17 Ways My Life Has Changed Since I Quit Drinking
Updated: Dec 7, 2018
While I do appreciate a good quote from time to time, I believe to really get people motivated to live a better & healthier life is through example. It’s ultimately more important to show people through circumstance and experience just how much better life can be when you live alcohol free.
Whether you think you may have an issue with it, or you’re just not into wasting your weekend away with a hangover anymore, I feel as though everyone could benefit from some time off the sauce. My time just happens to be the rest of my life.
So far, I am 264 days alcohol free. Here are 17 ways my life has changed since I quit drinking (in no particular order):
Sleep – While alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, the quality of your sleep completely suffers. It totally fucks with your restorative sleep & blocks REM. I used to wake up feeling drained, groggy and grouchy, even if I’d had 8 + hours. Nowadays, I can fully rely on getting a proper night’s sleep. Yes, I still don’t quite get enough, but the quality has improved drastically. I have a boost in mental clarity and my energy levels have increased substantially during the day.
Energy – To continue the above point - Alcohol is an energy vampire. It sucks the life right out of you. It gets harder to bounce back from anything as you get older, let alone a night of drinking. These days, I like to get up early, like really early. It’s my fav. It’s my quiet time before the rest of the world wakes up. I can work out, meditate and start my day off with more energy than I had in my twenties.
Money – Umm, ya. Holy shit. This is a big one. If you’re up for it, I challenge you to calculate monthly what you spend on alcohol and its accomplices (ie. Cabs/Ubers, late night snacks, hangover cures, lost sunglasses/keys/purses, etc). There’s that trip you’ve always wanted to take, but never could afford.
Intuition/Gut - I’m not totally sure how to explain this one…I’ve always had pretty strong intuition about people and situations. I’ve always had a strong sense of what was wrong and what was right for me. Did I always follow it? Umm, no. But, I always knew deep down. Now that I’m not numbing myself anymore, my radar is on high alert, and it’s working overtime.
Confidence – I drank to feel more confident. There, I said it. Am I the only women on the planet to use alcohol as this type of crutch? HELL NO. That’s why so many of us drink. To fit in, to give ourselves that little edge, that kick. Well, it was a nasty trick because I didn’t get more confident at all when I drank. I got more obnoxious, big mouthed...loathing. Now that I don’t drink, I am placed in social situations all the time where it’s just me. No “magic” liquid to hide behind. And that’s made me grow THE FUCK up. The confidence I’ve gained just learning who I am without needing a substance is in itself one of the greatest gifts of not drinking. I have learnt so much about myself in these short 9 months than I have in 36 years on this planet. And that’s pretty fucking rad.
Health/Body Image – This ties in with the above, and is a game changer. I am so strong now, and getting stronger by the day. I surround myself with tough women physically & mentally who challenge me all the time. I used to be so ashamed of my body. I didn’t want to be seen naked for fear of this or that. FUCK THAT. Bye! I feel so good, I feel so strong, I feel sexy. I am not afraid to show what an athletic, healthy body looks like, and not going to apologize for it either.
Routine – Structure is what has helped me keep on track since I quit drinking. I have a daily routine that I’m not interested in having disrupted. When I was drinking, you couldn’t pay me a million dollars to get up before 8am for anything besides work. And even that was pushing it. This new, refreshed version of myself is up almost daily at 5:30am to work out with other rockstar babes. Then I meditate and get ready for my day. I dry brush. I cold shower. I make a smoothie and and XL coffee. I take my sweet ass time. Not to say that you have to do a full 180 and wake up at the crack of dawn and add all these things to your daily routine. This is what works for me at this time in my life, and it’s been built on and built on slowly over months.
Putting Myself First - What’s funny is my whole adult life, I’ve bent over backwards for men. I’ve put their lives, wants, dreams, goals, whatever, ahead of mine. This is the first time where I’ve put my life and needs ahead of a man’s. Not to say it’s ‘my way or the highway’, that’s not healthy either, but I’m finally ready to have adult conversations and listen and trust that the next person I am with will have my best interests at heart, and give their full support for this newly sober life I lead.
Goals – In 35 years, I haven’t written down any goals. I’ve tried, sure. But totally half-assed. Like pretending to do your homework when you know full well you’re cheating off someone else. 2 months into my sobriety, I began to write down some goals. And I was excited to do it. Every word I wrote down in my journal I meant. That felt ah-mazing. I start small, like weekly goals. And have since expanded to yearly ones. This also has helped me gain & maintain structure in my life.
Vibrancy– I’m glowing. Like literally glowing. And full of electric energies. I walk into a room now and I can feel everything. It may be overwhelming at first, but as you reconnect with yourself, it gets a little less scary and a little more exciting.
Lust for life– I may not be happy every morning. I may want to throw my alarm clock across the room at 5:30am. But I’m not hungover. I’m not one-eyeing my phone to see who I drunk texted or called the night before. I’m not peeling my face off my pillow just so I can pass out on the couch. I’m ALIVE. I look for adventure on my own or with a friend. And sometimes it scares the shit out of me, but at least I’m living and experiencing life and not shutting myself away from the world like I used to.
Intentions – This has always been a tough one for me. I may not have always set out in life with the best intentions. I have done some shady shit. All while under the influence. And with that comes taking responsibility for your actions. When you drink, you can always blame the alcohol. It may be a brutal excuse, but it’s an excuse nonetheless. Now, well, I have no excuse. My actions are my actions. So I’d better be setting out to do things with the best intention at heart, or what’s the point? If it's not authentic, it’s just a waste of time.
Motivation – My level of motivation in life has increased dramatically. When you’re hungover, not one ounce of you wants to rise up at 6am and go to the gym, or even work for that matter. The number one concern on your mind is relief. Relief from the headache, the dry mouth, the nausea, the regret. I’ve got new found fascination for life. I feel like I have a purpose. I was motivated to start Vivivy to share my experiences with women in hopes to help them overcome their struggles too. None of this obviously would have been possible had I kept on drinking.
Skin – Say “see ya!” to that blotchy red/swollen face. Trying to avoid a mirror in the morning was a regular occurrence for me, at least until I splashed some cold water on my face. Now, I love the way I look. I look present. My eyes are clear and my skin is actually glowing. More aspects have added to this (actually washing my face before I go to bed at night, getting a proper sleep, daily cups of bone broth, skin routines and moisturizing the shit out of it) but you get the idea.
Diet – After bar snacks : A regular go-to for most. And for most, it looks like drive-thru or pizza or gas station garbage. Ughhhhh. Not only that, you wake up craving anything that will get rid of the hangover – greasy breakfast (or lunch or dinner depending on when you get up), drive thru (again), leftover pizza. Let’s be honest, your diet goes to shit. These days, my diet consists of healthy food options and slowly weaning out dairy and gluten. It’s actually crazy how different my body looks and feels now that my intake is healthy rather than processed garbage.
Relationships – Ah, this is a big one. And can be quite tricky. Many of my friends and I grew up together in the bar industry. We were in our early twenties when we started, and over a decade all worked, lived, dated and partied together. Slowly, some of them made their way out into the "real world", but I was a late bloomer. I stuck around the bar industry for longer than most. Not because I liked it especially, mostly because I really had no direction in life. Many of the “friendships” I acquired along the way were purely in the moment, and based upon partying. Not to say they weren’t good people, I just think we all were a little lost. Over the past 9 months of living alcohol-free, I have had to slowly remove some people. And that’s OK. Because I have gained many more. When you share your story, something amazing happens. You connect with people, real true people who are on the same type of journey to better themselves as you are. And those are the people you want around you. They’ll be the ones to motivate you, open up your horizons, and those that you can trust to share your experiences with.
Guidance for Others – I’d like end on this note because I feel as though it’s the biggest gift I’ve received from all of this. You may be looking to quit something in your life that isn’t serving you (alcohol, drugs, a job, a relationship). And in that moment, you may feel scared and sad and so worried about the changes that will come to your life when that happens. But, please believe and trust your gut and know that although it may be scary in the moment, the outcome far outweighs staying stuck where you are. And I’m a prime example of that. For years I knew that my drinking wasn’t serving me, but for years I ignored it because I was too scared to change. The life I led was all I knew. It took quite some time to fully give up alcohol and other things that weren’t serving a real true purpose in my life, and ya, the first little bit sucked. And was so hard. But now I am free, and happy. I’m not chained to a life that was slowly eating away at my soul. I want to be an example for others that it is possible to change, and it is possible to start living a life without guilt or shame. Of course, I definitely have bad days, and stressful days, and anxiety likes to creep back in from time to time, but man, all of that is so much easier to deal with with a clear head, heart and purpose. xo K