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OTI Listener Stories: Fiona


And the crazy thing is I can actually say it’s been one of the best years of my life!

Removing alcohol from my life has been so empowering.

In my teenage years I was pretty shy, so would drink for confidence and to fit in. Drinking alcohol was fun and I loved going out with friends socialising . It’s what everyone does, right?

I had always believed you needed alcohol to have fun.

Fast forward many years later and I found myself drinking to relax, de-stress and numb out emotions which started to turn into a regular habit. I would always justify my drinking and think it was ‘normal’ and that I wasn’t that bad. It's only when I tried to control this habit I realised it was starting to control me. Deep down I knew it was causing problems as one drink was never enough!

I had no off switch.

When I did drink it wasn’t fun anymore. I often let myself down, felt ashamed and made poor choices as well as the horrible side effects of blackouts, hangovers and wasted days. I was in the worst shape of my life physically and mentally. I did not feel proud at how I was living at all and only I could change this.

In 2015-16 I came across an advert for an alcohol-free community and I was intrigued straight away. I had never known anyone to be ’proud’ and ‘loving life’ whilst not drinking! I only felt shame, misery and left out.

So this is where my ‘journey’ started… many day 1’s and failed attempts and this continued to be the hamster wheel I was on for the next 6 years.

I can now proudly say for the first time ever in my life I’m about to hit one year without alcohol and I have never felt better.

I’ve found a passion for getting out on the hills, open water swimming and mountain biking. I even enjoy the gym now.

There are so many benefits including:

• Being a better mother, partner & friend

• Better mental health and more clarity

• Improved sleep.

• Less anxiety

• Maintaining a healthier weight

• Trusting myself

• No more hangovers and blackouts

• Saving money

Having good people around me cheering me on means I’m much more braver to talk about sobriety. I now understand the importance of meaningful connection.

Find your tribe!

The Instagram sober community is AMAZING. Everyone is so encouraging as we all understand the grey area of drinking.

I’ve been doing lots of inner work this last year and I’m finally finding my true authentic self without the haze of alcohol lurking over me.

There is such a stigma around alcohol. It's the only substance we are questioned over if we take a break or give it up. I guess I wish as a society we would show the same support to someone who had, let’s say… given up smoking! Maybe then people would not feel embarrassed or ridiculed by choosing not to drink.

My hope for the future is to continue my alcohol-free journey and graduate as an Accredited Coach with Andy Ramage in October 2021, specialising in the alcohol-free zone.

I want to take everything I’ve learned and experienced to support others who may find themselves in the same situation as me.

I’m past the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) stage and now realise that I’m gaining so much more in life.


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