Live your best life

Written by Annabel Stewart

I thought I was going to vomit!

I was training for a half marathon, and was halfway through a sprint session with my training buddy. The sun was just starting to rise on another glorious day in the Whitsundays.

We’d been training for two months and had a month left before the fundraising 21km run for
Heartkids Australia.

We were working our way through a great 12-week training schedule, including hill starts,
steady pace runs and long slow runs.

We even had a weekly circuit session in the gym with a coach who had kindly donated his time
once a week to work on our core strength.

We were getting better every week and out fitness was really improving.

Fitness wasn’t the problem.

The problem was my drinking.

I’d drunk two bottles of Chablis the night before, and after the last arm-pumping 100m dash, it was
threatening to come back up.

I didn’t know what to do. I had promised myself I wouldn’t drink the night before. Definitely not.
No. No wine because I had training at 5am the next day, before we’d whizz home to shower, tag
our husbands and get the kids ready for school and us for work. And I really wanted to nail this
challenge, to push myself, to see if I could run this far.

But even though my resolve to not drink had been super strong at the start of the day, and
through the morning and into lunch, by midafternoon I could feel myself start to crumble.
Could picture that cold glass, beaded with condensation. Smell the sharp fruitiness. Taste
the tang of the first sip. Feel that light headedness as all my cares lifted away. And I knew I wouldn’t
be able to resist, I knew when I got home, I would get to the fridge and pour myself a glass.

I loved it, but I hated it.

I felt so trapped and unhappy. I knew the alcohol was affecting me and my health, but I couldn’t seem to cut back. Drinking used to be fun, an adventure. Now it seemed like it was closing my life down. It was stopping me having this new adventure that I so badly wanted.

Alcohol is so sneaky. It seems like such harmless fun, and everyone does it. It can’t be that bad,
surely? But when we look closer, there are a lot of parallels with how smoking was integrated into
society a few years ago. There’s that growing awareness that there is a darker underside.

The suspicion that maybe we don’t have to “hit bottom” to be addicted. That maybe our health
is compromised every time we take a drink. That despite the “red wine is good for you” rhetoric,
there is no safe limit.

I didn’t vomit that day. I got my act together enough to finish the training, then ran 21km in
just over two hours with my buddy and raise thousands of dollars for Heartkids Australia.

I went on to ditch the drink too, and I’m as proud of that as I am of our run. Another adventure –
and much more liberating and amazing than I ever dreamed.

There are many ways to feel our best and live our best lives, and you don’t have to run 21km or
stop drinking forever.

But making some changes that feel right for you can transform your life.

What’s your next adventure?