“It changed me. It changed everything.” Fiona’s story of growth, understanding and empowerment.

Giving up drinking is hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Drinking had become highly problematic for me and it was impacting every single area and aspect of my life. I was so unhappy and I just couldn’t see a way out.

In the end, it was an easy decision, but it was not an easy process to get to that point. It took years, to be honest. I remember how terrifying it was, not knowing how I would ever be able to do it. But I did do it. And what it opened up for me…it changed me. It changed everything.

Since that time, my life has improved on every single marker you can possibly measure. And over a decade later, there are still some mornings when I wake up and feel grateful that I don’t have a hangover.

After years of trying to moderate and make rules around my drinking, by the time I decided to choose happiness for my life and enlisted the support of Hello Sunday Morning (in January 2013) it wasn’t even a hard decision, because there really wasn’t another choice to be made.

A bottle of wine a day (and counting) had become my normal and my first drink was getting earlier and earlier each day. It had always been a bit like this for me, but somehow, I had been able to function and achieve things in my life. But it was like the wheels were really starting to fall off, the hangovers were getting worse and a real sense of fear and desperation was starting to pervade my life.

This was not how it was meant to be.

My children were tiny, I felt like I wasn’t mothering properly. I was overweight, unfit, unhealthy, unhappy in my relationship and I had completely lost my confidence in my ability to get any of it right. I struggled to get work and just couldn’t see a way out of our financial situation.

This was not how I had planned or wanted to live my life, and certainly not the life I wanted for my children. The truth was, I never had a plan for my life. I had just drifted along and hoped somehow that things would pan out for me and I would be happy and successful in life.

As I was to come to understand, I had created this reality in my life – and this was incredibly powerful knowledge for me. It meant that I could do something about it if I stopped blaming other people for my problems and instead started taking 100% full and complete responsibility for my life.

Fast forward to today – after a lifetime of feeling like a victim in my life – I’m proud to share:

  • I do not drink alcohol and have not had a drink since January 2013
  • I have loving, thriving and positive relationships
  • I am the fittest, healthiest and happiest I have ever been
  • I operate and show up from a position of empowered living and have people, tools and practices to support me
  • I built a business from the ground up, helping other people change their lives, teaching all I have learned and implemented in my own life and business
  • I have written and published two books
  • I am the host of two podcasts (just about to launch my third)
  • I have reconnected with my faith, which brings me untold peace and joy
  • I took a stand for me.

For me, the real significance of quitting alcohol was not in terms of what I stopped doing. It was what I decided to do instead – meditation. So, while giving up drinking was a very important thing for me to do, it was the meditation that created the real space for me to start to make real changes in my life. Meditation opened me up to exploring other ways of understanding myself.

I became more aware of the way I thought – understanding that I am not my thoughts. I stopped believing every single thought in my head, or obsessively thinking about it, or using whatever means available to deny or suppress it. In my head, my life was a nightmare, and this was mirrored back to me from the world around. My meditation practice has evolved over the years, with the benefits becoming more profound as I expanded my practice.

Here’s the thing…I am no different to you. Just like you, I am a human being, who has thoughts and also experiences emotion, and perhaps, just like you, I muddled my way through this life. But I came to the conclusion that the way I was operating and the way I was living my life just wasn’t working. It was time to find a better way. It was time to start taking responsibility for my life, where it was heading and to really start playing my game to the best of my ability.

I had to quieten all the chatter, chaos and problems lurking in my head. Through the simple practice of meditation, I was able to connect with my heart and begin to look at things from a place of acceptance, compassion and forgiveness. Within myself, I began to feel calm and centred, optimistic, and hopeful, even as the chaos still ravaged around me in the external world.

It was from this place that I was able to change my story and perspective. The deeper I accepted, the more I shifted my perspective, the happier my life became. I realised that happiness is to be found in overcoming the obstacles and challenges in our lives, not in the absence of them.

I wanted to know more, I wanted to understand more, and I wanted to have a different experience for my life. I wanted to know my potential, connect with the potential of who I could become in this lifetime and what I could achieve. I committed to meditating everyday. I knew drinking wasn’t the problem (I was using it to try and quieten the noise and chaos). The drinking was simply a consequence of other things.

I discovered that “the thing” which we think is “the thing”, is never the thing. Somehow, given the circumstances I had found myself in at that time, I knew that I had to look deep within myself for what my life had become. And the last decade has been the most incredibly enriching, empowering and enlightening experience of my life.

Not once – seriously, not once – have I regretted my decision to stop drinking. I am not here to sell you a quick fix or a magic potion. Instead, I am here to tell you that any kind of change requires consistent effort and focus, dedication and perseverance, patience and vigilance, and the determination to keep going, even when it feels like there is no point, no point at all. However, when you are clear in your mind, when you have a vision, when you are willing to do whatever it takes to create a different reality for yourself, then the process of becoming makes it all worthwhile.

If you are feeling ashamed about your drinking, please know that you are not on your own. If you don’t know how you could ever possibly stop and you cannot even begin to imagine a life without alcohol, it’s ok, I’ve been there. I understand. No judgement from me.

When you decide that enough is enough, when you really make the decision that you are going to do this, no matter what, an opening is created. You’ll discover that you don’t have to do it on your own. You’ll experience a life that is so much better without drinking, and it is not even something that can be put into words.

You’ve got this.

 

22 Comments

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  • Thankyou Fiona for such an inspirational article
    I’d like to give meditation a try. Any tips on how to get started? Joy

    By Joy Anderson
    |
    May 26, 2024
    • Hello Joy, thanks for your message. That’s so great you’d like to give meditation a go. There are millions of guided meditations available on Youtube, or through apps like Insight Timer or Headspace.

      You can come and connect with me on Insight Timer (Fiona Redding @thehappihunter), there are a number of guided meditations you can listen in on there.

      And remember – meditation is a practice, it’s hard for everyone at the start, but we can all do it, and we get better with practice.

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • Fiona I love this piece of writing. Your story resonated very deeply with me. I’m very happy for you that you have achieved this amazing life for yourself. Not beating yourself up during the time that it took to get to the moment you launched on this new life, that must be one of the hardest things when working towards creating change. I don’t drink a huge amount but I think it would be great for me to stop altogether because I can see the benefits for my life. You make these very clear for anyone. Thank you!

    By Kate
    |
    May 26, 2024
    • soooooooooo many benefits. Really nothing to lose and everything to gain. All the best Kate x

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • Thank you for sharing your story Fiona. It has many similarities to my own. You are a source of hope and inspiration to anyone considering breaking up with alcohol.

    By Nikki Bognuda
    |
    May 26, 2024
    • Thanks Nikki, it’s a good break to make 🙂

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • What an amazing and truly inspirational story. Thanks for sharing. I really like your words.

    By Eve
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    May 26, 2024
    • Thanks Eve.

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • I loved this story. Thanks so much for sharing. I quit 7 years ago. At the time I stopped, I was overweight, in debt, anxious and overwhelmed by life. Fast forward 7 years. I managed to grow my business and sell it giving me financial stability. I am fitter, healthier and happier than I have ever been and like you, I run a podcast with my brother where we discuss our respective experiences of quitting. Your thoughts on meditation are fascinating. I meditate also but I am not as religious as I think perhaps I should be. Did you use an app or did you attend a course to help with meditation I wonder?

    By Mark Kerrison
    |
    May 26, 2024
  • What a great share. Thank you so much! Your story is so me. I am really struggling right now. I want to quit so bad, but can’t see a life without it at the moment. I think I’m reaching out which feels good. Once again, thanks for your story. All the best,
    M

    By Mark
    |
    May 26, 2024
    • Mark – I responded to Amy’s comment with some other ways you can connect with me – books, podcast and meditations. Throw everything at it – it can be so tough and the more you immerse yourself in new information, new understandings and new ways of being, and setting yourself up for success, the easier it is to stick at it. Fiona x

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • Thank you for sharing your story ❤️

    By John Herbert
    |
    May 27, 2024
    • It’s truly a pleasure, John. We see ourselves in others stories. Fiona x

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • You are an amazing inspiration thank you ♥️

    By Annie McMahon
    |
    May 27, 2024
    • Hope it helps you on your way, Annie. Fiona x

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • Thankyou SO MUCH for your story Fiona….. I related to so many things and am coming up to 6 yrs sober but haven’t seemed to have found the peace that you have and I’m reaching out to you-I’m not on facebook or instagram….is there any way you can recommend some meditations , are your books available and are your podcasts about this subject….
    I would so appreciate this…..

    By Amy
    |
    May 27, 2024
    • Hi Amy, congrats on your 6 years. Such a great achievement. And it can be even better 🙂

      You can check out The Happiness Hunter podcast, it’s on all the podcasting platforms and if you go to episode 1 that’s a good starting point.

      Also for meditations, am a teacher on Insight Timer (search Fiona Redding @thehappihunter)

      You can check out my new book It Is Possible: letting go of who you think you are, to create the life of your dreams – it’s available on all the online book retailers and also as an audio book on Audible and all the other book streaming places too.

      Also you are welcome to send me an email fiona@thehappinesshunter.com

      Love, Fiona x

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • Dear Fiona
    I feel so inspired after reading your story,especially in regards to meditation and your faith. I have been trying for years to moderate and control my drinking, but I have now come to the realisation that I need to completely abstain.
    Thank-you for sharing your story.
    I am determined to take my life back .

    Marita xx

    By Marita Schubert
    |
    May 28, 2024
    • Marita – the effort involved in moderation can be exhausting. Early on in this journey, I met St Augustine, and his words really landed for me and helped me understand it all a bit better.

      “For many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation” .

      Wishing you peace.

      Fiona x

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
  • Thanks for sharing Fiona. Your story is a powerful one that after reading it,I am having another go at giving up drinking. I read over your story when I need a little pep talk to keep going.

    By Eve
    |
    June 5, 2024
    • Eve – check out The Happiness Hunter podcast – it’s on all the podcasting platforms. Begin with episode 1.

      Keep going. Fiona x

      By Fiona Redding
      |
      June 8, 2024
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