health

"I stopped drinking two months ago. I'm having more fun than I've ever had."

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Thanks to our brand partner, Seedlip

Since I was younger, alcohol has been a part of my life.

Every weekend it would be the same old routine of getting ready with my girlfriends, going out, having a drink and then feeling less than optimal the next day.

It wasn’t until I turned 24 that I started to really question my relationship with alcohol. Did I really need it to have fun? Probably not. Did I like the taste of it? Not particularly.

Now look, I’m all about the ‘you-do-you’ mentality and I know that a lot of people do enjoy drinking alcohol and do like the taste of it, and can do it in moderation.

For me personally, I had to unpack the underlying reasons behind why I drank, which appeared to be habitual. I was putting up this facade of having a good time. Perhaps it was for social media, or perhaps I was just an unwilling participant who got caught up in going with the flow of what everyone else was doing. But I’ve since realised it was just ‘performative fun’ that I was having.

I decided it was important for me to change my actions to better align with what I really value, which is happiness and health.

I also wanted to find out who I really was, without alcohol. I feel like too much drinking can really change your personality and I wanted to rediscover who I was.

Towards the end of last year, I had my epiphany. A lot of people I know are trying to drink more responsibly, so why can’t I?

I made the call to stop my weekly cycle, and let me tell you – it’s way more fun (and guilt-free.)

seedlip drinks
Notice a trend? Image: Supplied.
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It happened on New Year's Eve. Yes, I was one of those people who optimistically made a New Year's Resolution. Yes, I know most of them fail within two weeks but no, I wasn’t going to let that stop me from trying. If not now - when?

I just got my dream job, I have an amazing boyfriend who supports me. I knew I had to do it for my career, the ones I love and of course for myself.

I brought in the New Year the same way I intended to finish it: completely sober and surrounded by those closest to me. It felt wonderful. I got to drive to a beautiful spot by the harbour (read: no expensive Ubers or battling public transport), I actually enjoyed the fireworks and I also got to wake up on New Year's Day feeling fresh.

But...what do you do if you're not drinking?

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Life without alcohol - not so bad. Image: Supplied.

When I first stopped drinking, I thought I would suddenly take up all these crazy hobbies. I thought I would instantly become a salsa dancing botanist who does pottery and also crochets.

In reality, I just started to do more of the things I already liked to do. I went to art galleries, I hiked, I rock-climbed, I went swimming at the beach, I read, I went to boozeless brunches. I did more of the things that made me enjoy life. I filled my weekends with activities that authentically made me happy.

One rule I made for myself though was that I wasn’t going to let the whole not drinking thing stop me from going out to clubs and parties with my friends. I still enjoyed the social side of going out and having a dance - so why couldn’t I do this sans booze? Not drinking doesn’t make you boring and I wanted everyone to realise this.

Also thanks to the growing ‘sober curious’ movement, more and more venues in Sydney are now offering delicious non-alcoholic spirit alternatives like Seedlip. Ordering a Seedlip & Tonic is my secret ‘hack’ to enjoying a boozeless night out because it actually tastes like the real thing. They have three expressions that aren't anything like the sugary mocktails non-drinkers, or even mindful drinkers who just want to cut down a little, expect.

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My accompaniment to Paint & Sip: Grove 42 (citrus). Image: Supplied.

Here's what else I discovered:

  • You get to drive which means everyone loves you because you can give them lifts. You also get to leave whenever you want (big bonus!).
  • You actually have a better time because you’re forced to make your own fun. Without drinking, you actually have to make an effort to enjoy yourself because you can’t rely on alcohol to make the night interesting. 
  • You have more energy than your friends and can often outlast them in the night. 
  • You get to watch other people be drunk, which is the most entertaining part of the night. It’s not judging, it’s people-watching. 
  • People will always try and guess why you’re not drinking. "Are you pregnant?", "Are you on a diet?", "Were you an alcoholic?" - No I am not a pregnant alcoholic on a diet, I am just trying to be a better version of myself, thanks for asking, Jenny
  • And last but not least... you don’t drunkenly order a 24-pack of nuggets from Macca's on the way home. You’ll just order the 12 pack. Because you’re sober and responsible now.

The truth about going sober.

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Two months and counting. Image: Supplied.

Of course, there have been times when I’ve felt like I wanted to drink. It’s easy to feel like an outsider when everyone around you is drinking. So whenever I get that wave of FOMO over me, I just try and cast my mind back to the reason why I stopped drinking in the first place. 

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I just tell myself: I would rather be an outsider than partake in an activity I don't actively enjoy. 

I’m aware that giving up drinking isn’t for everyone, but I think that everyone can benefit at least from having a more mindful relationship with alcohol. There are so many benefits other than just not having hangovers.

For example - financially, I’ve saved so much money. An average night out, with $20 cocktails would usually be around 100 bucks. Now, I’ve found myself spending much less than this on drinks.

Mentally, I’ve felt better because I have so much more energy, I’ve had quality sleep and I’ve noticed that my moods are more consistent. 

Most importantly, I’ve found out who I’m meant to be in life.

And it’s not the girl pretending to be best friends with other tipsy girls in the bathroom of the club.

And it’s not the girl making slurred small talk with strangers in the line for the bar either.

It’s the girl who’s in the middle of the dancefloor, doing the craziest dance moves and having the best time - because she knows that everyone around her is too drunk to even notice and frankly, she doesn’t give a sh*t even if they do.

Need more inspo for your mindful drinking journey? Watch High Sobriety with Mamamia's own Leigh Campbell:

Video by Mamamia x Seedlip

What's your relationship with alcohol? Do you live a sober life or practise 'mindful drinking'? Share with us below.

If this post brought up any issues for you, call the National Alcohol and Other Drugs Hotline on 1800 250 015 or visit the Australian Government Department of Health for their full list of resources and services.

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The World's first distilled non alcoholic spirits

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