One Year Without a Drink's post is a little bit different. It has nothing to do with fashion and beauty, but more about lifestyle. I woke up this morning and felt strange; then it hit me...I haven't had a drink for one whole year. April 7, 2015 was the day I had my last drink. The first picture was from 2014 and the second picture was in 2016. Little did I know that such a decision would change my life in such an enormous way. About a year and a half ago, I started to have sever stomach issues and was constantly in a lot of pain. I had been to many doctors, went gluten free, tried every medicine, and every natural cleanse you could think of. Nothing really seemed to work long term. I soon discovered that alcohol gave me shooting stomach pain and I thought the good times were just not worth it. Now, no one would have considered me an alcoholic, but I was desperate to get this stomach problem figured out. So I went cold turkey and cut out alcohol. 

Let me begin by saying I am not against alcohol. I am a huge fan of a good margarita on a hot day or happy hour with your girl friends after work. However, a year later, I am shocked at how my life has changed for the better and I don't think I'll ever go back.

1. I lost weight. When I turned 21, I thought my life had finally begun. I could go out to bars, let loose, meet new people, and have all the experiences I had ever dreamed of. And believe me, I took full advantage. For a solid amount of time I was going out Friday and Saturday, rain or shine. Unfortunately, the weight came along with me. I gained a solid 15 pounds and hated the way I looked. I felt fat and bloated most of the time. When I cut out alcohol, I lost that weight in about 2 months and started feeling comfortable in my own skin again.

2. I had more energy. Instead of spending the entire next day in bed, I was able to wake up at a decent hour and actually make something out of my day. I felt so much more productive and my life felt more put together. I began feeling like I had control over my weekends instead of just living for the nights out. It was amazing and empowering and I couldn't get enough. Who knew actually making it to brunch was so much fun?!

3. My skin got better. So much better. I remember looking in the mirror and having to cake on the makeup just to cover up the grey tones and dark circles. I had so much acne that it never felt smooth. I always had dark circles and no products seemed to work as good as the sales rep said they would. However, my skin quickly changed after giving up alcohol. It is now the smoothest I have ever felt it and has a healthy glow instead of a gross grey-yellow hue. Don't get me wrong, I still get acne, but it is so much more manageable. 

4. My relationships got better. It is amazing how my relationships with people changed. Being sober, along with many other life experiences, led me to realize that I indulged in many controlling and addictive relationships. Once my head became clearer, I was able to think straighter and make better decisions. I started putting myself first for the first time and left the unhealthy relationships to the wayside. The friends that only wanted to go out and drink became more distant and I had less but more meaningful ones. Which I was more than okay with. I feel more fulfilled with myself and my relationships and feel like I have better judgment. 

5. Less regret. Gone were the days of waking up hearing about my night from another person's point of view because I couldn't remember. Gone were the days of regretting what I had done the night before. And gone were the days of waking up feeling like shit...emotionally and physically. I remember that horrible gut wrenching feeling of not knowing what you did the night before. I would spend the entire next day hating on myself as I never left my bed. Ultimately, alcohol brought me down and took control of my emotions. Yes, I still have plenty of down days but they are not from a substance I am choosing to put into my body. I am more aware of my decisions and therefore, can think consciously before I make them. 

6. I put all my energy into my job. Being a first year teacher requires passion and dedication. Being sober has made it that much easier. I remember rolling out of bed trying to make it to my 9:00 am college class. I would throw my hair into a top knot, put on some yoga pants, grab a slice of cold pizza for breakfast and out the door I went. Looking back, I can't believe I lived like that. I have whole heartedly dedicated my life to my classroom and my 30 sweet third graders this year. I have been able to make use of every weekend and go to school every day with a full stomach, a good nights rest, and open arms. I have been able to give my students all of me and give them the best education I can and that is something that I am extremely proud of. 

7. I found a real hobby. Finding a balance in life has always been a struggle to me. I never really had something that I enjoyed. I had always focused my energy on school or now, work. In college, drinking was usually what I did with my friends in my free time. I felt like I never really took time for me. Being sober has helped me find peace and stability. I have discovered outlets in my life that make me unique and have pursued things I never thought I would. For example, I have always been into fashion and makeup but never thought I would do anything with it. However, this year I have reached far beyond my comfort zone and taken many leaps of faith. I started this blog and it has brought me so much joy and happiness that I never thought I would experience.