Mama Mayhem

I can see clearly now the wine is gone

By Ivy Jensen

CHALLENGE completed.

For an entire month, I did not touch a drop of alcohol.

You heard right.

I said no to my long-time friend Shiraz for four weeks.

No celebratory G&Ts for 31 days.

So, to all those naysayers and skeptics who thought I couldn’t do it, ‘how you like me now?’

Well, to be honest, there weren’t actually too many of those.

There were a few, however, who had a good chuckle when I told them I was taking part in Dry July this year.

Though I’m no Tyrion Lannister, I do love a good champas or G&T to celebrate with, or a full-bodied red (wine that is) to help me relax after a big day.

Of course, I’ve gone without booze for days and possibly even a week, but if I’m being honest I can’t remember the last time I was stone-cold sober for a whole month.

Not that I’m boasting. Quite the opposite in fact.

Even so, I was well aware becoming a teetotaler for 744 hours would be challenging.

But while I admit I don’t have the best willpower in the world, when I set my mind to something, I try my best to complete it.

Like running 5 km in the Sweat vs Steam a few years ago.

A feat I never thought I could manage, considering I couldn’t jog 500m without keeling over when I first started training.

But it was the same mindset that got me through that challenge which I used for my alcohol-free month.

Pretty simple, really. All I did was take one day at a time.

Looking at the big picture is way too overwhelming; I found if I made small goals every day, the next day was that bit easier and if I did that for long enough, it eventually became a habit.

Speaking of habits, I’m sure many people can relate to this situation.

Arriving home after a long and stressful day at work, you automatically reach for the bottle. You pour yourself a glass of wine or whisky (whatever your poison) or grab a cold beer from the fridge.

For me, that routine had become more of a habit than anything else.

I got the first real craving by the second weekend, while watching a flick in front of the fire.

‘‘You got a promotion, it’s the weekend, you don’t have children and you’re watching Wine Country for crying out loud! Why aren’t you opening a bottle of 2008 Penfolds Bin 95 Grange Shiraz?’’ my brain screamed at me.

I answered by eating a block of chocolate. It was dark chocolate mind you, so I figured it was good for me.

I also took to substituting my glass of red with soda water or kombucha, a sparking fermented tea drink which sounds hideous but has become a favourite of mine.

One small piece of advice though. I recommend not drinking more than a glass a day — unless you want to be spending a lot more time on the loo.

Anyhoo, if you want to know the benefits of me giving up the grog, here they are.

1. I lost a bit of weight (not as much as I thought I would, but that could be due to the fact chocolate and lollies became my best friends).

2. I saved money (and not just on what I would have otherwise have spent on drinks. The late-night online shopping sessions seemed to have slowed too).

3. More energy (could be that I'm asleep by 10 pm though).

4. Better sleep.

5. I have better focus and concentration (maybe some of the brain cells I have killed over the years are coming back to life?).

Whatever the case, I can see clearly now the wine is gone.

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