As I write this blog, giving up drinking alcohol was something I chose to do three years ago today!
From ‘One Year No Beer’ to giving up for good.
As my ‘Wing Woman’ and wonderful friend, Lisa, was going through her cancer treatment, we spoke often about changing our lifestyles and giving up drinking alcohol.
Cancer changes your perspective on life and health was her number one priority. Sadly, I lost my ‘Wing Woman’ four and half years ago. Ironically, I actually drank more after she died than I had in years. I wasn’t an alcoholic. However, I was aware that I drank more frequently than before. I suppose this is quite normal when dealing with grief. However, my conversations with Lisa were on my mind. My health needed to be a priority!
One Year No Beer
‘One Year No Beer‘ was all over social media and people giving up drinking alcohol was increasing. I’d been thinking about what a life with no alcohol would be like, but if I’m honest it also seemed quite daunting. What would my life by like? What would nights out with friends be like? How much would I miss a lovely glass of red wine? Could I do it? Then, I saw a friends post, on Facebook, about how she had done ‘One Year No Beer’. I’d seen this friend a few weeks earlier and distinctly remembered thinking how amazing she looked. I didn’t know at that time that it was because she had stopped drinking.
That was my trigger, upon seeing this Facebook post, I made an instant decision that I was going to do it and start immediately. So, that’s what I did. I poured the last opened bottle of red wine down the sink…and so it began.
There’s Never A Good Time To Give Up Drinking Alcohol
There’s never a good time to stop drinking! There will always be some excuse or event pending to put things off. Luckily for me, I’d totally forgotten that the following weekend, I was going away to the Isle Of Mull, on a leadership weekend. I knew that everyone there would be drinking! However, I’d made my decision to stop drinking and I was damn well sticking to it! As it turned out, I couldn’t have planned it any better!
The Isle Of Mull
As I travelled to the Isle Of Mull, I was thinking about how difficult it was going to be not to drink. There were only two people, on the Leadership weekend, who knew me. They didn’t know if I drank or not, because I knew them through business. So, when I arrived at the beautiful Carsaig House where we were staying, the alcohol was already flowing freely. As someone offered me a glass of wine, I politely refused saying, “No thank you, I don’t drink”. Those words that you never thought you would say!
Fooling My Leadership Buddies
Yes, I was fooling my leadership buddies but technically I wasn’t lying.
Admittedly, there were times, as we sat around the enormous grand dining table sharing stories that I longed for a glass of red. However, I did not falter, and boy am I glad I didn’t!
I actually didn’t tell my new found friends until we were on the ferry on the way home a week later. They were totally shocked, as they assumed that I hadn’t drank for years. In fact, it had actually only been five days when we arrived on the Isle Of Mull.
Psychologically, it helped me so much, because no one tried to get me to have a drink. Nor, were they questioning how difficult I was finding it, so fooling them actually made it easier for me. When I declared the truth that I’d only just stopped drinking, they were all shocked. They admired my strong willpower and determination though.
A Magical Moment
Now for a truly magical moment. Going back to the morning after we had arrived on the Isle Of Mull, which is one of the most beautiful and serene places on the planet, I woke up at 5.00am. I didn’t know that what was to follow would be one of the most pivotal moments of my life.
Awakening hang-over free, I decided to go for an early morning walk. The manor house was surrounded by never ending fields of beauty and hundreds of deer. As I set off through the fields to walk the one kilometre to the beach, I had an experience that changed my life forever.
Imagine, for a second, the stillness and sense of peace that I felt. It’s often difficult for me to be totally in the moment but that’s how I was. My mind was completely free from thoughts, worries or stress. I was totally at one with the world around me, which is why I was stunned to come face-to-face with a stag!
As I stood there staring right at him, I never worried that there was only three or four feet between us. He was as startled as I. I never felt scared but I wasn’t going to take my eyes from his gaze or turn away. I instinctively knew not to do that. Instead, I stood looking directly into the dark eyes of this beautiful creature. Repeatedly, in my head, I kept saying, “Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’m not going to hurt you”. I don’t know whether he could sense that he wasn’t in any danger, but I believe he could. After a few moments that actually felt like an eternity, he eloquently bowed his magnificent head, turned and ran away.
Later I was told, by the Estate Manager of the manor, when a stag bows his head like that, it’s a mark of respect. Can you imagine how honoured and humbled I felt? I know he’s not really ‘My Stag’, but that’s how I always think of him.
Life Changing Experience
That really was a life changing experience for me!
You see, I’m always trying to push myself with everything I do. A fear of failure and desire to succeed means that I’m constantly putting enormous pressure on myself. I’m up at 5.00am every morning. Like many business owners, I work extremely hard and life is always busy. So, for me to be so in the moment that I got to experience a magical moment like that is something I will always cherish.
These days, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, as we all do sometimes, I remember that moment, embody those peaceful feelings and remind myself to be in the here an now! It brings me a great sense of peace and tranquillity. That fleeting magical moment that I’ll never forget.
I know, though, that had I been drinking alcohol the night before, I would never have woken up and gone for that early morning walk. Given the choice between wine and ‘My Stag’, I’d take the moment with ‘My Stag’ any day!
The point is that sometimes, we just don’t know what we’re missing out on, do we!?
Giving Up Drinking Alcohol Taught Me…
Giving up drinking alcohol taught me some wonderful lessons.
My learnings just keep on giving:
I don’t miss hangovers in the slightest.
Just because something is the ‘norm’ and socially acceptable doesn’t mean it has to be my ‘norm’!
I feel better than I have for years!
It’s so much easier to get up at 5.00am to run my BoB Clubs North West Networking groups. My Better Networking training is always delivered with super energy.
When I encountered, ‘My Stag’, I never thought to grab by phone and take a photo or to video it! I didn’t need to, I’d remember that moment forever. I do still take lots of photos. However, I leaned that I can be in the moment and just enjoy it!
Learning that your mind and body impacts your business is one thing but truly knowing and embracing it is so impactful!
Making the decision to give up drinking for a year was one of the best decisions I ever made. At the end of that year, choosing to continue and valuing how great I felt was even better.
Choosing change brings formidable focus, massive motivation, daring determination and actual action!
I know I can do anything if I put my mind to it!
Life brings us magical moments when we least expect them!
As with many things in life, business and personal aspects of our lives intertwine, and that’s okay. After all, we’re all human!
Very Best Wishes,
*Remember if you need clarity and focus with your networking, I’m your lady. Pop over to my ‘free for you’ section for podcasts, blogs and radio interviews. To find out more about my networking and communications training, it’s all here on this website.