My name is Ericka and I gave myself the gift of living alcohol free in 2022!
Going alcohol free has been the best gift, I have ever given myself.
My drinking career started when I was in high school and spanned four decades. I moved from the USA to Australia when I graduated university. When it came to the drinking culture in Sydney – I fitted right in. Whilst I have always been active and fit (like so many people), I managed my life around drinking. I would try and moderate during the week. However, by the time the weekend came around, I was binge drinking with friends. Before I knew it my weekend habits with alcohol started to creep into my week. I was constantly battling and stuck in a painful cycle of trying to use my willpower to manage my drinking.
Perpetual hangovers became the norm. All too often I was waking up with the knowledge that I was putting my health at risk. In the past, I had tried to take steps towards changing my drinking habits. 15 years ago, I had gone to my GP asking for help and support. However, within a week I had slipped back into old routines and the belief that I could manage my drinking through moderation.
I found Hello Sunday Morning a few years ago in another attempt to address my relationship with alcohol.
At first, I did engage with other members on the Daybreak app. However, the real trigger for change was Covid. During this time period, I drank even more. I knew things had to change for myself and my family. After participating in an alcohol free program, I decided to commit to living an alcohol free life on 17 July 2022.
I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made.
Nowadays, I know I can drink anytime I want; the difference now is that I don’t want to. I am still doing ‘the work’. I am peeling back the layers like an onion to address why I drank to numb my feelings in the first place. Today I choose to feel all my feelings. I stay curious about myself. I am a work in progress!
Change is on the other side of awareness. If you are reading my story and you are curious about your own drinking – you are one step ahead. Stay curious and do the work, you won’t regret it. Make a conscious choice to be a rebel and explore living alcohol free. I have become passionate about helping people to find freedom, which comes from living an alcohol free life. Today I am currently training to be a certified coach. Bring on 2023!
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Inspiring- thank you
Great achievement Ericka. 😊
Wow!!! I am so inspired by you; your story!! I’m on Day 14 of just putting distance between myself and my moderate “daily glass of wine or cocktail “. It’s tough.. everyday I want a drink.. yet.. I feel too good to have one.. I hope this lasts for me.. ✨. Stay strong! And thank you for sharing!!
It’s the truth, giving up alcohol has to much upside to ignore
Congrats on your story and working on yourself.
Rob, 8 years alcohol free.
Thank you for sharing your story Ericka. 🙏🌸
Thank you Kaylene ❤️
hi there. I envy your grit. I feel the same but the something that stops me is so intrinsic in me I can’t get out of the loop..round and round I go resolution failure repeat…
Hey Catherine, sorry to hear you feel stuck. But the fact that you are still going round is hopeful, it means you just haven’t just given in to it, you are still trying. Stick with HSM and Daybreak. A focus on what you gain by stopping drinking and less on what you lose is a massive motivator, which is why this article was so good. Have a think about what would be the biggest gain for you. For me it was just being free of the mental chatter and rule making. (I’ll drink tonight, but then I definitely won’t tomorrow – followed by shame, regret, embarrassment, blah blah the list goes on). It’s a lovely thing to be free of that but you have to find something that speaks to you. But please don’t be down on yourself. You can’t self-criticise yourself alcohol free! It just doesn’t work. Hang in there. A magnificent sober life awaits 😀
I can completely relate to the feeling of going round and round on alcohol merry go round Catherine. I knew I wanted help for a long time and when I finally found help at This Naked Mind through Annie Grace life as I knew it completely changed.
Change is on the other side of awareness. Without awareness, you cannot change the habit cycle. Be kind to yourself. Through education, support, community and a compassion based approach you can find freedom. Please look up Annie’s book and find her community. It has been so inspiring for me I’m training to be an alcohol freedom coach. You are on the right Path. Sending love your way ❤️
Well told Ericka, I love your enthusiasm and your comment that change is the other side of awareness. I know my future will be brighter now I have also made the decision to no longer bother with alcohol. Binge drinking can be just as harmful as daily drinking in its own way. Wishing you all the best!
Indeed, change is on the other side of awareness. Without awareness, we cannot change. Willpower is also time and resource limited. Alcohol is essentially ethanol and any amount we put in our body is harmful. Community, education around alcohol and support is so important.
Great to see you leaning into the support here at HSM. For additional support look up This Naked Mind and Annie Grace. Her research and methodology has changed my life. I no longer feel the need to drink alcohol. No willpower required. Sending you love and compassion in your journey.
Great read. Your story is so similar to mine Ericka! October 2021 is when I last drank alcohol. Like you – I’m still doing the work on me too – and understanding more and loving more about myself as I go. And I’m so grateful to have reached the point where I have no desire to drink anymore – I’m so much better for it. It hasn’t always been easy – but it has gotten easier. Thanks for sharing x
Thank you Allyson. congratulations on being AF! so awesome. Getting to do the work after being AF is a gift and good luck on your journey 👏
I am so happy for you that you have found freedom from alcohol Allyson. Congratulations! Huge celebration 🎉 it’s not easy and so worth it. You will probably also be finding that the work after becoming AF is so rewarding and yet it can be so challenging too. Stay the course as you are totally and completely worth it. I’m still leaning into my This Naked Mind community for support through living my best life in the other side of alcohol. All the best in your journey 💕
Thanks for sharing your story Ericka! You are an inspiration to me, also heading in that direction- but not there yet. All the best to you.
Thank you Sue! Change is on the other side of awareness and you’re here and so aware. You’ve got this! Please look up This Naked Mind as another support on your journey as it changed my life. Through education, community and a compassion based approach change and freedom from alcohol is possible. Find your Path. We’re here to support you xx
Sue also check out the Present and Sober podcast with Sam and Ellie. Lots of great info covered 💕
Congratulations, Ericka! That’s a great story, very inspiring. Keep living the alcohol free life 🙂
Thank for your support Bettina 💕
Thanks for sharing. A wonderful story.
Thank you Diane 💕
thank you for your contribution and: how wonderful that you were able to leave drinking behind. Congratulations! Certainly not everyone has to stop drinking completely. But if you feel that drinking harms you, if alcohol generates more bad than good in your life, then it is certainly time to think about yourself and your cherished habits – as you have done. Then, if there have been multiple attempts at “controlled” drinking, it’s wise to say “‘Adieu!” to drinking alcohol completely. Great job by you. Cool.
It is possible, I think, that among the many, many onion layers – as you write – you will find reasons why you drank so much and so often for so long. Maybe you will also find … nothing – and realize how much the alcohol itself was the problem. Alcohol – this bitter experience I also made for decades – is one of the most addictive substances. If you drink often, gladly and a lot of it, the development of addiction is almost pre-programmed. It is therefore very possible that it was not your fault – but the alcohol. That the problem is not you or your personal history, but the chemical molecule “ethanol”. Presumably you are o.k. – but certainly not the alcohol.
All the best…
Thank you for all your encouraging words Tom. I agree with you alcohol is ethanol and after educating myself I didn’t want to be drinking fuel which essentially poisons my body. It is the most addictive substance that’s positively marketed to the whole of society. Crazy. Becoming addicted is not my fault or anyone else’s. I’m all about giving grace and compassion to myself and others on this AF journey. Education, compassion and community are key to learning to be free from alcohol.
Congratulations keep up the good work!
Thank you Phil ❤️
Hi Ericka, you post is inspiring, I too struggle with drinking, I have depression and GAD, which I cannot get no help, no matter how many referrals my gp writes, everyone is booked up and refuses to see me, I feel so lost, I drink nearly everyday to numb my pain as if I drink enough I will fall asleep in the middle of the day so as to forget my pain, did you get help to stop you drinking or did you do it on your own strength, my life is in a spiral which I have no idea how to get out of, Covid took all the psychologist and psychiatrist appointments away from people that need them, I would love to hear your response
We are very sorry for what you are all going through. The journey to recovery can be complex and challenging and the impact can take a toll both physically and emotionally.
We recommend that you reach out to the National Alcohol and Drugs Hotline where they may be able to direct you to services and support in your area that you might be able to access.
National Alcohol and Drugs Hotline: 1800 250 015
You can also access links to services and support on our website including:
24/7 Telephone Support: 13 11 14
Online Crisis Chat: https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/online-services/crisis-chat
24/7 Telephone support: 1300 22 4636
It is very important that you look after yourself and we hope that you receive the care and support that is most appropriate to your needs asap.
The HSM Clinical Team
Hi Colleen. Thank you for reaching out. I too reached out for help over the years and it wasn’t until I found This Naked Mind and Annie Graces work that I was able to find freedom from alcohol. Please look up her work. I learned to be AF through education, support, community and a compassion based approach.
I also had anxiety in spades. It’s so common among drinkers. Anxiety is part of the cycle and when I broke the cycle I found my anxiety reduced and now being AF I rarely get anxiety. I’m learning through doing the work on myself after being AF to manage and deal with my emotions and feelings which I used alcohol to ouch down before.
Be kind to yourself. Change is on the other side of awareness. You are already aware that alcohol Is not playing a positive role in your life. Give yourself grace and compassion. Connect with This Naked Mind. I wish you all the best in your journey.
Also check out the Present and Sober podcast with Sam and Ellie. You’ll find amazing information covered. 💕
Congratulations Ericka on you story, and courage to speak about it, keep up the good work.
Thank you so much Pat ❤️
It’s amazing how much better we all feel. How much stronger we are and capable of dealing with anything life throws at us. Congratulations on reaching your freedom. It’s not alway easy but wow it is worh it xxx
Thanks Helen. The journey is so worth it. I never in my wildest dreams thought being AF would be so good. Life is good!