It has been over one month since I last drank any alcohol. At that time I drank some red wine over dinner on a date night with my husband.
The last time I felt drunk was at my sister’s wedding in February, when I drank wine and bubbles without eating enough food- and had the most possible hangover the next day that I vowed that really, that would be my last time allowing myself to feel that way.
These sporadic occasions of drinking some glasses of wine are very different from the former version of me. The old me used to drink every night. I’d get home from my job and pour myself a glass of wine on good days, or a vodka and soda with lime on bad ones. Weekends would be booze-fuelled from the time I finished work on Friday afternoon until I crashed on Sunday night.
Going out for drinks with friends was what I did; it was like my past-time. In order to belong, I had to drink, and I enjoyed it and how it made me feel. I didn’t mind being inside a smoky bar until early in the morning, because it was fun. The hangover I’d inevitably get the next day- not so much.
For someone who used to love drinking alcohol so much, you would never know that I was also someone who suffered extremely bad hangovers. I would end up, nine times out of ten, with a raging hangover that would involve vomiting and migraine headaches that would last for days. But still I drank- a lot.
It was what I did, was how I identified myself as being, was what I had always done, to quell my busy mind, to fill my time, to relax and de-stress and blot out the pain of whatever I was going through on any particular day.
But that was then.
There are a lot of close friends in my life who will know me as the party girl who likes to drink. But there would now be a new group of friends who would find that side of me from my past, quite hard to believe.
These days, I’m just not interested in drinking. I’m not saying that I have pledged a vow of sobriety- I will still enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with dinner if I am in the mood on a special occasion, or have a cocktail during happy hour while on holidays- but the daily desire for a drop just isn’t there anymore. The need to get drunk- that feeling has completely disappeared.
So what changed things for me? When I stop and think about how I went from the old me to the new me, I can note a few keys that apply to all situations whether it is changing your eating habits, exercising more, or changing a negative aspect of your lifestyle.
I can tell you now that this new version of me did not happen overnight. It has taken me years to transition to the stage I am at now- and not all of it was something I consciously decided. I started looking after myself more in response to some health issues and major life changes in 2009, then I fell into raw veganism quite by accident in 2010, which then lead me to wanting to learn more about healthy living, diet and nutrition. In all that time, I still loved to party. It was only when I started studying to be a health coach in 2012 that things started to shift for me. Which leads me to my next point…
Find New Interests
When I started studying at IIN, I needed a clear head and more time to study my course. As I started to immerse myself in my education, I also started to diversify my interests. The more I learned about health and wellness, the less I was interested in treating my body badly by getting drunk on a Tuesday for Ladies Night, then again on Wednesday night for Pub Quiz , and of course on Thursday when all my friends met up for pre-weekend drinks.
That lifestyle just wasn’t congruent with what I was learning about and who I now wanted to be. By the end of 2012 I had well and truly scaled back on the amount of partying I did. I was also looking a feeling fantastic by this point, having lost weight and started up new healthy habits that included regular gym going, meditation and healthy eating. I had more natural confidence and authentic inner worth than I had ever felt from getting drunk, and this new feeling gave me a buzz and new found joy in life that fueled my fire.
Make New Friends
Around this time, I also started to make a new circle of friends. Some of this was because many existing friends had left Jakarta (this seems to happen a lot when you are an expat) and I needed to fill their void. I became a lot more conscious in the new friendships I made. I knew by now that I was traversing a new path to my life, where I felt good about myself rather than not realizing my own self-worth (and thus needing to drink myself to oblivion to feel better).
I wanted to have friends who understood this new side of me.
I still have some very dear friends who I adore who have been with me through all of these transitions, but I know they haven’t fully understood the changes in me. They would tease me about my new healthy eating habits, or still push me to go out drinking with them on the weekend (not just for a drink or two, but for a lot and until very late at night- something I no longer felt aligned with doing). There were a few friends who I had to leave out of my new life- something that is very hard to do, but sometimes necessary.
So I actively sought out people who I thought better fit in with my new values and beliefs. This wasn’t- and still isn’t- easy to do, but I have also learnt that having a few dear friends who understand me is better than a having a lot of friends who don’t.
Having healthy relationships is an integral soul food to overall well-being, so I feel that surrounding yourself with friends who love and respect you for who you are- and who you are also becoming and growing into – is super important to being successful in living a healthy and wholesome life.
Find New Interests
The other soul food which I believe we need to regularly nourish is rest and relaxation. My old method of relaxing- by drinking half a bottle of wine- obviously didn’t fit any more into my newly chosen lifestyle.
These days my self care involves massages, facials, mani-pedis and other indulgences that end up costing the same as a bottle of wine or a few cocktails use to.
Finding a slew of non-boozy and wholesome ways to rest and relax has made living and enjoying my life now really quite easy. I manage to fill my time these days without any wine, but I feel one hundred percent contented and satisfied by getting into the kitchen and whipping up something yummy and fun, reading a book, lazing with my husband to indulge in a new TV series, going diving, editing photos, learning about something new (crystals, essential oils, yoga, and tarot have all been mini-interests of mine these last couple of years).
I’ve also found that I can immerse myself in my business for hours on-end, and will happily spend a Saturday writing and planning and doing business related stuff in my free time, because I just love it.
Find the things you love to do that light you up and make you feel fulfilled, that are creative and enjoyable and keep your mind busy and engaged. When you have those things to look forward to doing, your want to feel your best while doing them- making the decision to stay in on a Friday night as opposed to going out drinking- that much easier.
Have a clear purpose
Having a reason to want to change is also really important. Back in 2009 when I started on this path, my initial purpose for eating better and starting to do more exercise was because I wanted to lose weight. Once I did that, it became about wanting to be a great health coach, which meant being coached myself and following through on what I was teaching my clients to also do so I could be as authentic as possible.
These days my higher purpose to staying on track is wanting to prepare myself for pregnancy. My husband and I want to start a family, and I know that I need my body to be in the best, healthiest state possible so I can provide a cozy nest for a healthy baby to thrive.
Having a clear goal and purpose makes difficult changes so much easier to tap into and to follow.
I really do think that it is possible to change your life for the better if you really want to grow into being a better person. It takes courage and strength to overcome your own doubts and fears as well as the resistance and challenges that come from other people in your life.
This path is not always an easy one to follow, especially when living on purpose is so different to how you and your loved ones are familiar with you living.
- Just know that if I can do it, then your certainly can. Let me know what you think of these tips and I’d love to hear your feedback!
Also keep your eyes peeled to your inbox later this week when I will be announcing the opening up of memberships into my new group coaching program called Get Healthy, Happy & Sexy where I will help you to change your life for the better week-by-week for 12 weeks. I can’t wait to share it with you!