No Beers, Who Cares?
I had a few drinks over Christmas. It was the first time I had had alcohol in over a year and let me tell you, it's a major shock for your body to suddenly start ingesting ethanol once again.
And, although it was a small amount I was surprised at the huge effects it had on me. I woke up on Boxing Day morning at 6am heading straight into the day with my old friend panic attack. Oh hey! You son of a bitch, thanks for the cold sweats, the irregular, insanely fast heart rate and my favourite - the inability to breathe. It was crap, and I felt like crap. I stuck to my 0% alcohol beers over New Years but, it was too late. It wasn't all down to alcohol but if you read my 'Anxiety Circus' post you'll know that the whole of the holidays was a complete blow out for me. I just sat in one spot for most of it, panicking over everything and nothing all at once. Like I said to someone else last night, it's a fuck of a thing to live with. He even asked me how I manage to work when I feel like this, I had never really thought about it but, a lot of the time I do struggle, really hard - with simple things like sending an email for godsake. I've been in meetings attempting to meditate, I've used EFT methods and even disappeared to the toilet to get out of meetings for a minute of two. I'm not saying this happens every day but it happens maybe once a week? I think if I didn't have it marginally under control, I wouldn't be able to do the job I'm doing. I question my ability often. But, I'm a stubborn bitch, a workaholic and a perfectionist so, I have to be vigilant and I have to be on my game to survive in the stressful environment I work in and that means doing extraordinary things...
Over Christmas I spotted something interesting on my Facebook feed. The lovely Claire Robbie was thinking of setting up a group for like-minded people to take a year off alcohol. I was intrigued, especially as she was about to attempt such a thing in NZ, where we're soaked in the stuff (not unlike Scotland really). How was this going to work? Would anyone care? Would anyone even join? (apart from me?). This was a brave and bold move. I knew before she'd even confirmed it that I would join in. So I signed up almost immediately after the group was set up.
I watched. I watched as the numbers went up and up. From 8 members to 35 to almost 70. And, although there is a 3 month option I was blown away by the fact that mostly everyone had signed up for the year.
Over the year that I gave up, I felt a tide turning. I felt like a lot of people were looking at their drinking and the influence our environment has on us. In NZ, it ain't healthy. I also cannot recommend abstinence enough if you struggle with your mental health, it's a depressant and it will never, ever make you feel good, even if you think it does. I also challenge the idea that being sober makes you boring. It does not. I challenge that not drinking takes all the fun out of life. It does not. I challenge the fact that it's relaxing and rewarding - think about it, it's not.
Ok, I'll get off my soap box, that's not what I want to be doing or writing about. I want to write about what I'm excited about. I'm excited that so many are on board. I'm excited that I'm on board. I'm excited that we all have different reasons for joining No Beers, who cares? I'm excited that I have a group to take this journey with and that there will never be that feeling of being the 'odd one out' anymore. Although, I've secretly revelled in being the freak that doesn't drink, it felt almost like a superpower a lot of the time. Especially when others couldn't fathom my commitment to it. It makes me feel GOOD, imagine that?
I've met this group of people already, I love them already. Walking into a bar to have a mocktail and meet new people was terrifying. I could sense when I walked in we were all a bit stunned and overwhelmed but, we've got each other and we're going to have fun, so much fun - completely sober.
Since my 'imbalance' over the holidays I knew I had to open my toolbox again. In it, I have yoga, meditation, music, exercise and a myriad of other things including abstinence. I'm happy to do it again, I welcome it, I enjoy it and my brain and body love me right back for it. So I'm in for No Beers, Who Cares....Can't wait to see what I get out of it, what connections I'll make and what new things I'll do without a beer in sight.
No Beers, Who Cares? is an initiative run my Claire Robbie and all proceeds will be donated to The Kindness Institute