I have accidentally given up alcohol. I know that sounds like the most nonsensical statement ever, but it’s true.
In Jan/Feb/Mar this year I did my third (or fourth, can’t remember) Whole Life Challenge. It’s an eight-week ‘game’ heralding from the USA that involves strict rules on exercise, diet, sleep etc. I decided to adhere to the rules strictly this time – in for a penny in for a pound and all that – so alcohol was put on hold.
At the end (12 March) we had a party to celebrate our holier-than-thouness, so I drank 3,619 glasses of red wine and woke up with a morning-after cumulonimbus on my head. It drifted away around tea time. Ever since, I have had a take-it-or-leave it attitude to alcohol, and curiously decided to ‘leave it’ every time.
The South Africa trip was alcohol-free, my birthday came and went alcohol-free, then I had a light bulb moment – if I can do holidays and birthdays without alcohol, then surely I don’t really need it? What value does it actually add to my life? Precisely nothing. I had accidentally given up alcohol. It seems I can now add teetotalism to my list of healthy habits alongside a great diet, lashings of Crossfit and daily Tibetan Rites.
The truth is, if I really dig deep into my psyche (not to be recommended, bring a torch and some disposable gloves), this is a decision that has been bubbling under the surface for a few years. The more aware I’ve become of what I’m eating and how I’m moving, the less compatible alcohol has become. Just like a hardcore clubber wouldn’t make a very alert milkman or a staunch vegetarian a very comfortable butcher, a wine devotee won’t ever achieve peak performance.
If your liver is toiling away detoxing alcoholic ‘poison’ from your cells (and it takes way longer than you think per unit) it’s not paying any attention whatsoever to getting rid of fat cells. Read this – https://www.wholelifechallenge.com/the-hard-truth-about-happy-hour-and-your-health/ – it’s quite sobering (#sorrynotsorry).
Summer is coming, I live on a Mediterranean island, bikinis are de rigueur for six months of the year, and I am sufficiently vain (odd, as I am rubbish at brushing my hair, slapping on make-up or painting my nails) to want to rock a two-piece with confidence. I’m also still on my years-long journey to achieve some lady abs, and I can tell you that more progress has been made in the vino-free weeks than over the many months prior. I might actually get them before I die.
Diet and physique aside, the lack of head-top cumulonimbus is also crucial for me right now. I have had a tricky time recently (see Cute and Cuddly Boys) and mental clarity is a must. I want to make clear decisions, move forward on the right path, realise my potential, feel motivated and find out who I really am. I want to reach towards positivity rather than negativity, and lose the insecurity that can turn people (including me) to alcohol in the first place. In short, I have decided I want to live – “don’t let life happen to you, make your life happen”.
It turns out that three months (12 March excepted) later I DO NOT MISS ONE SINGLE THING ABOUT ALCOHOL. And I am not alone, apparently sober is the new black with young people in particular turning their backs on booze. Who knows, maybe the binge-drinking Brit stereotype will soon be consigned to history.
This last bit sounds a bit vom-inducing, so I will apologise in advance, but there are a few people close to me who I hope will read this and realise that alcohol isn’t the answer for them either – the meaning of life is rarely found at the bottom of a pint glass. I know I have inspired a handful of friends to eat healthily and move more (hell a few of you are even doing the Tibetan Rites each morning – high five!) and I would be deeply touched if these words on alcohol could resonate with others.