My journey to becoming alcohol-free and how you can do the same in 2021
It’s been over a year now since I stopped drinking alcohol and I have honestly never felt better in my life.
The habit just sort of creeps up on you. I was a massive wine collector and would proudly brag about having one of the best wine collections in Australia. I would spend hours in my cellar, just tasting, researching and planning out which wines I wanted to get my hands on next.
But after spending the last eight years obsessively avoiding as many pesticides in my food, synthetic chemicals in my skin and bodycare and researching every ingredient on every food and beauty product label, it suddenly hit me…I was still drinking alcohol, and quite a bit of it! I knew right away, it was time for the next step in my wellness journey and that was cutting right back on my alcohol intake.
I finally realised that while I was being incredibly careful about avoiding chemicals and going natural in so many parts of my life, I did enjoy a glass of wine or two, or three (even if it was organic) and that alcohol was most definitely not good for my body or gut health.
It wasn’t that I was drinking that much, I just loved a good glass of red at a restaurant with my hubby or sipping champagne by the pool on the weekends. But these things were all adding up and the lines around my eyes were getting deeper and I was feeling more and more sluggish.
But how could I possibly give up drinking? How could I socialise without alcohol and not feel like I was missing out? In Australia, alcohol is so engrained into so many aspects of our lives. After work drinks on a Friday, cocktails by the pool on Saturday… I mean, we even pre-drink at home before going out to drink some more… as if we just can’t get enough alcohol into us while we’re out!
There was no possible way I was switching to alcohol-free wine. Surely, it couldn’t have the same complexity or taste I pondered. Isn’t it just grape juice? I soon realised just how wrong I was and found that quality, alcohol-free wine was just as pleasurably palatable as it’s alcoholic cousin. The best part was, I wasn’t waking up with a hangover and I didn’t feel like I was getting major FOMO at the family BBQ.
Within a week of my discovery I’d sent my entire wine collection off to auction. I was a convert. I’d realised that I actually hated the way I felt when I drank and I didn’t want to feel like that anymore. I haven’t looked back since. My gut health has improved tremendously, my energy levels are back and I am consuming so many less calories. Yes, don’t even get me started on how many calories are in alcohol!
But best of all, it sparked a passion in me that I’d not felt in a long time. The struggle it was to find decent de-alcoholised wines not to mention the judgement I’d received from shop assistants was the catalyst I needed to start Sans Drinks, an online retailer dedicated to mindful drinking.
I wanted people to know that you can still enjoy a beautiful, crisp white or a full-bodied red, at home or with friends, without the guilt, addiction or social stigma of ‘why aren’t you drinking?’.
So, with the New Year FINALLY upon us, … there’s no doubt that our ‘2021 resolutions’ are top of mind. And always up there with lose weight, is ‘cut back on the booze’. But come Australia Day, it’s just too hard to deny ourselves a crisp, cold beer or a beautiful glass of bubbles. So, we abandon our resolutions and promise to try again next year. But I’m here to tell you that sticking with it, and cutting out or at least, cutting back on your alcohol intake will make a massive difference to your health and wellbeing, it has truly changed my life! So here are my top tips for going booze free(ish) in 2021.
- Switch to alcohol-free beers, wines and spirits. The alternatives available will blow your mind and you won’t feel like you’re missing out at all. For me, this was what made all the difference. I was still able to enjoy a red with dinner or have a yummy cocktail on the weekends, but I knew I wasn’t going to wake up hungover or deal with the aftermath of too many sugary drinks. And you still get such a buzz from drinking non-alcoholic drinks, the flavours and the feel of drinking them is exactly the same, so your brain tricks you into feeling a buzz!
- Do it with a friend. Teaming up with your partner or a friend is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable. Check in with each other frequently and when you can feel yourself slipping, reach out to them! You can go for a cheeky non-alco beer or wine or experiment with mocktail recipes together.
- Change the way you socialise. If the way you socialise is one of the biggest drivers behind your alcohol intake, switch it up while you learn to say no! Swap Friday night drinks for Saturday morning coffee and brunch, or start fancying up your drinks at home by adding limes, lemons or berries to some soda water – yum! If alcohol was a big part of your daily routine, try taking up a new hobby to distract you. You could join a gym, take up a creative hobby such as painting or writing, or even learn a new language – anything that will fill your time and take your focus off of what you might be missing.
Since giving up alcohol, my head is clearer, my skin is looking better than it ever has before, and my gut health has truly improved, and did I mention less calories?? I’m so much more present for my family and my passion for life has been reignited. I challenge you to make the switch in 2021 and experience the difference for yourself.
Originally posted on Women’s Agenda. For the original story, click here.