Welcome to The (Not) Drinking Diary Series! I’ll be chatting to people on alcohol and on life; about their sobriety, mindful drinking and/or alcohol free, not drinking period.
Sophie is an instagram friend, a total babe and a Complementary Therapist, specialising in Fertility Reflexology. She also blogs about alternative health, wellness and spirituality and is a mum to a cheeky 7 year old.
Read on for her not drinking diary …
Name: Sophie Whiffen
Location: Cambridge, UK
1.What led you to think differently about drinking?
I was a huge drinker in my late teens and twenties. I was your party girl and would go from work to bar, to home in the early hours. That stopped when I had my son 7 years ago, as you swap bars for baby groups, and also because I breast fed. I found I wasn’t missing alcohol, but there was a societal pressure for mums to drink – you see it all over social media! I started to question it and my motives for reaching for a bottle of red minutes after my son was finally asleep. I realised it was the relaxation and routine which I craved, not the buzz of the alcohol.
It wasn’t until I had the hangover from hell after a wedding last summer that I thought, no, this isn’t for me anymore! I just couldn’t get my head around paying £50 for feeling like I had the flu!
2.How would you describe your relationship with alcohol now?
I can take it or leave it! I went back to meditation, which is something I practiced daily when I was a full time Complementary Therapist. It would relax me in-between clients and switch my brain off after a long day. Over the past 7 months I’ve had half a pint (which took me almost 2 hours to drink) and a glass of fizz at Christmas.
If I’m totally honest, I don’t like the fuzzy head it gives me – I don’t feel like “me”!
3.What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since your approach to alcohol shifted?
I’d say it’s the societal pressure for mums to drink. Memes pop up on my Facebook feed daily – put your kids to bed, and out rolls wine o’clock! My social group has shifted and I spend more time exercising with friends or going to inspirational events.
My husband still drinks but it hasn’t changed our relationship in any way.
4.What lessons have you learnt about life (and yourself) since your relationship with alcohol has changed?
I really don’t like the person I am when I’m drunk! I also really despise the feeling of helplessness I experience when I drink – it actually makes me anxious.
I also found that stopping drinking really easy.
I just had to give myself permission to stop.
5. How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
Since giving up alcohol my whole morning routine has changed (don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be laying in bed ’til noon with a hangover when I had to take my son to school!) I wake up an hour before he wakes (by this time my husband is heading out the door) and I practice gratitude by thanking the Universe for all the good in my life, and the wonderful day which I’m going to have. I then either meditate in bed, or get up. I oil pull while I make breakfast and lunches and empty the dishwasher. Then I wash, brush my teeth, and practice 20-30 minutes of yoga.
I wake my son up, shower, eat our porridge, drink our smoothies and head out to school.
6. Do you have any rituals you always make time for?
I’ve recently gotten back into swimming (something which I hadn’t done properly since I was a teenager!) I find water so powerful, so I make an effort to swim once a week, and take long, deep Epsom salt baths whenever I feel the need.
I also write in my gratitude journal every evening, which reminds me of all the good in my life, and take part in New and Full moon rituals (these are super simple and I get my son and husband involved!)
Saturday night in our house is pizza and movie night. It’s non-negotiable as we’re always so manic during the week, it’s important to have a family tradition (which includes pizza!)
7. What’s your favourite thing to do (hangover free & not drinking) at the weekend?
I love hanging out with my boys! We often go into town for a mooch and lunch, visit the London museums or go and do something active.
If I’m with friends I love going to fun fitness classes, yoga or events where there’s going to be like minded people to connect with.
8. When it comes to your own personal development, what is one thing that you’re working on or learning right now?
Consistency! I’m always brimming with ideas and get so enthusiastic about so many things, I need to focus!
9. What is the one thing you’re obsessed with at the moment that’s making your life better?
Podcasts! I flipping love them! I have all sorts on my phone and listen to them throughout the day when I’m cleaning, walking the dog, folding up laundry or in the car. Love them!
10. And finally, thinking differently about alcohol can be challenging and isolating, is there any advice you turned to or do you have any words of wisdom for people reading this?
If your friends aren’t welcoming to your changes, then find a new crew to hang with. There are so many ways to meet people through events. groups like MeetUp and evening classes. I used to feel like the odd mum out, but now I don’t even think about the fact I don’t drink.
Also never say never! If I restrict myself too much, I want it more (that’s just human nature!) So I tell myself I can have a drink if I want it, which reduces the what ifs.