206 Days Without Wine

Lebo Pule did our Sober Spring Challenge in 2019 – and look where she is now – well done Lebo – we’re so proud of you!


Do you know what day 200 of lock down meant for me? It meant that I was on day 206 of no wine –  I looked at that number with disbelief.

Disbelief because there was a time in my life when I could never, ever go a weekend without my beloved wine. My beautiful chilled glass of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. I am smiling and shaking my head as I type this sentence. I have had wine every weekend from age 27. Every weekend! That is 17 years of wine every weekend. That is how normal it was for me, this is how normal it is for many people.

It was only around late 2016 and early 2017 that this ‘normal’ and ‘sophisticated’ lifestyle of drinking expensive wine started to bother me. A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled WHY WINE NO LONGER SERVES MEabout how starting Stretch School and deepening in my teaching work was somehow a catalyst to this realization of how abnormal my wine drinking had become. You can read that article when you get a moment. For today, I just want to share some of the major shifts and literal changes in my body, mind and emotional well being since 200 days ago. The changes that make an alcohol-free life a super power life.

1. The Drag Madness Stopped.

Alcohol is a drag, guys, like literally it is a depressant meant to press you down long after the buzz has gone. Think about it, if you start your wine drinking moment on a Thursday, #PhuzaThursday, like I did and you drink… uhm let’s say a bottle, then another bottle on Friday and obviously on Saturday and Sunday. Your blood has alcohol in it for 4 days out of 7 days in a week. Then Monday is the withdrawal day, even when it’s not intense, even when it seems like you are functioning fine. Tuesday you start to feel a little better, only on Wednesday do you feel like yourself again. But then guess what, it’s Thursday again – the cycle of drag begins. You never truly feel like yourself, but you don’t know that you feel like yourself because of that vicious cycle.  It was madness.

2. Productivity and Creativity Increases

I have always been a hard-working person, I never shy away from work. So, imagine my surprise when I could produce more than I did. Why? Because my mind and body no longer have to deal with a toxin in the blood stream. With a clear mind, comes creative thoughts and insights, I really don’t know how to explain it. Creative thoughts brought about productivity in both my work life and personal life. Now I finally understand why we need to be ‘sober as a judge’.

3. My Anxiety Levels Dropped

This one truly surprised me. So all along I thought I was drinking wine ‘socially’ but in reality it was a numbing mechanism because I have been through some intense times. This numbing juice became part of my life so much so that I thought it was helping my anxiety and stress. Meanwhile, it was  actually making the anxiety worse. Google alcohol and anxiety and you’ll see. Alcohol is like adding petrol to the anxiety fire. This was indeed a pleasant surprise, I am still not anxiety free but boy am I better now.  I can actually get a grip now and calm myself. I can self-sooth now, whereas before I used to grab a glass of wine.

4. The Weight is Dropping

A week ago I was looking at my pictures and I can see a significant weight drop. Someone even asked if I am Banting again… Nope it’s all the alcohol kilos melting away. Alcohol also adds to bad diet, the more we drink the more bad food choices we make.

5. No More Puffy Face

Have you seen my face lately? Slim, less puffy and inflamed. I used to think it was sinuses, which it was but actually it was the wine that inflamed my sinuses which made my face puffy in mornings. No more of that. A welcome change.

6. The Most Restful Sleep

One of the worst things about drinking my beloved wine were those 3am wakey- wakey moments on Sunday with churning stomach and pounding headache and a touch of nausea. If you don’t know these, your drinking is fine my friend. If you know them, and experience them, let me tell you they disappear into the sunset. What you are left with is a restful, rejuvenating, restorative sleep.

7. Saving Money

I have an expensive taste in certain things, wine was one of them. I would not drink any bottle that is less than R70, I considered those cheap wines… so yeah. I am saving money.

Lastly, while the last 206 days of being wine-free have changed me profoundly, I am still not sure if I have completely quit drinking the beautiful wine or not. Right now, I am just enjoying the benefits and have absolutely no craving for wine whatsoever. I survived the re-opening of bottle stores with no difficulty but I have a Jo’burg trip next week… So we wait and see what triggers Jo’burg brings up. Whatever happens, I promise I will come back here and share.

Love and Green lights to you,


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