Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Confessions of a Dryathlete

As I write this post I am nine days away from completing my first challenge of 2014.  On January 1st I began my alcohol free month as part of Cancer Research UK's Dryathalon.

In April last year I successfully completed another alcohol free month, however I found that particular month to be one of my toughest challenges.  I realised then that I was in a bad 'wine o'clock' habit, opening a bottle of Chardonnay at 6pm on a Friday without a passing thought.  It took all my strength to commit to that challenge and last the month - so how would I cope this time as a Dryathlete?

I remember as I wrote that post last year, how worried I was that I sounded like a raging alcoholic by the way I justified my weekend drinking.  This wasn't helped when I took the Drinkaware online quiz and came out at binge drinker level!  I honestly didn't drink that much either, just wine on a Friday and/or Saturday night.

Unfortunately doing that particular challenge still didn't hit home with me and I soon resumed my Friday night habit.

It was as I read Della Galton's 'Ice and a Slice' that I began to think seriously about my alcohol intake.  This book really touched a nerve for me and when I wrote my review on Amazon it came from the heart -

'Never has a character had such an impact on me before.  I was hooked from the first page and as the story unfolded I couldn't work out if I was reading fiction or a self-help book!  I could relate so much to SJ.  Her pain, denials, her constant inner monologue of self-doubt all resonated with my own life, as if Della had crawled into my brain and picked at my thoughts.  I would highly recommend this book - a fantastic read.'

The book has received over fifty, five star reviews and follows Sarah-Jane's story as she attends an addiction clinic in a bid to prove that she doesn't have a drinking problem.  Having to deal with the complicated fall-out with her sister and her friend Tanya's issues is just part of her daily life and anyone would need an extra glass or two of wine to cope, wouldn't they?

Check out Della's website for more of her books or find her at or

I do of course understand the difference between a fiction novel and reality, but after reading Ice and a Slice I found myself questioning if I really did need that Friday night wine. 

Around the same time I was speaking with one of my reflexology clients, Jane, who gave up alcohol for her fortieth birthday.  Another friend gave up drinking two weeks before Christmas and is still sticking to it, even Della, author of Ice and a Slice has been alcohol free for eight years.

Did they all know something I didn't?

In my mind I knew that the Cancer Research Dryathlon was a month long challenge but as I approach February I am feeling more determined to carry it on and see if I can go twelve months alcohol free.

Della's thought provoking book and my inspirational clients certainly prove that there is life after alcohol and even though I have only been 'dry' for three weeks I can already notice a difference:-
  • Weight loss
  • No fuzzy head on a Saturday or Sunday morning
  • I have more energy
  • I am up and about early at the weekends and making the most of my time
  • My concentration has improved
  • No more adult acne!
When I tackled an alcohol free month last year I was in a totally different place - what a difference eight months can make - having a genuine reason to give up has kick started something in my brain and I am in a happier, more confident place to tackle this challenge throughout 2014 and beyond.

There is still time to donate on my Dryathlete page and help raise money for Cancer Research UK, thank you.

I would love to hear from you if you have taken part in the Dryathlon, let me know how you are coping and if you too have noticed any benefits of being alcohol free.


  1. That's a fantastic post, Shelley. Well done on your quest and I am sure you will complete it. It's interesting isn't it - this is an issue that's in the news a lot lately and rightly so I think. There is a school of thought, isn't there, that says if alcohol were invented today it wouldn't be legal. Now I am not anti alcohol. I think it's a great way to relax and unwind. But I wrote Ice and a Slice because for me it was no longer that. It had become something much more sinister. I had trouble finding a sympathetic book about women and alcohol abuse when I gave up. There was such a taboo - and still is I think - about women who drink too much, As if we are somehow more socially unacceptable than men who do it. And we are all human. Absolutely anyone can have a problem with alcohol as I have learned. It cuts across class, money, education barriers. If you have a problem it can be lethal. And I don't think women should be ashamed to stand up and be counted if they have - or once had a problem. Phew! I didn't realise I felt so passionate about it. Anyway, good luck, and to everyone else out there who struggles. love Dellax

  2. Thank you Della, your passion certainly shines through in Ice and a Slice. You are absolutely right about drinking becoming sinister, this was the feeling that surrounded me every weekend and the reason I knew the time was right to give up. Thank you for being such an inspiration. X