Remember that post I wrote about resistance? Oh boy, did I feel it while I was trying to write this post. I was so tempted to hide it away, leave it unsaid, just move on…
But more than that, I wanted to reach out to anyone who might be struggling with the same battles and demons. This is for you, angel-face. You are loved, and you are not alone.
100 Days Without A Drink

How It All Began

When I discovered, at age 16, that alcohol could magically transform me from shy and introverted to confident and outgoing, I fell in love with the stuff. Never mind that it regularly kicked my ass, made me do and say stupid things, and stole my self-worth. For most of the time (okay, at least half the time), it made me feel glamorous, fun and hilarious. Before I’d even turned 18 I couldn’t imagine a social life without it.

There was just one teensy little problem. My ‘off’ switch doesn’t work. I’ve never felt ill while drinking, or thrown up, so there was never a point in the night that signalled I should stop. Well, besides slurred speech and errors in judgement, of course, but nothing that was awful enough to make me immediately put down the glass. While I was drinking I always felt like I was having the time of my life, so I did what any party girl would do – I kept going. The next morning I always felt like death warmed up but I shrugged it off.

Oh well, what’s the big deal? Everyone in Australia binge drinks. It’s just a bit of fun.

Until, of course, it isn’t.

Really this whole nonsense should’ve stopped in my 20s. In an ideal world I would have woken up on my 30th birthday and thought ‘Wow, that was a blast but I’m so glad I’m mature and sophisticated now. I’m excited to see what comes next, and am so relieved that I can just enjoy a single glass of icy cold Sauvignon Blanc at a dinner party and leave it at that.’

But no. It carried on wayyyy too far into my 30s.

I always drank more than I meant to. That first sip was oh-so seductive. If I was out with friends, it made the night feel more exciting. If I was at home, I loved the way it made my worries just melt away. It felt utterly delicious and I didn’t want it to stop.

Another glass, please! Keep ’em coming!

Deep down I knew it was a problem but, like so many friends I see white-knuckling their way through ‘Dry July’ in my Facebook feed, I was scared to think about what that might mean. There’s no way I could give up booze forever. It would be like every day was a weekday! I’d never have any fun. I’d be forever missing out. No-one would ever invite me anywhere. How would I live?

So I tried the set-number-of-drinks rule. I tried the drinking-water-every-other-drink rule. I tried the only-drinking-on-Fridays rule. And they all worked. For a while.

But every few weeks or so I’d end up drinking that one wine too many and not remember the trip home. And the more I tried to focus on not drinking, the more it happened.

I’d spend the next day in a downward spiral of anxiety, shame, and nausea. I’d argue with my love. I’d feel cranky and frustrated that I couldn’t drink like ‘normal’ people in their 30s. And then I’d sob. Heartbreaking, racking tears of sadness for getting myself stuck in this mess. I was supposed to be a Health Coach! Why couldn’t I control this thing? I felt sick with fear at what it would mean if I had to stop drinking completely.

I was afraid that I’d never have – or be – fun, ever again.

How had it come to this? How had I trapped myself in this ridiculous pattern? I know alcohol is used a social lubricant, but when had it become such a self-esteem crutch for me? How is it I couldn’t even imagine a joy-filled existence without alcohol?

The Breaking Point

One day one of my beautiful clients confided that she drank to make herself feel less lonely, and to my sheer horror I heard myself say “That’s okay.”

I felt sick the second the words left my lips, because I know in my heart that it’s not okay. It’s never okay to use alcohol (or food or drugs) to numb ourselves or avoid what’s really going on in our lives.

I felt disgusted with myself. I owed my clients more than that and most of all, I owed it to myself. In that moment, I vowed to be a better example and sort this shizzle out for once and for all.

Why on earth was I self-sabotaging, anyway? I was this close to living my dream life, with a career I was so passionate about and with the love-of-my-life by my side. Was I really choosing wine over happiness? Vodka over vitality? Tequila over tranquility?

I had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t merely coincidence that my best writing sessions of the week just happened to fall on the day furthest from my last drink. All writers drink, don’t they?

I didn’t want something so stupid to hold me back. I didn’t want to feel upset if I didn’t have a drink on Friday nights. I didn’t want to keep falling into the binge drinking trap. I was sick of the anxiety, the shame, and the horrific hangovers slowing me down and keeping me from rocking my passions.

I wanted freedom!

I wanted to feel playful, with confidence that was authentically me, not poured from a bottle. I wanted deeper connections, less anxiety, more space, more love, more potential.

I wanted transformation, dammit!

And so, tears running down my face and hands shaking, I stuck this quote to my vision board, and set out to answer the question: can life be sober and sparkly?

If you don’t change anything, you don’t grow.

If only I’d known what I was about to discover…

Click here to read Part 2.

100 Days Without a Drink

29 Comments on 100 Days Without a Drink – Part 1

  1. Bec
    July 8, 2014 at 10:17 am (8 years ago)

    Thank you Bex. This post has helped me a lot today. Especially that quote at the end. I’m struggling with the changes that will happen in the next few months with bub coming and it’s really scary, but that quote and this post is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you beautiful xx

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 8, 2014 at 10:48 am (8 years ago)

      My absolute pleasure, gorgeous girl. Change is scary, but you know what’s even scarier? Staying stuck. Here’s to scary, crazy, beautiful growth and transformation, Bec! xx

  2. Shelli Noca
    July 8, 2014 at 10:34 am (8 years ago)

    THANK YOU for this! I’ve been doing a number on myself for awhile now. How is it I can live meat free for 10 years (I do it for the animals) but can’t do the same w/ alcohol for myself? UGH!

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 8, 2014 at 10:54 am (8 years ago)

      Oh I hear ya’, Shelli! Often it’s so much easier to extend compassion to others than to ourselves. You deserve every ounce of the same love and respect you give to the animals, beautiful. xx

  3. aaminahsmom
    July 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm (8 years ago)

    Proud of you. I also have a alcohol problem (haven’t had a drink since 2008). Making changes is tough..Be prepared to feel uncomfortable.Be assured those feelings will pass

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 9, 2014 at 5:47 am (8 years ago)

      SO tough and SO uncomfortable, but you’re spot on, beautiful – it’s all transient. Reaching outside of our comfort zone is bound to be uncomfortable but it’s where the magic happens. Sending you huge love. xx

  4. Vanessa
    July 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm (8 years ago)

    Oh I love this Bex! You are so right on with everything. Love you xxx

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 9, 2014 at 5:48 am (8 years ago)

      Thanks so much, gorgeous Ness! Love you right back! xxx

  5. Zoz
    July 8, 2014 at 6:58 pm (8 years ago)

    So beautifully written and I can definitely relate. For me it was also so very difficult to give up the party but I’m so glad my boozy life is behind me too. Here’s to a bright sparkling future for all of us who make the toughest choices and emerge from the other side with renewed joy. Thanks for sharing Miss VS x

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 9, 2014 at 5:51 am (8 years ago)

      What a beautiful comment, Miss Zoz! Tough choices (although SO uncomfortable at the time) so often lead to the best stuff in life. Here’s to a very sparkling future for us all, indeed! Huge love, gorgeous girl. xx

  6. [email protected]?
    July 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm (8 years ago)

    What an amazing post! I’m sure it’s very difficult to open yourself up like that, but I just know you’re helping tons of people who are going through the same or similar things. Good for you!!

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 9, 2014 at 5:52 am (8 years ago)

      Thank you so much, Barb! xx

  7. Nancy Hart
    July 9, 2014 at 6:13 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing this with your readers. I grew up in an alcoholic home environment and childhood was pretty intense, horribly sad and scary to say the least. About 9 years ago we realized our beautiful daughter who is 29 now, is an alcoholic. Only by the grace of God have I survived this 9 years——I never dreamed an a million years that one of my children would have inherited this insidious disease! I didn’t want to believe it when my dad was dealing with it—-I just thought —if he really loves me he will stop! That is very far from the truth for all alcoholics! Loving someone has nothing to do with it. Not until I realized my daughter inherited this disease did I really believe it. No one in their right mind would jeopardize losing jobs, money, reputation, and most of all family for a drink or drug!! I believe that one has to have a program (AA) that can give them support and others to call in times of need and most of all they need God!
    One of our best friends was just in a car accident after drinking too much after a golf game and he is paralyzed from the breast bone down for life. Is it worth it? NO! Only by the grace of God I go.

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm (8 years ago)

      Oh, my heart goes out to you, Nancy! And to your daughter and best friend.
      There is definitely a dark side to the drinking, and so much suffering as a result. I’m so pleased to hear you have a strong faith to get you through these hard times and I wish you and your loved ones so much healing and hope. xx

  8. berrystylegirl
    July 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm (8 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing, it’s so important! I don’t drink alcohol but think this knot of anxiety and self-humiliation can relate to many destructive habits. Especially if they don’t seem to be destructive but in fact are. It’s hard even to write this comment thinking about my fighting with consequences of ED, can’t imagine what it was like for you to write this post – but I am sure, it’s worth it.
    I know that you are strong enough to win your fight. But you know – you can have problems AND be health-coach. We all have problems – we are different in the way we resolve them.
    One more thank you.

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank YOU for your kind words, Polina. And you make such a beautiful point – it’s the way we resolve our problems that shows the difference in our strength, resilience and growth – even compared to our younger selves. Wishing you all the love in the world. xx

  9. Patricia
    July 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Bex. I am so glad I chose to stop drinking because I realized I was drinking to “fit in.” I never had a problem–usually one drink and I was sleepy. But I realized that people who had a hard time with me NOT drinking were–guess what? The problem drinkers! I belong to a women’s get-together group, and it amazes me to see how much time they spend going to wine tastings, and getting wasted at house parties. A few of them will be headed to AA if their livers hold out that long, I know that much.

    I’m doing a challenge to forego soy ice cream–I began July 1st, and it’s not been easy. So, I feel you, even if we’re using different substances.

    Let’s keep up our good work, even if we don’t feel like it sometimes.

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 10, 2014 at 5:38 pm (8 years ago)

      It’s so easy to get attached to these things and so hard to leave them alone, even when we know our attachment is unhealthy, isn’t it Patricia! I know we’ll both feel so much better without our vices (whether wine or soy ice-cream). Here’s to freedom and new beginnings! xx

  10. Robyn B | Modern Day Missus
    July 10, 2014 at 8:59 am (8 years ago)

    Yeah, I’m no good with alcohol. For some reason it’s an all or nothing scenario… which means nothing for me.

    Otherwise I’m having two-three glasses of white for dinner every night because ‘the bottle needs using’, plus the best part of a bottle every Sunday.

    In the last year and a half, I think I’ve only had a handful of drinks and I credit not drinking as being one of my number one health and wellness tips. Once you give it up, you realise actually how crappy it can make you feel (for me, it gives me crappy weight gain, crappy skin and that oh-so gross dehydrated feeling).

    Good on you and best of luck for 100 days!

    Robyn xx

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Robyn. It’s such a slippery slope for me too – one glass becomes three, one night of the week becomes five… It’s a creepy little monster that we are SO much better off without! I love that it’s your number one health & wellness tip – I dare say it’s about to become mine too! xx

  11. angieeatspeace
    July 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm (8 years ago)

    I really appreciate your honesty and look forward to following and supporting you on this journey.

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Angie. xx

  12. Michelle
    July 13, 2014 at 7:35 pm (8 years ago)

    Love your honesty Bex ! Thankfully children came along for me and that totally curbed my drinking habit (kids and a hangover DONT MIX) thankfully I was never really one to “drink at home” every night. ..but you have pricked my memory for the next time I have a girls night out as I tend to be the one that has that “one” or “ten” too many and is the one all the stories are about the following day ! (o;

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks so much Mishy, and ohhh I’m cringing in total empathy, bella! Definitely a good reminder for the next girl’s night. That ‘one’ too many is always a killer, and as I’ve learnt over the past few months, there’s nothing better than waking up with a clear head knowing you were the epitome of grace and dignity all night! xx

  13. Nicole Marie Story
    July 20, 2014 at 1:17 am (8 years ago)

    Love this. Can’t wait to read part two. You remind me so much of me!

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 21, 2014 at 5:24 pm (8 years ago)

      Oh we seem to be kindred spirits, Nicole Marie! xx

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