Discovering who I am without alcohol.

I am just about to celebrate eleven months alcohol free however its been over two years since I started questioning my relationship with alcohol and the effect it was having on my life. I was never a morning drinker or someone who could not go a single day with out a drink, in fact I would go weeks without touching alcohol at all (Spoken like a true addict). However over the years alcohol had played such a huge part in my life and had molded me in to the person I was now.


I was a fun, lively, outgoing, confident and outrageous person with hundreds of crazy stories to share. The life and soul of the party throughout my teenage years and most of my adult life. I was proud of my party girl persona and thrilled that others found my tales of drunken escapades so entertaining. Or at least this is what I spent many years of my life believing.


Two years ago something changed. I was fed up of people assuming I was always up for a big one. I no longer liked being one of the lads and referred to as the drunk one or the girl who loved to party. When people would introduce me to friends as crazy Anne or share my wild stories with them I would cringe at just how mental some of them were. I wanted to be known for something other than my ability to down copious amounts of Prosecco.


I toyed with the idea of giving up alcohol for over a year before quitting. I would go a couple of weeks alcohol free, believing that I could easily dip in and out of the party lifestyle and be able to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with dinner no problem. Eight times out of ten that worked, I would pop for a drink after work and then go home in time for dinner, or I would enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and leave it there. However there would be two times out of ten where I would pop for work drinks and not come home for dinner or a couple of drinks with dinner would lead to a couple of bottles and insisting on going out partying until three in the morning or inviting people over for an all night rager. The problem was mostly when I drank I would turn in to party girl Anne and all of my other responsibilities would go out of the window.


Just eight months ago I realised that party girl Anne had to go. I wanted something more out of life. I didn’t want weekends to be spent hungover and feeling sorry for myself in bed riddled with anxiety. I wanted to use my weekends to explore London, tap in to my creative side or attend exercise classes. I wanted to grow as a person and not be stuck in this rut anymore. So I made the decision to give up alcohol for good and start to discover who I really was.


For the first couple of months very little changed. The weekends were still spent in the pub with friends the only difference being I ordered a lime and soda instead of a Prosecco. I would carry on attending works drinks and have a lemonade instead of wine. I would go to house parties with my bottle Shloer to hand. Most of these evenings out would be spent answering questions about my decision not to drink, listening to past drunk stories over and over or I would spend the evening trying to prove to everyone that I was still the fun party girl they knew and loved and had not become boring in my sobriety. Was this how I really wanted my sober new life to be? Just as it was before only minus the alcohol? I had not envisioned it to be this way. I thought I would be experiencing new things and doing much more with my time. I had visions of me doing yoga at sunrise and skydiving at weekends. Not at all realistic I know but whatever, that is what I had imagined. It was time for me to mix it up and start to do more of things that I enjoyed.


It was this moment that I came to realise just how much of my life I had wasted partying. I had no real hobbies or interests. I had never been part of a sports team or taken up playing a musical instrument. Despite art running in the family my ability to paint was that of a five year old. I didn’t know how to sew or knit and there was no bloody way I could skydive without shitting a brick. Yes I loved fashion but that was a given really due to the fact I worked for luxury brands. I had no real passion in life. I wanted to find out what it was I was passionate about but had no idea where to start.


That is when I started to write this blog. It enabled me to connect with people, people who had also gone through a similar thing and understood me. Writing this blog was also a great way of reinforcing my decision to give up alcohol and reassure myself that my sobriety was having a great effect on my body and my mental health. I found that in writing I was starting to connect with my feelings and discover deeper underlying reasons for why I drank in the first place. I wanted to share all of my experiences with my readers and help those, who like me, also felt they had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.


In October I joined a local gym as it had a variety of fitness classes available. Surely I would be able to find one i enjoyed? I started attending classes three or four times a week and in just a couple of months started to see significant results in my body and mood. I was exercising and eating well. For the first time in my life I was looking after my body and It was thanking me for it. My sleep had drastically improved. I had much more energy and I felt a lot stronger for it. I discovered a passion for health and fitness and could now use my blog to channel that passion.


In under one year my lifestyle and even parts of my personality have completely changed. I no longer enjoy going to bars or attending parties and much prefer a quiet pamper evening at home. I have swapped cocktail dresses for pyjamas. The outgoing, crazy party girl who would stay out dancing till the early hours of the morning has been replaced with a shy, homebody that cringes at the though of dancing in public. The fake confidence I used to have has gone and I now have to put a lot of effort in to building real confidence back up.


Sometimes I feel completely lost and have absolutely no idea how to navigate this new life. Occasionally I fantasies about having a wild night out and bringing back the crazy party girl. I could go to a festival or on holiday and drink to my hearts content. Maybe I could have just one insane night out with my besties and no one would ever have to know. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever fall off the wagon and drink again. Would I ever just have a glass of wine whist watching the sunset. Deep down I know that this is not something I should even consider. If I was to drink again it could be a complete car crash and I could end up going back to my old ways. Why would I want to throw away all of this hard work for the sake of a night out? But yes I do sometimes wonder what it would be like and Yes I do occasionally think to myself it would be lovely to have a glass of wine right now. There are times when I think to myself ‘I would kill for a bloody glass of Prosecco.’ I doubt these thoughts will ever fully go away. The thing is I am far too proud of where I am now to want to go back to where I was a year ago. I am also intrigued and excited to see where this journey may take me and who I will become.


To quote David Bowie ‘I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.’


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