100 Days Without a Drink - Part 2

Click here to read Part 1.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in adopting a vegan lifestyle, then eating gluten-free, then starting my health coaching practice, it’s that having a great support network can mean the difference between weeping alone in the corner, and rocking it out and actually enjoying the challenge.

Before embarking on an experiment of this magnitude, I knew I’d need help, and lots of it.

My Tools of Choice

:: Like the true geek I am, I wrote a 10 Things Better Than Wine list and referred to it every day.

:: I joined Hello Sunday Morning (such a great initiative!) and read stories from others who were undergoing the same challenge.

:: I ordered and read Jason Vale’s book: ‘Kick the Drink… Easily!’

:: In a very happy accident (while reading an article about the increasing number of ‘dry’ cafes opening in the UK), I discovered the Soberistas website. There, I was amazed and oh-so relieved to find oodles of incredibly helpful sober blogs (including my now-favourites: Carrie on Sober, Mrs D is Going Without, Unpickled, and Fit Fat Food).

I’m not sure why I was so surprised to find these blogs. Did I really think I was the only woman in the world struggling to put the glass down?

:: I also stumbled across Belle’s blog and 100 Day Challenge:

I will not drink for 100 days. No matter what. I can cry, but I will not drink. I can go to bed or go home early. I might feel distressed… but I will not drink. Bad things might happen, but I will not drink. Incredibly shitty things may happen to someone around me, or my neighbor, or my friend’s friend’s grandmother. But there will be no booze. Funerals? Weddings? Amputation? I’m not drinking for 100 days no matter what happens… No matter what.
~ Belle, Tired of Thinking About Drinking

This challenge instantly appealed to me. Quite honestly, the thought of never drinking again was terrifying. Even thinking about it made my chest constrict and the waterworks start again.

One hundred days. Now, that seemed manageable. Long enough to have a proper break and then reassess the situation, but short enough to seem achievable (and a whole lot less scary than ‘forever’).

:: I downloaded a Day Tracker app onto my phone and decided 100 days was my goal.

The Hardest Part

I’m not gonna’ lie. The first 30 days were tough.

I hadn’t expected to feel so insanely tired all the time. I’d only been drinking (albeit to excess) a couple (okay, sometimes 4 or 5) nights per week, so I didn’t expect a physical detox. Very naïve on my part, especially since it took my body a good 30 days to detox from dairy, and then again from gluten. I should’ve seen it coming.

I didn’t think I’d cry so much but I did. I threw a couple of tantrums in frustration at not being able to drink like ‘normal’ people (and cried). I replayed all the stupid, drunken things I’ve ever done over-and-over in my mind (and cried some more).

I was upset that I’d let alcohol have such a huge influence over me and I hated the fear I felt in taking it away. I was frustrated that it felt so hard to go without it, and that I didn’t really know how to deal with my daily emotions. I hated that reality felt so relentless without the option of ‘cutting loose’ on a Friday night. And I hated that I wasn’t sure who I was in social settings without a drink in my hand.

Feelings reinforced by the reaction from friends and former colleagues, generally along the lines of: “Are you insane? I’d rather go without food for 100 days than alcohol!”

The very same reaction I would have had before I embarked on this challenge.

Would people still invite me out if I stopped drinking for good?
Would I always feel like I was missing out?
Would I ever have – or be – fun, ever again?

I was afraid of what would happen if I stopped drinking. But I was more afraid of what would happen if I didn’t.

And I got through it.

Day 30 fell on my birthday, and for the first time since I turned 17, I celebrated it sober. Instead of my usual cocktails, champagne and dancing-on-tables celebration, I spent the night cuddling on the couch with my love, my favourite dinner (fajitas), some fancy raw chocolate, a crystal goblet filled with sparkling mineral water and fresh lime, and an 80’s flick.

And you know what? It felt really good. Wholesome. Healthy. Right.

Little did I know, the real discoveries were yet to come…

Click here to read Part 3.

100 Days Without a Drink - Part 2

16 Comments on 100 Days Without a Drink – Part 2

  1. [email protected]?
    July 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm (8 years ago)

    Good for you, Bex! I’m sure it’s not easy sharing these things, but at the same time it’s got to be healthy for you AND I’m sure very helpful for people that are in the same situation!

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 16, 2014 at 12:56 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you so much, Barb! It’s never easy sharing things we don’t like about ourselves but if it helps at least one other person to liberate themselves from the same situation, well, I’m one very happy coach. x

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks HSM team! Love your work. x

  2. Emma
    July 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm (8 years ago)

    I feel like you are talking about me! I have also just ordered Jason Vale’s book, written a list and signed up to HSM. Thank you so much for sharing this, it has come at the perfect time for me x

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm (8 years ago)

      My absolute pleasure, Emma. Wishing you all the health and happiness in the world, beautiful. You deserve nothing less. x

  3. veghotpot
    July 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm (8 years ago)

    This has actually made me feel quite emotional! Between the ages of 16-20 I completely hid behind the drunk version of me who was “hilarious” at parties and always had fun. I have since found I don’t need it as much however whenever I do go for a night out I just can’t stop drinking once I’ve started. Even if I’ve been sick!!! I carry on. Even though it’s not a hugely regular ocassion it worries me not just for health reasons but also for my safety on a night out. I have often thought of stopping drinking but the I think “oh but Ive got that party next week, or the gathering next month” and so it continues. Your journey is inspiring (with food, health and everything!!) so maybe I will take the steps towards not using alcohol as a crutch, and controlling my nights out 🙂 thanks for sharing 🙂 x

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm (8 years ago)

      Oh, sending you huge hugs, Becky, and I can so relate! As soon as I had that first drink, I didn’t want to stop, even though the drinking to excess (and the awful shame & hangovers it left in its wake) had stopped being fun a long time ago.
      It helped me so much when I realised that once I had that first drink, it wasn’t really ME making the decisions anymore – the Wine Monster was in full control and it wanted more, more, MORE! So it wasn’t actually the 4th or 5th drink that was the big problem – it was that very first one!!
      Navigating social events sober (or with less alcohol) can be tough at first but it gets so much easier, beautiful – not to mention safer. And I’m here for support if you need me! xx

  4. Juls
    July 17, 2014 at 7:20 am (8 years ago)

    Thank you for inspiring me to take a break from the booze. I’m on Day 10 and learning a lot from this time. I still don’t want to give it up entirely but this is showing me I can if that’s what I decide. Can’t wait to hear more from you!

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 17, 2014 at 4:27 pm (8 years ago)

      Day 10, that’s SO awesome, Juls! You’ll be all the better, stronger and healthier for it.
      If it feels tough (like it did for me), remember to be super kind to yourself, beautiful. Reward yourself with long walks, warm baths, fresh sheets, fresh flowers, or whatever takes your fancy.
      And yes, you sure can give it up for good if that’s what you decide! Can’t wait to bring you Part 3 next week (it’s the good bit)! xx

  5. angieeatspeace
    July 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm (8 years ago)

    I hope the worst is behind you. Awesome job!

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm (8 years ago)

      I think it really is, Angie. Thank you so much! xx

  6. berrystylegirl
    July 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm (8 years ago)

    I want to hug you and say how I’m proud of your brave. Thank you for keeping sharing – we are all near to say we are with you:)

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm (8 years ago)

      Thank you so much, Polina! Huge hugs right back to you, gorgeous girl. xx

  7. Nicole Marie Story
    July 20, 2014 at 1:23 am (8 years ago)

    This is really amazing. You might have inspired me to try something similar. I’ve gone 5 days (back in January), and that’s the most for gosh 10+ years. It’s otherwise been daily. But I love it so much and it’s just with my dog before bed, I rationalise. I still don’t know if it’s healthy for me, but I look forward to reading your story!

    • Vegan Sparkles
      July 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm (8 years ago)

      I’m so glad it’s helping and inspiring you, beautiful. Part 3 might just win you over to try an extended period wine-free. I’m excited to share the next post (the best part!) with you. xx