You work hard and play hard too? Nice.
For the past 7 weeks, I have not touched alcohol. I’m midway through a challenge called “75 Hard”, which entails two daily workouts, spending 45+ mins outside a day, drinking 4 litres of water a day, reading 10+ pages of non-fiction a day, sticking with a rich, plant & fish-based diet that I chose - and no alcohol. For 75 days.
My intention for this journey has been to build a bit of discipline (work in progress), some healthy habits (getting there) and a greater understanding of myself (oh boy yes).
My greatest hurdle in this challenge would genuinely have been abstaining from alcohol - if it weren’t for zero alcohol substitutes. Because for years I had been using alcohol to draw the line between work and play, signalling the end of effort and the start of the party.
I love going to bars, pubs, restaurants, theatres, and dancing at festivals until the sun comes up. I love catching up with friends in intimate soirées. And I love celebrating life’s wins.
But I have felt, many times, that I have actually been restricting my enjoyment in these freedoms. Because how freaking easy is it to have four, five, six glasses of wine with your colleagues, at the local on a Friday, rather than the one you told yourself you’d have that morning? Week after week after week.
Moderation is not my forte, clearly! I was fed up of wasting so many days feeling fuzzy, unrested and regretful from the previous day’s “merriment”.
And I was upset that my running training was being compromised to such a high degree. For a few years I’ve been competing as an amateur in triathlons and marathons and I could clearly see my potential being hindered by alcohol.
For many, these struggles won’t resonate. But maybe for a few.
I have chosen to go alcohol free to feel the beauty of waking up, for weeks in a row, with clarity and energy. To engage with my pals and environment from my real self. And to learn how to relax, calm my nerves and “let go” through laughing and connecting with myself and others.
I still go out. I still meet my friends. And I still celebrate my successes - and have a HOOT. But with a tinnie of SpritzISH and a head that can still switch on the next day.
Cheers to that pals!
Written by Harriet Freeman