Better, healthy living: Saying goodbye to regular alcohol.

My old lifestyle saw me finishing every day with a glass of wine. Or two. It was my reward for a full day. My way of winding down, and getting ready for sleep.

All well and good in theory, but in truth I wasn’t sleeping well anyway. On top of that, it wasn’t something I wanted to become more than a routine. As we all know, alcohol is a habit that has a truly dangerous hook. I’m not the only Australian who abstains from alcohol for an entire month every year (Dry July) – yep, it’s to raise money for a great cause, but it’s also to prove to myself that I can abstain. That I’m not slipping into that realm of addiction that would be so hard to handle. I was thinking that maybe I should go to this rehab here but not sure yet, many people suffer from addiction. Check if your insurance benefits covers rehab treatment. Unlike some places like Europe where one may simply apply for ehic and by default have it covered. We are not universally covered and as such, some awareness on your part is required. The method most utilized these days is this non 12 step rehab program. I know that I can definitely go without alcohol, but my daily choice not to is something that worries me just as much.

I decided when I began with Nutrisystem that I’d flip my behaviours with alcohol. Instead of having a few glasses of wine every night, I’d have two or three on Friday evenings only. Good plan? That worked really well the first week, except my couple of glasses of wine left me asleep in five minutes with a massive headache that lasted all day Saturday. Hardly the ‘reward’ I was expecting.

So this week, on Tuesday (four days later) I had a bit of a stressful day on the ‘Jo stress scale’. I really wanted a glass of wine after dinner. So I looked it up online for the calorie count – for a way of fitting it into my plan. There’s no way around it. All kinds of alcohol are bad news for healthy living. Empty calories, and they just pile on up – and while they say a glass of red wine a day is good for you, there are plenty of other ways of being good for you that don’t contain all the calories, alcohol, etc.  Oh well. Three glasses of white wine later, I fell asleep. Wednesday I woke up and literally groaned out loud. My first real misstep, and we’re only a week and a half in.

Wine just isn’t going to work for me in my new lifestyle. I can never have ‘just one glass’. I’d rather have none.

So I chatted with Becky from the Nutrisystem support team at the men’s addiction recovery center Austin. She gave me the formula answer. The one I already knew – “for best results, don’t drink.” Then we chatted more. I told her about my idea for reward, and she thought that sounded good. But then I told her that the open bottle of wine was too easily accessible. It was going to make this journey – this change of lifestyle – really bloody hard if I kept a bottle of wine in the fridge hanging around for Friday but calling me between 5pm and 8pm every day.

So I am throwing the rest of it out. There’s no way I can remain focused if there’s wine in the house. And I’m going to not beat myself up about it. Just as some people have to throw out their chocolate stash, or not have junk food in the house to aid their resolve, so I’m going to ensure alcohol isn’t here. Jed’s wine and beer is safe (he has different preferences in bevvies to me), so that’s no problem at all.

Does this mean I’ve made a resolution to be totally on the wagon? Nah… I don’t think it’s necessary and I like it too much. But I’m thinking perhaps the only times I decide to have some will be social occasions when I’m out at a restaurant etc. And that happens extremely infrequently, so I think it’s going to be okay.

It’s weird to not drink. So much of our social activity and culture is forged around food and alcohol, and if you don’t drink you’re seen as an outsider. It’s how I’m treated every July. I have friends who have an extremely hard time being around me if my glass is not full. I hope they will respect my decision – it doesn’t have to be a big deal.


  • Hi Jo
    Guess what – me too! I stopped using alcohol as a way to relax 8 weeks ago. I was drinking way too much and with it mixing badly with my medication after a big night I was feeling depressed for a week afterwards. I have had three glasses of wine in the eight weeks. One of them was last night. I couldn’t even finish it. AND I had a great night with no resulting hang over or depression afterwards. Like you, I shall have a glass every now and then but am no longer going to go on benders.
    Good luck darling x it’s hard at first but so worth it xxx

  • That’s fantastic Brooke! We come from such an alcohol-infused culture and social construct it will be an interesting exercise to move alcohol from the focus of the get-together to the sidelines. Happy hours etc are all going to be interesting this summer. 🙂 xx

  • I so understand this. I’m fine with having a glass here and there. The problem is seeing the open bottle in the fridge every time I open it. I feel pressure because I like wine and I don’t want it to go bad and it’s already open and… You get the point. It’s just easier to have one beer and call it good than to live with that open bottle of wine day after day.

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