What have I really gained from quitting drinking?

2 minute read

We sober crew are evangelists for giving up booze, harping on about our sparkly faces and superior liver function, but what do those gains really look like and why do we keep banging on about them? 

Unexpected riches

I’d never really considered how much I spent on drinking, it pretty much came under essential expenditure, right up there with having to pay the utility bills! But the app I set to tot up my drink-free days also told me how much I’d saved … which at the time of writing is a princely £30,000! 

ALL the zzzzzzs 

Seems I don’t have insomnia after all! Wine was great for getting to sleep (okay, passing out) but I’d be awake by 4am, dehydrated and nauseous, lying awake worrying about what I’d said in that squabble with my husband, if I’d embarrassed myself, and promising myself, again, that I’d learn to moderate.  Now I can’t get my PJs on fast enough and dive under the duvet knowing that 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep awaits and that I’ll wake up, energised and guilt-free. 

Sh*t still happens 

Big challenges still happen but now I deal with the big stuff rationally, rather than drinking the upset or anger away. And it is so much easier to ride the stress out now I’m not hungover or drunk, I make better decisions, trust my judgement and let things go. 

No more shame

I can still shudder when I think about some of the things I did when I was drinking. Some events, like breaking my neck when I fell in a Venetian canal, are pretty obvious ‘wish I hadn’t done that’ moments, but it’s the memories of being out of control, amnesia, argumentative, and sloppy that sting. Knowing it’s all in the past will never get old. 

A face I know

I hardly recognise myself in my ‘before’ pic – red-faced, baggy-eyed and bloated. Seems I didn’t have Rosacea after all! I used to be so embarrassed about looking like a boozer but thoughts and prayers for the cosmetics industry – I spent £hundreds on trying to hide my shame!

My trousers fit!

I’ve been physically active all my life but even training for triathlons didn’t shift the wine stone I lugged around (I get it now, you can’t out-train a barrel load of sugar). My nickname was Rasputin after the Russian who kept going despite being poisoned, because I’d still complete a race even with the devil’s own hangover. No wonder I found exercise so hard! Now I still take part, I’ll never end up on the podium but love the physical challenges and natural highs they give me, especially as I don’t need to throw up mid-course!

So many gains from giving up drinking – my mental health, my marriage, my friendships.  And the downsides? Not a single one!