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Deliberate Sobriety - Why I Now Choose This and Love It!

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

I’ve been sober now for almost 18 months. When I tell people this, they often say things like: “Ohh I’m sorry, glad to hear you’re better now”.

That’s because we are in a society that assumes that if you don’t drink, or say you’re sober, that you’re (or were) an alcoholic.

And that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many people are choosing this way of living. Making a choice that is right for them. Not one that is based on societal views, and expectations, and pressures.

When speaking about my choice, I now say that statement “I choose deliberatesobriety”. That mostly gets people talking – saying that it sounds interesting and inquiring why.

It’s interesting how many women tell me they wish that they could do it, or think that they should do it.

For me, it’s a way a life. It’s a choice. And as a result, I have been able to step into my truer potential, improve my health / mood / body composition, and basically show up for the last 500+ days with zero hangovers or brain fog.

It’s been amazing.

It started as a year long experiment with my gorgeous husband.

We wanted to see firstly how long we could last, and what it would be like. I’ll share with you in my next email (on Tuesday) how we got started – as I know that’s often an issue for people.

But about 3 months in, I had made my mind up that I loved this way of living and there was no turning back. It was around that time that I didn’t miss it.

Now when I’m around people I don’t even think twice about it. My brain has done some magic and rewired pathways no doubt, and my gut knows what’s good for it and wants to avoid it. Just on that – what do they sterilise surgical equipment with? That’s right, alcohol as it kills all the bugs. Just think about that a bit longer when you are working out if you want that drink – what would your healthy gut bugs say? Mine don’t like it. Neither does my liver, having to process all that ethanol.

But that’s another story… Here's how I got started on my journey of choosing deliberate sobriety.

  1. Made the decision and got clear on my why. I was clear that it was for a long period of time (12 months) – I suggest you choose 3+ months at a minimum. Anchoring on your why is critical – why are you doing this? Mine was crystal clear. With teenage kids and a young daughter with an autoimmune disease, we wanted to be great role models. For our little one, imagine how much of a hypocrite I’d be as she grew up saying ‘alcohol is bad’ yet I’m consuming each and every week. So once I got clear on those 2 things, it was think about making the changes.

  2. We used to have a gin and tonic or red wine on the weekend and often some weeknights. To start with, Dan bought non-alcoholic options, so we had a substitute and weren’t deprived. Some were good, others dreadful. We did that for about 2 weeks until we decided it was almost like drinking cordial.

  3. Then we changed our “substitute” for mineral water with lemon, pomegranate juice or coconut water. That lasted for about 2 weeks or so and then fizzled out.

  4. Then we had nothing, just filtered water. Changing that habit, I thought would’ve been almost impossible for us, as it was a social thing for us to do and connect at home at the end of a busy week. But by slowly working through substitutions, and then moving towards our new normal (of tea and filtered water) it was much easier than I thought.

  5. I swear now my brain has rewired and my gut bugs are happy, so I have no desire whatsoever to drink it. We have a cupboard full of some lovely wines, perhaps we will start gifting them soon?...

Drop me a note, I'd love to know your reflections / thoughts / ah-has :)

Vanessa Vanderhoek is a functional medicine nutritionist specializing in the gut microbiome, biochemistry and nutrigenomics. She helps people to regain their health by taking a “food as medicine” approach that's unique to their body.

Whilst based in Canberra (Australia), Vanessa sees clients around the world in her virtual clinic. To get started book an initial consultation by clicking here.


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