Giving up alcohol and sugar aged twenty eight

Today I am making the intention to give up alcohol, caffeine (1 cup is allowed) and refined sugar for one month.  But hopefully 2.5 months, as that is when I go back to the UK for my brother’s wedding but 1 months sounds less serious and less like I have a problem. NB. I don’t think I have a problem, well maybe I am addicted to chocolate, but I can see that sugar, alcohol and caffeine aren’t bringing anything positive to my life at the moment. They definitely don’t help if you are a naturally anxious person like me (hello hang over heart palpitations and freaking out) and I don’t want to feel like I ‘have’ to have something. I want to be in control of my cravings and mind.

Since moving to Australia I have had more time to myself to work out what I am interested in and what is a valuable use of time for me. It is probably an age thing too but going out isn’t a priority for me anymore. Yet I have felt torn over the last 4 months since I arrived as it is what I felt I ‘should’ be doing, I wanted to make friends, drinking gives you an easy escape from your thoughts and I genuinely love dancing and live music/DJs.

I have fully seen the benefit of regular exercise and meditation since the move. I used to run and do yoga in the UK 3 times a week but I never really saw or really felt the benefits. It was just something else that filled my very busy London life.  Out here, I am seeing the results on my body and my mind. I’ve been doing HIIT work outs for the first time (late to the party I know) and find the combination of exercises, weights (another first for me which I found intimidating at first but now love) and loud, awful-but-I-love-it dance music works really well for me mentally and for my body. I’m trying to do yoga 1 day a week ish alongside this (more as meditation) and playing tennis again, something I haven’t really done since school. This combination feels great for me and I have loads of energy and hardly feel tired during the week.

From this place, I have found it easy to break my other mini addictions to both sugar and caffeine quite easily. For me coffee and chocolate are heaven. I used to wake up thinking of where to get my coffee as I loved the ritual too and chocolate was something I obsessed over after dinner. I believe it is fine and natural to want and desire things but it should be a choice not something I should have to or need to do so I want to break the addictions and perhaps reintroduce them from a non grasping place. I

Right now each week I am pretty good, and healthy, food wise. I go to the gym, meditate a bit daily (/sit there and worry for 8 minutes and maybe meditate for 2 but thats okay because 2 is better than 0?, feel good, think about my work and what I want to be doing etc, but come Thursday or the weekend it all goes (very relatively) Pete Tong. I have noticed a cycle of drinking from a place of self induced peer pressure once or twice a week turning into unhealthy eating that night or the next day, feeling rough, heart palpitations (hello anxiety) and a sense of taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back.  I haven’t had the self confidence to try and break the cycle as drinking is such a feature of socialising, I don’t like to stand out and I don’t like to make a fuss (as an ever agreeable British girl).

However, I am going to listen to my heart and what feels right for me and make the intention here to give up alcohol, plus caffeine (allowing myself one…) and refined sugar for at least a month and see how I go. I think it will help with my anxiety stuff and fundamentally I want to be in control of my cravings.

Supposedly there are two types of people, those who can be moderate and those who need to abstain and if you want to break a habit or change something in your life you need to know which you are. Sadly most of us, including me, are abstainers. To make a change you need to go cold turkey and replace a habit completely. Limiting yourself to one glass of wine or one chocolate square won’t work for most of us. Something I also know deep down hence I can’t keep chocolate at home as I know I will eat it. With alcohol it is more of a social addiction so I will replace it with soda, lime and bitters which are yummy and look alcoholic and fill my mornings with nice activities so I don’t want to stay out late. I have tried opting for ‘one glass of red wine’ recently which can work okay, but the wine weakens my will power and I then often end up having more than one glass, ice cream on the way home from a club and coffee the next day as I feel hungover. Mega fail! Once I have broken these mini addictions over the next month I may try to introduce them back into my life from a point of non grasping at them as fundamentally I think it is good to have most things in moderation and enjoy everything in life that you want to, but I’ll see how I go first..

I’m writing healthy recipes over at @bxdideas if you want any quick, healthy lunch ideas too which will naturally be sugar (alcohol and caffeine) free too..

I’ll report back in a month!

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