I was the consummate party girl for 20 years before I finally realized that alcohol was taking more than it was giving. I quit drinking two and a half years ago at the age of 35 and have never felt happier, more confident, or as in control of my own destiny than I do now that I'm sober.
Here are just a few of the reasons why life is better when it's alcohol-free:
1. Your health gets better. Becoming a non-drinker reduces your chances of developing a plethora of alcohol-related illnesses, from various cancers to liver and heart disease.
2. Your looks improve. Alcohol is responsible for puffiness in the face, sunken eyes, premature aging of the skin, and a dull complexion. Becoming a non-drinker will result in healthier looking skin and brighter eyes.
3. It's easier to maintain the weight you want. One bottle of wine has as many as 700 calories, more than a Big Mac! Plus, when you give up wine, you’re more likely to exercise if your weekends aren’t taken over by hangovers.
4. You have more time to get stuff done. If you regularly crack open a bottle of wine after dinner and have a few glasses during the course of the evening, you'll be down approximately 30 hours every week on time to GET STUFF DONE! That’s time to organize the kids for school the next day, time to blast the housework, or time to read, study or develop a hobby or skill. A boozy lifestyle equals non-productive evenings.
4b. You can even finish a book. I've always tried to write a book, but never finished more than a few chapters, when I'd inevitably hit the wine. Now, as a non-drinker, I've just had my first book published, The Sober Revolution, co-written with Sarah Turner, and am already partway through writing the next.
5. You have more patience. As someone who drank almost every night, and often to excess, I was less than patient as a parent to my eldest daughter. Now the mother of a second little girl, my parenting skills have grown massively and I always know I'm doing my best as a mum.
6. You find out who you really are. Alcohol has such a powerful effect on the body and mind that it’s impossible to find out who you are when you’re regularly getting sloshed. It's only with living alcohol-free that true self-discovery becomes a possibility. By learning to know yourself better, you have a fighting chance of finding out what you want from life, as well as all that you're capable of achieving.
7. You feel good about your life. When you're permanently sober, your choices are always your own; alcohol-free living means never waking up again crippled with regret and shame. And that is priceless.
After breaking free from the alcohol trap, I desperately wanted to help others see how much better life is without the constant negative cycle of drinking to excess, bad hangovers, and mornings filled with regrets. That’s why I set up Soberistas.com, a website which brings together a totally non-judgmental community of like-minded people who've either kicked the booze or who are looking for help in doing so.