I’LL HAVE NOTHING TO DO
Well you won’t.
This is just BS. But I must admit, at first when I was looking down the barrel of an entire weekend without alcohol, I felt lost and anxious. That first weekend after the first few days of not knocking back some wines after work, it was quite daunting. I felt anxious. It’s like somehow a hangover was my normal and a great mask, it meant I didn’t have to deal with emotions, or alone-time, it offered the perfect excuse to chill between drinks with friends which was my entire schedule by that time.
What was I going to do all weekend if I wasn’t going to drink? It doesn’t take long to start finding things to fill your time that are both beneficial and enjoyable.
My weekends used to be a combination of sleep in because I was always forever trying to catch up on sleep, plan how to get to a BBQ and continue into the early evening. My weekends are very different now. But the first few without alcohol were testing. I found that I was tired by 9pm, because I was getting up at 5am because somehow without drinking alcohol, my circadian rhythms have finally found their pattern. So, I had a lot more energy during the day and then I just got plain tired. So, I went to bed early. Now before you throw your hands in the air and protest that this wasn’t what you signed up for, early night s and early rises, it happened naturally. And when I slept, I didn’t wake up at 3am with a dry mouth, heart racing wondering what on Earth I did the night before! Sound familiar? It was a new feeling to be so calm.
I get up at 6am on a weekend (that’s a sleep in) I usually walk to F45 (30 mins), do a class and catch up with a friend afterwards for a coffee or a juice depending on the class I just did and how parched I am! The rest of the day can include but isn’t limited to; a swim in the ocean, walk around the lake, some reading, crafter noon and a meal prep kitchen session to get organised for the week ahead. (Unless it’s our weekend with my husband’s kids, then it’s a different weekend altogether).
Weekends now, are not so ‘full’, I try to give myself some space and I don’t plan everything down to a tea or a cup of it with everyone! I have found the value in spending time away from people and with myself and my family or a good book to recharge. Then when I want to spend quality time with some friends and their family, it’s doable, it’s not a stretch, it’s a pleasure and I can take a home baked something along too.
I go out for long lunches and bushwalks. I nap. I spend time being creative, I’ve renovated a house (my husband is a builder, so that helped!), I learnt to bake, then I went paleo, so I learnt to bake paleo things. I wrote two books, I studied my Certificate III in Fitness and am in the middle of a nutrition course, and that’s just on the weekends. That is what I have been up to sine I stopped going out and drinking. You can’t argue that there’s nothing to do now really, can you? My weekends are busy in a good way, and there really is no room in my life for alcohol anymore. If I want to unwind after a day of kicking footy’s in the park and pushing kids on swings, I sit down with an Almond Milk Chai and my ugg boots and watch and episode of Arrested Development. Ain’t no shame in that. And then I get up early and take a walk and get back in time to make porridge before everyone is out of bed. (I’m nice like that and I get joy from doing lovely things for the people I love). Yes, I still go to the pub to watch a game or see some friends, but I go early and I leave early and I make my priorities more important than anyone else’s opinion. That has taken some time, but I am there now, and it’s so freeing.
I have discovered my inner creativity again and it’s heightened over the last three years. I am forever writing, journaling, vision boarding, starting things, learning and craving knowledge. When you start to redefine your relationship with alcohol, there will be a shift, alcohol won’t suddenly be the entire focus of your plans, and after some time, alcohol will struggle to find a place on your schedule. It’s up to you to step away from the bar and start to find a new way of spending your time. After all, all we really have is time.