Hey! I’m Shannan Brooke, known on Insta as Boozeless Brooke and I’ve been alcohol free for nearly a year. I knew from the day I made the decision to give alcohol the boot that I would still want to live my life the way I had; still be able to go bars, restaurants and festivals with friends and family AND simply make better and healthier drink choices when out and about. The past year I’ve really made it my mission to try as many of Australia’s non-alcoholic beverages as possible to find the best and share them with the community.
Why I choose the term Alcohol Free:
A year ago, I decided to cut alcohol out of my life originally as an experiment, but it quickly turned into the realisation that I would never drink again. I had been a binge drinker throughout my 20’s but the last few years I found myself drinking more and more. I’m sure I’m not the only one who turned to alcohol to ‘relieve’ my boredom during lockdowns and then ‘celebrate’ my freedom when life returned to normality! I was drinking every weekend and all my social events seemed to revolve around getting drunk. Safe to say it was a bit of a shock to many around me when I started to say ‘no thanks’ to alcohol at social events.
I gave up alcohol because of two reasons; the first being that I was sick and tired of always feeling low, sluggish and the hangovers seemed to get worse every year.
The second reason was thanks to listening to the science behind what alcohol does to your body on the Huberman Lab podcast. (If you haven’t listened to it, a word of warning-it will change the way you think about alcohol for good!). I had always known that alcohol wasn’t ‘great’ for me but hadn’t opened my eyes to how much harm it was doing to my mind and body. I was determined to start feeling my best and give my body a break after all the years of binge drinking I had done in my 20’s.
A few days into cutting out alcohol I found that I liked to use a particular term to describe my reasons for giving it up. I classed myself as ‘sober curious’, which is about recognizing drinking habits and acting on that understanding, whether that means cutting out all alcohol, or just not drinking on weekdays.
Being “sober curious” has become an empowering trend and there’s a lot of hype around people experimenting with giving up or cutting back on alcohol. So, with the sober curious movement growing rapidly I started to think that it’s important we acknowledge that for many people sobriety isn’t a health trend or lifestyle choice but a matter of life and death.
So, a few weeks later, when I decided to give up alcohol for good, I decided to use the phrase ‘alcohol free’. To me being alcohol free doesn’t mean the same as sober. Being sober means being free from alcoholism, not habitually drinking alcohol, while being alcohol free means not serving, consuming, or involving alcoholic drinks.
I was not ‘addicted’ to alcohol and my consumption of it could be moderated to some extent. My choices to binge drink really boiled down to social pressures and my lack of confidence in the person I would be without it. So, for me the difference is that it wasn’t a life-or-death choice. I consider my life now as having a freedom from alcohol and how my life revolved around it. I also feel free from my own limiting beliefs around what I would be losing if I gave up alcohol, like my friends, my social life, my ‘fun side’, instead of how much I would gain-my happiest, healthiest self.
Choosing to give up alcohol was one of the most liberating decisions of my life. I no longer plan my weekends around drinking, budget on consuming copious amounts of alcohol, and worry about wasting days hungover in bed. I have so much more time, clarity, and energy now that alcohol doesn’t ‘rule’ my days. Today’s society seems to glamourise alcohol and the way we consume it, from chic and successful women posing with martinis on the front of magazines to movies making it seem like getting ‘wasted’ is a fun way to spend your night. So, to break away from those social norms and prove to yourself that you don’t need that drink and your life can be just as good, if not better without it is truly freeing.
Everyone will pick a phrase that fits them and their own unique situations, and there should be no judgment on any that you choose. At the end of the day whatever word you feel fits you, we all fall under the same category: NOT DRINKING ALCOHOL.
A huge shout out to Brooke for sharing her amazing story. Follow her at @boozeless_brooke on Instagram.
If you would like to tell your story or you are an expert in something that could help others in their sobriety then please email firstname.lastname@example.org