The best gift you can give yourself is a good life. Of course, you don’t have everything under control, but some things in life are certainly in your own hands. The writer of this week’s beautiful experiential story has realized that and has been enjoying a calmer alcohol-free life ever since. If you want that too, then go for it! And don’t forget to take this beautiful story with you for inspiration:
What do you do in everyday life?
I am a 60 year old woman and I work fulltime at a municipality. I am divorced from my first husband, but now I have a nice relationship again. I have three children and three grandchildren. Luckily my father is still alive. All in all I have quite a busy life…
What did you mainly drink and how much/often?
I mainly drank wine, and then I started around 5 o’clock, after work. And earlier in the weekend… I used to drink to refuel a bit on my own. I managed to drink a liter of house wine a day. I didn’t suffer from hangovers (I thought.. but that was probably also because I was used to that bloated feeling).
How long have you stopped drinking alcohol?
I stopped in January 2021, so now I stopped drinking for over 10 months.
Was this your first attempt?
It’s not my first attempt. I did stop for a little over a year, though, when I was about 45. I was then in the period when I actually wanted a divorce, I felt very unhappy and drank way too much to numb myself. So I managed to stop drinking for a while, but I started again and after that I was quickly back to square one.
What stopped you from giving up alcohol sooner?
I found (find?) alcohol to be so wonderfully relaxing and sedating. I was a single drinker. With all the emotions that I really couldn’t handle, I needed booze to intoxicate me and to turn off my real (sad, insecure, angry and even happy) self.
What made you finally decide to stop anyway?
It was getting a bit crazy. A bottle of wine every day of the week, and sometimes even two on the weekend. Port and liqueur as well. I was miles above the suggested alcohol limit for women. I felt that I owed it to myself (and actually that I was worth it) to tackle myself at this point and stop permanently.
What have you experienced as the biggest benefits so far?
I notice that I am stronger, I feel healthy and fit. A great victory for me was a week of All-In vacation without booze. That used to be unthinkable, but I really enjoyed it, so it is possible!
And what do you miss the most?
The wonderful sedation, the relaxation, the flattening of my emotions. With a drink it was all manageable, for a while. Another advantage was that I fell asleep quickly.
So: what do you miss least about alcohol?
Drinking alcohol costs so much (quality) time! When I drank I didn’t want to make appointments after 5pm or on weekends. Then I wanted to isolate myself with my bottle(s) of wine. If the children did come and they saw that I had been drinking, I would be ashamed. Now I’m just always fit and fresh and available, how wonderful is that!
What do you do when you have a hard time and still want to drink again?
I followed the course ‘the art of sober living’ with Petra Moes, early 2021. This course (online) has given me the support I needed. In the first months I read and listened to all the experience stories I could find on the internet. I still do that when I’m having a hard time now and then, but those moments are getting scarcer.
What do you drink as an alternative if you no longer drink alcohol?
I drink tea, coffee, gimber with spa red and sometimes diet coke.
How do you plan to deal with alcohol in the future?
I’ve made a deal with myself that I won’t drink at least for the whole year 2021. But I like it so much, I can’t imagine starting again. It really doesn’t add anything to your life, I now know that from experience.
Do you have any tips or advice for people who also quit alcohol?
The first month is the hardest, after that it gets easier. Read and listen to how others deal with this, it will help you stick to your decision!
Finally: what do you want to say to anyone who is still in doubt whether they should stop drinking or not?
It’s quite a step, because drinking seems to be so ‘normal and common’. But being sober is a party for yourself, give yourself that amazing gift!
That’s right! Give yourself that gift and enjoy. Even if you’ve stopped for years, you can still have a little party with yourself every now and then when you realize again how wonderful it is to always go through life sober. You don’t want to miss that opportunity, do you?
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! And if somebody else would like to share his or het experiences with us: please do! Just leave me your email at this page and I will email you some questions as soon as possible. Hopefully together we will help new people get over the line!