By Dani Binnington
I’ve been teetotal for over 5 years. It was after my conventional treatment for breast cancer finished and my mental wellbeing was at an all time low. Out of fear of a recurrence I did everything to me possible to improve my overall health and increase my chances of survival. Giving up booze, for good, was just one thing I did. I also changed my diet, started yoga, meditation and mindfulness on a quest to recover and survive.
So when at the age of 33, I turned up to dinner parties and nights out saying ‘I don’t drink’ it is only fair to say that I was always ‘the odd one out’. It’s fair to say that my drive to give up the booze was driven by fear, but most of all it was driven by love. By love for my three young daughters who I was so desperately trying to be around for as long as possible.
The world health organisation has classified alcohol as a carcinogen. This means there is convincing evidence that alcohol causes cancer in humans. The more you drink, the higher your risk. The less you drink, the lower your risk.
I decided to cut it out completely. By cutting out booze I knew I could increase my overall health and if I could reduce my risks of a recurrence by a few percent only – then that was good enough.
Perhaps you think you’d like to cut down on drinking a little bit? Or have you decided to go sober for October to raise some much needed cash for MacMillan cancer charity? Here is what I have learnt:
(Oh, and all of this comes from someone who loved to have a drink and I still think that some of my funniest experiences happened when under the influence!)
Look at positives of drinking less
Look at the positives of drinking less or going sober and focus on those. Wether it’s the fact that you are raising cash for charity or that you feel great in the mornings without that booze cloud hanging over you. Focus on the benefits.
Become clear of the WHY. We all have very personal reasons of cutting out the booze, mine were purely health related, others don’t like how drinking makes them feel the next day. Become clear of WHY you want to make changes.
Watch your language of how you speak to yourself. Don’t tell yourself that you ‘must not’ have a drink. Instead, say you ‘choose not’ to have a drink because…The way we talk to ourselves can be so powerful.
Be kind to yourself. If you really want to change your drinking habits, read the Kindness Method by Sharoo Izadi. It’s the best book to help you change any unwanted habits – for good. And guess what? In a kind and non-judgemental that will make sense to YOU.
Dani Binnington is a yoga practitioner, wellbeing expert and creator of Healthy Whole Me, which is full of delicious recipes, wellbeing tips and inspiration for a healthy lifestyle.