red wine for the ‘health benefits’. A little bit is good for you, right? (It isn’t actually. That myth has been busted.)
Chemicals? What chemicals?
By day, I’d scrutinise food labels so I could be sure of what was in the products I bought. No e-numbers, weird ingredients or nasty chemicals for me, thank you very much! But when it came to wine, I liked to think it was just mashed up grapes. Read this if you’re in the dark too.
Spending a fortune on beauty products
I was always trying to work out why my skin was going haywire. Was it my cleanser? My moisturiser? Maybe I just hadn’t found the right brand for my skin? Well as it turns out, the right beauty ‘brand’ for me (and many others) is alcohol free. I wrote more about that here.
Drugs: just say no?
Antibiotics? Painkillers? I’d only take them if I really had to. I’ve never liked popping pills for any old reason – it just feels wrong. And yet I’d happily self medicate with alcohol, ignoring the fact that it was, ahem, also a drug… one that kills and harms a lot of people.
If you recognise yourself in this blog, then I’m guessing that you, like me, really value your health. If you’re investing a lot of time and energy into living a healthy lifestyle, it’s worth taking a proper look at how drinking is affecting that. Is alcohol is supporting or sabotaging your goals?
If you need any support to stop drinking, click here for details of my online course.