Anne is now a teetotaler
I was born and raised in the West Country in a small village, spending most of my time working in the local shop by day and then working in the village pub by night. As you can imagine life got pretty boring, I saw the same faces every day and I never felt fulfilled. I lived, worked and went out in the same village; surely there was more to life than this? I thought I was happy; however I found myself drinking a couple of bottles of wine a day out of boredom as I felt my life was not at all exciting. In 2011 I decided to leave the life I knew behind and take a chance with a move to London. It wasn’t easy, but with a little bit of luck and a lot of determination I have been fortunate enough to form a career in the fashion and beauty industry and have gone on to work for some of the leading luxury brands.
In May last year, I decided to make a change. A change that I would never in a million years have thought that I would. I decided that it was time to give up alcohol. This was not my usual ‘no alcohol for a month’ or ‘no alcohol on weeknights‘ detox. This was something else. I had come to realize that I did not have a good relationship with alcohol and that it was time to make a change.
Now before you panic and think that I am about to preach to you all about the reasons why you should give up alcohol, do not! I am not here to judge or list reasons drinking alcohol could ruin your life. My aim is just to share my story with you and some of the ways I have learned to enjoy an alcohol free life.
Like most brits, drinking has always been part of my culture. I had grown up around alcohol-fueled dinner parties, nights spent with the family in our local village pub and small glasses of wine with dinner. To me drinking alcohol was completely normal and something everyone did. By the age of 14, although not drinking regularly when I did drink at parties I would drink a lot more than my friends would. I would get very drunk and black out or drink until I was sick. What seemed to be harmless fun was in fact the beginning of a journey to becoming a problem drinker.
‘Am I a problem drinker?’ I asked this question often. I never believed I was an alcoholic. I did not wake up craving a vodka martini or sneaking brandy in to my morning coffee. I was a fun drunk who maybe occasionally had one too many. Therefore, I carried on going to parties drinking bottles and bottles of Prosecco and decided it was fine, my drinking was under control and I believed that a little party never killed anyone.
Everyone knew me as a fun party girl who loved a drink. People would joke with me and friends would make comments, all birthday cards would reference bottles of Prosecco and cocktails and I was always first to be asked on a night out. I enjoyed being one of the lads who was always up for a laugh.
The truth was it was not funny, I did not love it and I did not want to be the fun party girl. I hated that was what I was known for. I hated that I would wake up not remembering the night before but mostly I just knew it didn’t make me feel good. Still I carried on doing it most weekends.
In May 2018 after a week of parties and binge drinking, I decided enough was enough. I realized my anxiety was overwhelming me and I wasn’t feeling myself. If I carried on this way it would not be pretty and I would have to own the party girl crown with only myself to blame. That day I got online and ordered some books. Books that would later become my bible. Catherine Grey’s The unexpected joy of being sober and Sarah Hepola’s Blackout. These biographies were so relatable to me that they gave me the courage to stop for good.
The first few weeks were better than expected. I was so excited for my new lifestyle that I really enjoyed embracing the new challenge. I went for walks, read books and fully embraced the teetotal lifestyle. I soon came to realize summer was fast approaching there would be parties, holidays, festivals, weddings and I was not quite ready for them. Although my partner was being supportive, I knew that I needed the help of my friends. We were quite a boozy bunch and I did not want to fall at the first hurdle. I sent a text to all friends and family telling them I was giving up alcohol to avoid any encouragement to drink. This was the best move and I received many messages of support, which gave me confidence to go for it.
After a couple of month’s alcohol free, I started to feel a huge shift in myself mentally and physically. I was not longer lethargic and paranoid, my IBS had completely stopped and most of all I was starting to feel in full control of my well-being. I still attended parties, weddings and work drinks just as before. The only difference was instead of drinking bottles and bottles of wine and outstaying my welcome I would enjoy a non-alcoholic alternative and I would leave a lot earlier on without upsetting anyone.
I am now teetotal. Something I never thought possible or to be honest even considered. I feel like a new person and although not fully there yet I am slowly becoming a much healthier, vibrant and happier person. My Inner goddess is finally coming out and I am able to become the best version of myself.