The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

‘Alcohol was robbing me of enjoyment’

Sarah Brooks, 42, natural lifestyle coach and author of I Am Simple Natural Life

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The thought of giving up alcohol had always made me feel anxious because I really did enjoy it. I had no close friends who didn’t drink. I used to have half a bottle of wine every weekday evening and then a bottle at the weekend. In the world I moved in that was normal, but it actually adds up to 40 or more units.

And as I got past 40 I knew alcohol wasn’t good for me. I hated waking up feeling foggy, knowing I wasn’t at my best. A mum of four with a severely disabled daughter, I knew I needed to be physically as good as possible for her.

I would try to have no-drinking days but by evening my resolve would wane and I’d end up pouring a glass of wine. During the day it was just always on my mind. I would argue with myself then give up and pack the kids in the car to go to the Co-Op for a bottle of wine before putting them in bed.

Going through that cycle and beating myself up in the morning got tiring, so I signed up to a 90-day challenge with One Year No Beer. To say it changed my life is not an overstatem­ent. The first month just gets you feeling a bit more normal, but it is the second and third month that really pushes you to a different place.

By the end I knew that I enjoyed life so much more without alcohol.

I used to think alcohol was what made life enjoyable, when it was actually robbing me of enjoyment. I thought it was helping me manage my anxiety when it was causing it. I used to wake up worried that I’d said or done something embarrassi­ng, but now I feel fresh and clear-headed. I’ve finally written a book and set up my natural lifestyle coaching business.

Sometimes I get overwhelmi­ng feelings of happiness or love and I used to think these came with the alcohol. Now I know those are my real feelings.

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