There are some improvements in my life that are directly related to the lack of alcohol. But, putting down the bottle tends to only be the start of the transformation.

I spent a copious amount of time trying to figure out WHY I was drinking in the first place. This lead to some serious “navel gazing”.

Drinking, of course, is only the symptom. Other “symptoms’ can include over-eating, over-spending, procrastination, and over-work. Anything that we use to try and fill that empty hole of discontent.

I could only start to fill that hole, when I figured out that the ‘cure’ comes from within.  I (and you) cannot find happiness through consumption. Any kind of consumption.

Here are my next twenty improvements:

#21 My Liver Regenerated

I have no idea when the regeneration was complete, but i do know that this miraculous organ started it’s repair process almost the moment I stopped drinking. I have now reduced my risk (substantially) from liver disease. Other women are not so lucky. Stats worldwide show that liver disease among women – even young women – has increased about 400%.

#22 I am a Better Business Partner

I actively participate in our small business and add value. I show up. I do what I say I am going to do.

#23 I get my hair cut and coloured regularly

Before, I didn’t care. I let my highlights grow out. I preferred to spend money on wine. Now, I DO care.

#24 I De- Cluttered my house.

We didn’t live in squalor, but we did live in clutter. De-cluttering did two things: first, it was a strategy to distract myself from wine cravings. Secondly, I found that a calm ordered environment contributed to a calm, ordered mind.

#25 I Meditate.

i used to scoff at “hippie, tree hugger” activities. I started meditating in desperation, to shut off the constant noise in my mind. It works! But I have to work at it. I started off, and still find guided meditations a lot easier. If I try one on my own, my mind still wanders to my grocery list.

#26 I laugh More.

i hadn’t realized that I didn’t laugh much any more. Laughing is so good for us. I do see the funny side of situations now, and take myself a lot less seriously.

#27 I Sweat less.

This was becoming a problem. Add out-of -control hormones ( I am “that” age) with copious amounts of alcohol, and the result is nights of being drenched in smelly sweat. FAR LESS sweating now.

#28 I have less tolerance for toxic people.

Because I am no longer indulging in drama and gossip, I am less inclined to spend time with people who do. I just stopped hanging out with them

#29 I am far more Curious.

i always wanted to be one of those people who had a “passion” for something. Turns out that “passions” don’t fall in your lap while you are mindlessly consuming TV and wine. Passions start with curiosity.

#30 I am less Judgmental

Because, really? What makes me the judge? If i find that I’m getting all “judgy”, it’s usually about something that I am feeling awkward about. Weird how that works. (read Brene Brown for more info)

#31 I Lie Less

I was becoming a serial liar. Not just about booze, about everything. I can’t really say why, just that I wanted people to think better of me that I did. And one lie leads to another. And then another. And then it’s a way of life until you stop. Now, I don’st NEED to be dishonest.

#32. I Consume Less of Everything

Buying stuff and eating stuff and mindlessly watching stuff doesn’t lead to happiness. I am more “mindful”. I buy what we need. I delight in re-purposing items, recycling and growing stuff.

#33 I Value My Parents.

I always valued my parents, but now I am less inward looking, I make the effort to appreciate them.

#34. I have learned the difference between self-care and self -indulgence.

This is a bog one. Wine was self-indulgence, but I classed it as ‘self-care” because it “took the edge off”. Self Care is doing all those things that prevent the “edge” in the first place. THESE are essential and stretch far beyond lovely spa days and scented candles (although there is a place for these things too!)

#35 I work at My Relationships.

Sounds a bit old-fashioned, but I (think) am a better wife and partner. I don’t wait to be ‘rescued”. I know that I am an equal partner, and that entails an equal amount of work and reward.

#36 I am more Organized.

I used to value spontaneity. And I still do, but I am the type of person who functions better with a list. I embrace that now. And surprisingly, it leads to far more freedom. Spontaneity is not fun if you are feeling guilty.

#37 I am less bloated and Puffy.

This happened almost immediately. Alcohol dehydrates the body. So your poor old bod tries to hang on to all the water it can. leading to bloating. Now there is no alcohol and lost more water – i rarely feel bloated, and my face is less puffy.

#38. I Exercise More

Not the desperate all-in at the gym for three weeks and then nothing I exercise everyday because I want to. It’s much more pleasant without a hangover, and I’ve come to appreciate that exercise is not just for weight-loss. It’s for all over health, including mental health.

#39. I am more engaged, politically.

Not the sensational bullshit, but local stuff. I am more aware of local issues that affect our environment and economy. i make the effort to vote.

#40. I am not complacent about my sobriety

I know that I am a flawed human being. I keep in mind the work it took to get here, and I keep the sober toolbox close, in case i ever need it.

There you have it. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 3 here.

Part 4 here and Part 5 here

Love, Jackie xx

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