Monday, April 5, 2010

One Year Of Living Without Alcohol

A year ago today I woke up exhausted. I spent the weekend with some friends in Palm Springs and the moment I woke up that morning, I knew that I couldn't live this way anymore.

I was tired of the party. Tired of being tired.  Tired of having a great time, only to feel horrible the day after.  It was time to do something about it.  I decided to live my life without alcohol.  Most of my social interactions with friends involved having glass of wine or a meet up with a cocktail.  It's the stress reliever for the end of a hard day, a toast to celebrate an achievement, the relaxer curled up with a book or bath, a compliment to a nice meal, and the list can go on and on.  Have a bad day? Let's go out for a drink! Did you do something you are proud of? It's celebration time with some champagne!  You get the idea.

When I decided that I had enough, there were always doubts in my head and I am sure there were doubts with some friends that thought I couldn't do it.  The thing I had going for me is that I am pretty competitive so I wanted to "win," so to speak.  I didn't want the doubts to win or the doubters to give me a, "I didn't think you could do it" thought.

As far as roads go, this wasn't an easy one to take.  However, over time it's the best decision I have made.  I've learned a lot over the past year.  I don't talk about it much here since I don't want to bore you with the details and there are much more interesting things to blog about, but I did write about my experience for the first 150 days HERE.

I would have to say that one of the hardest parts about this decision is the social aspect.  People like to come together as a group and have a glass of wine and that is perfectly normal.  I have been the odd one out on many occasions and it's difficult for me because I want everyone to feel comfortable around me and at the same time, I don't want to be a bore to be around.  At first I received a lot of questions and drilling on my decision not to drink.  All I wanted to do was fit in and not be noticed.  This wasn't the case.  At the beginning I drank a lot of sugar free red bull and everyone loved telling me how that was going to kill me, as they sipped their cocktail.

What a difference a year makes.  I am thankful for the opportunity to live this life and feel everything there is to feel. It truly is a wonderful life.

In case you on the fence, here are 11 Benefits of not drinking:
1.) You remember conversations from the night before
2.) Savings of about $5,000 a year or more (alcohol, bar food, aspirin, etc.)
3.) I lost 35 pounds (say good bye to your booze boobs)
4.) You will strengthen your relationship with the people that mean the most to you
5.) You get to go anywhere you want at anytime without thinking, "who's going to drive?"
6.) You will gain a sense of freedom that you never had before
7.) The possibilities in life are endless
8.) You will have meaningful conversations with people and attract the good ones into your life
9.) No regrets and no apologies from when you did something or said something while intoxicated
10.) You will do things you didn't think about doing before
11.) You won't be so tired all of the time

So, it's just me.  The same me. I am still plugging along here in this life and soaking up all of the moments and sharing them here with you.  I look forward to the next adventure.  Thank you for all of your support during my continued journey.  Oh yeah, I picked up my little point and shoot camera and took some pictures in the last few months.  You can see some pictures HERE. I hope you become a fan.

A big thank you for all of my family and friends that supported me on this decision.  Now it's back to dreaming of an airstream life. I look forward to sharing more soon.


Sandi Lessman said...

Alison, your 'one-year coin' shines brighter than most. I can't wait to watch the next years 'developments'... Congrats.

Meredith said...

Hi Alison. Thank you for this beautiful post. It puts so much into perspective. I hope you know how much you inspire other people with your ideas, wisdom and personal commitments. Keep talking and we'll keep listening....


MaryVican said...

Great post! So wonderful to hear you took this step...very inspiring. Isn't it intriguing how many joys come out of the woodwork when you re focus? :)

Summer said...

I think this is wonderful that you have done this. I understand completely the whole social aspect of it. Hopefully the friends that matter don't care what's in your hand.
I recently have made a step in the same direction. I have three young children and I all of a sudden woke up one day and realized that I had been drinking one sometimes two bloody mary's a day to cope with parenthood. I was ashamed and sad at this turn in my life. I still have a drink (1) when I am out on a date with my husband but I no longer drink any alcohol at home and I try really hard to not go past that one drink when I am out at the bar.
I commend you for kicking alcohol out completely. Good for you!!!

Anonymous said...

congrats to you, most people will never figure out what you already know , for me life is so much more with out all the junk alochol brings, its been 25 years

Alison said...

Thank you Sandi, Meredith, MaryVican, Summer and Anonymous. It's been a great year of traveling and exploring with clear eyes! I look forward to sharing more. :)

Melanie said...

Hi Alison

You have totally inspired me, I started my 'dry' year yesterday and my friends are already questioning my motives and wondering why since I don't have problem. I am just curious as to what surprises and insights will arise this year. What I am deathly afraid of is finding out the things that me and my friends have settled for as 'fun' for so many years, may not be so much fun without the added benefit of wine or beer. I am so excited, can't wait to see what happens.

Zach Woods said...

Hey Alison -

In this game you beat a strong fighting team with a very active cheering section!

Hip, Hip, Hoozay for you!


Anonymous said...

Hi Alison: You know, I'm doing exactly the same, trying to live alcohol free for a year. I still have 2 months to go. I'm even writing a book about the experience. I thought I was the only one on this path. It's great to see that someone else went through this too. On April 1st 2011 it will be one year without alcohol.

Greetings from Chile.

Peggy said...

Allison, I don't drink alcohol and most of my friends and family don't either. I would say I probably haven't had a drink in twenty years. My husband has an occasional beer and we go out with people who have cocktails. I always opp for a club soda or lemon water. No one has ever made me feel uncomfortable and I have never felt less social because I don't partake. I don't like alcohol and it has never been an issue with me. It's like someone offering me a soda. I don't like soda either so "no thank you" seems an appropriate response. I left the corporate world at the age of 45 and I know the pressures that you talk about concerning drinking alcoholic beverages. I cannot remember a time that we had special meetings or celebrations in my company where alcohol wasn't presented at some point. I am not saying I didn't have a drink occasionally because I did but I felt just as comfortable saying no thank you or just not going to the bar for a drink as I did having a glass of wine. Maybe someone really gave two hoots that I wasn't drinking but if they did, they never told me so. Anyway, I think you are a very wise young woman and I admire your sense of adventure. I have enjoyed very much reading about your travels. When I was a little girl, I was asked what I was going to be when I grew up. I didn't hesitate for a minute when I replied that I was going to be a traveler. Just make enough money in one place to get me to the next place, see the world, meet new people. I would do what you do but I haven't yet, I hope it is not too late for me. You give me hope. I am a wanna be photographer and my husband got me hooked on that. We want to travel the United States, take pictures and write travel articles. That's our goal. Maybe we will see you on the road some day. Happy travels!

michael said...

Hi Alison,
I found your blog because I have recently gave up alcohol and have just completed 5 mths without it. I had a little push though from a judge after i was arrested for a DUI. I'm 49 years old and have been drinking since college. The drinking had tapered off and most of my drinking was done at dinners or a gatherings with friends. Like you mentioned, I feel like an outsider when everyone else is drinking and I'm not but I'm getting use to it. I cant completely wrap my head around not ever drinking but I know I'm not drinking today or tomorrow and after that, I will worry about it when it gets here. Thanks for the blog, I found it while goggling what do to without alcohol. You give me hope. Thanks Michael

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I'm going to do a year, have drunk only once in the past couple of months and just realised I haven't drunk alcohol so far this year and thought "why not, let's do an alcohol free year!".

Male, mid thirties, Australia... yeah, it's going to be a challenge but I am already seeing some of the benefits you've listed and can't wait to see what else happens. Here's to waking up without a hangover :D

Lori C said...

What an insperational post. I can relate with you , especially the line that you wrote about finding your true friends and people that matter. I have found out over that past few years who my TRUE friends are. My drinking has taken me many places, and at the same times has prevented me from going to many places. I look back frequently at all the time that I have missed LIVING, I cant get that time back, and thats ok. As long as I look to the future with positive eyes, I have so much more LIVING to do, and for that I am grateful..

Anonymous said...

Wow. Love your story. I have grown up around alcoholics and never had a sip of alcohol. It is really hard being the odd man out sometimes...ok...alot of the time. It seems that nobody knows how to celebrate, relax, or just hang out without alcohol being present. I can't help that there are a hundred things id rather be doing then spending time in the bar... I dont need or want to socialize over a drink. Anyways, this gives me hope that someday I will find more people like me. Good luck on your journey!

Anonymous said...

Hi Alison,

I have had to give up alcohol for health reasons and like Michael earlier I found this by googling what on earth to do when one wants to celebrate, commiserate, relax etc etc. I am 47 and have been drinking since university and been struggling a little with 'who I am' without alcohol. I am 2 months in and lost 7 lbs and feeling much much better in myself. Like Michael it is hard to get my head around a teetotal life but this page is an inspiration and cheers to a more fulfilling, interesting, energy filled (alcohol free) life!

Brian Lee said...

that was all awesome pics.. :) singapore travel agency

Arctic North Guides said...

too much alcohol can make someone's life miserable..

Seward Fishing said...

Its been a great guide for new bloggers. This blog help severals bloggers a lot.

Anonymous said...

Found this April 8th 2014. I congratulate you sir, the author. I made the same change for myself as of November 23rd 2012. I can relate to everything you have presented us with. It was a hard road but every step has been worth it. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Oops, omit Sir from that last comment.

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