The Happiness Hunter: How one woman gave up alcohol to find her happiness

"Life is so much more than what you are currently allowing yourself to experience."

Fiona Redding is the Happiness Hunter. She is vibrant, positive, contagious, sassy, honest, fun, beautiful and yes, she used to drink way too much. 

A few years ago Fiona was in a very different headspace. A mum to two young children, she found herself drinking a bottle of wine at 3pm most afternoons. Sadly this is not an uncommon story, Fiona knew she shouldn't drink, but the pressure of her situation, the loneliness she felt was too much. So she drank. She drank to cope and she drank to make the guilty feelings subside. Eventually Fiona decided to do something about it. Knowing that the only person who could change her, was in fact her, Fiona decided to take a cheeky month (or three) away from alcohol. 

"I caught a glimpse of myself from an external point of view and I was completely disgusted.  It was almost like walking past a mirror and while I didn’t recognise the person that was looking back at me, I knew it was me.  And not only was I horrified with what was presented to me at that moment, I could clearly see the future direction for where my life was going.  It was a slippery slope to nothing but more pain and unhappiness.  I had known for some time that the drinking was a problem.  I knew I had been unhappy for a while, and seeing that external glimpse of myself showed me the physical representation of my unhappiness."

Fiona was able to recognise that her unhappiness was fuelled by knowing deep down there was a better version of herself who could be more and do more. All she craved at that moment was a little more happiness, "I started to drink because I was unhappy with my external world and because I couldn’t control it or change it, I drank to cope with my unhappiness with that."I

It was evident, 'my life revolved around drinking and the drinking had taken over. There was an inner voice that was insistently telling me to stop drinking and to just stop for a moment.  Just stop, but it wasn’t until I saw that vision of me and my future that I could no longer deny what was before me.' 

She signed up to Hello Sunday Morning (HSM), an online community helping people to redefine their relationship with alcohol by taking some time off. She signed up for a 3 month break from alcohol but quickly realised it needed to be a longer term thing so she changed her initial 3 month HSM to a 12 month HSM.  She then decided to back  the first 12 month HSM up with another 12 month HSM – which meant that she had removed any further need for decision making about whether or not she going to drink. She just wasn't. No matter what. 

Fiona admits it wasn't a struggle. "The benefits to not drinking were so immediate and so transformative.... my new found sense of self respect and liberation was priceless and to this day I do not take it for granted."

Her journey started from within, she learned forgiveness and acceptance, "when I shifted the focus to me, and what I could change within me, the surprise was how much my external world responded in kind."

Out of her personal journey Fiona created The Happiness Hunter, local organised walks for like minded people providing connection, education and support. The Happiness Hunter walks are a positive and uplifting space for you to connect with other people who want the best for you and the best for their own lives.

Fiona says, "our journeys may differ, however we have a shared and supportive intention as to how we want to be living our lives." 

When you stop drinking, you start finding so many wonderful things, walking in nature and appreciating the beauty of our surroundings is certainly one of them. If you feel like it's time to take some time away from alcohol to see what life might look like, there are plenty of people who have done it that are happy to help. 

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