“I found that the more truthful and vulnerable I was, the more empowering it was for me”

— Anon

100 Days Without Booze: The First Surprisingly Easy Week

100 Days Without Booze: The First Surprisingly Easy Week

So, Week One sans booze is down and so far so good! I haven’t had a single alcoholic beverage and I feel fantastic!! I have sat at a swanky bar in Brighton and watched various cocktails being poured in front of me whilst I sipped my (very delicious) Virgin Mary. I have socialised with friends two evenings this week and shunned beer and wine in favour of Nanny State Beer and Eisburg non-alcoholic wine. I was able to keep up with the banter and was frequently in fits giggles. Clearly I don’t need booze to have a good time! I have been running, swimming, doing yoga and meditating and my energy levels are well up- I feel full of beans and pretty happy!

Risks to my sobriety

However, feeling energetic and healthy actually poses a pretty high risk for me slipping back into drinking. What normally happens, in my regular drinking life, is that I get drunk at weekends then take a day or two to recover from the hangover (yes, really, I am in my 30s!). Then my immunity is way down from the hangover and I have to step back into the flu-infested swamp that is my workplace and spend mid-week fighting off a cold. By Thursday/Friday I am starting to feel normal again. On Saturday I will go for a big run or do some hot yoga. Afterwards, I feel amazing! My endorphins are sky high! I don’t know what to do with all this energy! I feel bloody epic! I feel so good, in fact, that I want to dress up, drink way too much wine, talk shit, smoke toxic cigarettes, and drink too much whisky, before crashing into bed at some ungodly hour...and then...I feel terrible. And the cycle begins again. I call this the Binge/Purge cycle. And I know this cycle will be familiar to many readers. Come on, we all do it! It’s like we've earned our binge by exercising, and then we punish ourselves for our binge by purging through exercise. We continue on this unhealthy hamster wheel of behaviour because we don’t know any better. Because at least it’s better than just drinking and not exercising at all, right?!

Another risk that I pose to myself, apparently, is becoming too smug about my temporary sobriety. My husband jokingly warned me, after I had explained to my friend the link between drinking alcohol and poor sleep, that I must not become a Jehovah’s witness about not drinking. Apparently I have been preaching too much about the benefits of sobriety. I don’t mean to be a bore! It’s just that I am enjoying researching the effects of alcohol and enjoy sharing my findings with people. But I must stop before I end up going door to door, asking people if they have accepted sobriety into their hearts.

Reactions of friends and family

Just to be clear, my husband has been very supportive of my 100 Day Challenge and I actually believe it will be beneficial to our relationship to have just one of us drinking rather than two. In fact, I have been taken aback by the many kind comments and words of support in the lead up to my sobriety trial. Many female friends have actually confessed that they too would like to stop drinking for a while. Interestingly, the current percentage of women wanting to quit booze is at 43%. Seems that the hangovers just may not be worth it. One comment on social media was less than positive, stating something along the lines of me ‘becoming a bore.’ I scoff at this comment, however, knowing full well that it is nothing to do with me and everything to do with the author of that comment feeling that their own drinking is under threat.

Fellow Challengers

What has been most surprising is that my wonderful, eccentric and ridiculously sociable mother has vowed to join me on this 100 Day Sober Challenge. My mum is the kind of mum who cries, “Darling, quick!” and shoves a fishbowl-sized GnT into your hand the second you walk into her kitchen. However, she has recently been concerned about her balance going and her increased scatty behaviour. I have been encouraging her to cut down on booze for her health but without much expectation that she would. She has done so this week with unprecedented enthusiasm and unrelenting support of my sober mission. Go Big Red!!!! And my fabulous, beloved friend, Natasha, who introduced me to Catherine Gray’s book http://unexpectedjoy.co.uk and started me off down this path in the first place, starts her 100 days Challenge on the 3rd September. As she approaches the start line with trepidation, I have included some sober tools for her, and anyone else interested, below. These have helped me stay focused in my first week of sobriety. If Livs- the-boozehound- Simpson can do it, so can you!

  • Parkrun: Feels great to start the weekend with a 5k run. They are all over the country. You can read about them here.

  • Swimming in Tooting Bec Lido: I never knew how many benefits swimming provides for physical and mental health.  Turns out there are many lidos and outdoor pools all around the UK to enjoy.

  • Meditating: I have started to go to a beginners guided meditation session on a Wednesday evening to Shambala in Clapham Common. . But, for busy people, the Headspace app rocks.

  • Alcohol free Sauvignon Blanc by Eisburg: This stuff is actually really yummy. It had a good placebo effect of making me feel like I was drinking wine, and only costs £3.99! Sold! Here is a great list of top flavoured non-alcoholic drinks, including this brand.

Roll on Week 2 sans booze!

100 Days Without Booze: Keeping Anxiety At Bay

100 Days Without Booze: Keeping Anxiety At Bay