Going Alcohol Free
I have always been useless at sticking to rules and regulations. I’m the kind of person who will say to myself; “Ok, right I’ll start on Monday. This time I will really stick to it!”, then come Wednesday guess what? It’s all gone out the window! Something I have learnt throughout many years of stop-starting and failing unrealistic goals, is that a change can only really come from you, when you are ready. This is what happened for me when I finally went alcohol free.
Perhaps it’s a generational thing or maybe it’s a cultural one, however, in many social circles, occasions are based around drinking alcohol (amongst other things!) which, of course, can lead to a variety of different issues, binging being one of them. It took me years of having an unhealthy relationship with alcohol before I started to see a pattern that had emerged, one which only really started to concern me when I realised I could’t change it, even when I tried. Occasions blurred with black outs was one of the first warning signs. The dread I had when I woke up the next morning smelling of alcohol (usually an Espresso Martini!), with no recollection of what had actually happened. The worst part of course, was hearing back the course of events from the previous night, which, on many occasions left me feeling mortified. To say the least. Although ultimately, what actually enabled me to stop drinking was knowing the destruction I would cause when in that place/ state of mind (completely out of my mind).
Looking back over the years I don’t think I ever really had a great relationship with alcohol. I have always been an all or nothing kind of gal. Yep, you know the kind! I’m not someone who needs to drink every day –infact I could and can go for long periods without having to have a drink, but, on a social occasion, well, that’s a different story! I would be the one with a drink in hand the WHOLE night. I don’t know what it is, over excitement? social anxiety? -probably a mixture of both, but that was the way I was. Yes, there were plenty of others like me, but each one of us is different, we all react differently and there will always be someone seemingly better or worse. The fact is, thats not the point, it’s about YOU! Not who you compare yourself to. Some of my friends applauded me for my reckless abandonment, but in reality it was clear there was something more troubling going on deep inside me, but did I have the courage to face up to it? Over time it became clear to me, if I wasn’t feeling good about something (even if I didn’t really want to admit it to myself), it would 100% end up coming out after having a few drinks (or more!) and not in the most tactful or dignified of ways. On most occasions I felt great, like being on a massive high (or lulled myself into a false sense of security of believing so), but in the end the low would always come in one way or another. The reality was that alcohol didn’t bring out the best part of me, even though it may have sometimes felt like it did.
One of the biggest difficulties for me in being able to realise this is that disasterous events wouldn’t happen every time I drank, instead it occurred intermittently. Over the years however it became clear this destructive pattern was not going away, even with the best intentions in mind. Each drink was like playing a game of Russian Roulette.
So for me, as time went on and with the more perspective I gained it became harder and harder to deny the issue. When your partner starts to call you by a different name as soon as you have had your first drink its kind of hard to avoid thinking about things with a little more depth. “Alright Shaznay!” he would say. I thought it was funny at first, then it annoyed me, but finally I began to see how alcohol did make me become a different person from who I really was and who I actually wanted to be. My troublesome and mischievous alter ego was no longer serving me anymore, instead it was getting in the way of all the things I wanted to do and achieve. I think once you have this kind of realisation it is much easier to let something like that go. So I let go of my alter ego, I let go of drinking and started to focus on being me, aiming rebuild my true sense of self. Since realising this, I knew this time was different, not just a trial with the usual strategy of shutting myself away, avoiding all social interaction. It was easier to accept and move on. Reintegrate myself as just me and building up the confidence in myself just to be me, comfortably.
So what is the point of this post? I suppose it’s a way of me getting some stuff of my chest (because that always helps!), but also, more importantly to help someone else out there who may relate to me in one way or another. Maybe its not alcohol for you, it could be another vice, food perhaps or other bad habits you have got stuck in a rut with, a relationship you can’t move away from? When you get to the point where you realise its not working for you any longer, that’s when its time to change and at that time, it can be invaluable to have someone to support you. If that’s you, reach out, you don’t have to do it alone. I know I couldn’t have done it without the kind people who have helped me on this bumpy ride.
For now though here is a mocktail to get you started. Which I promise will make you feel far from out of place, on any occasion. I hope you enjoy!
Oh and by the way, it gets easier every day.
To your complete wellness,
Green Tea & Apple Komboucha + Rosemary Fizz
Prep 10 mins
Ferment 48 hours
Makes 1 litre
250ml apple juice
3 rosemary stalks
1 litre of Komboucha (see ‘Komboucha’ blog post for recipe)
-Put all the ingredients into a sterilized jar/ bottle and seal tightly.
-Store at room temperature for 48hours.
-The pressure will build up quickly if it’s warm, so, to avoid an explosion it is recommended to ‘burp’ the bottle daily by removing the lid and releasing the gas. Trust me, this is well worth doing! I have had some horrible explosions happen in the past. Think carrot juice kombucha in white kitchen, enough said.
-Once second fermented the brew can be stored in the fridge. It is best served ice cold with apple & lavender ice cubes. For these, simply pour the apple juice into an ice cube container and sprinkle with lavender flowers then freeze. I like to serve at least five in a glass.
-If you are short on time you can use a shop bought kombucha, just blend all the ingredients together and serve chilled.