I learnt the art of storytelling off a good friend of mine and a proud Thungutti man, Warren Roberts.
Warren is an indigenous Australian who runs an organisation called YARN Australia and his vision is to unite indigenous and non-indigenous Australians through conversation (or yarns). You can check his website out here.
I’ll write more about that down the track, for now though, I want to tell you a juicy little story…. my story, starting from when I overcame some really degenerative habits.
Bad Drinking Habits
Imagine it’s the end of 2018… I’ve just come out of a long term relationship which had led to some not so great drinking habits. My family has a bit of history with alcohol so this is something I wanted to curb as quickly as possible.
I found this guy Benny Wallington on LinkedIn.
He was always on there talking about optimising drinking habits and it was really funny because he never wore a shirt. He called it #linkedinlidsoff and I thought it was epic.
Anyway, after following Benny for a while on LinkedIn I decided to attend one of his workshops in Sydney CBD.
I went along and found the night super interesting. I downloaded the app he had called 101 Tokens where you could keep track of your drinking habits and rate your sessions with a yay or nay.
I found out pretty quickly my drinking habits were shit and I was having a lot more nays than yays so I ended up coming off the app and coming off the booze altogether.
I committed myself to a year sober. (AKA the single biggest self regeneration commitment of my life.)
I also reached out to let him know I’d be keen to get involved with his business 101 Tokens.
Benny frothed on the idea so I started an unofficial internship and we kicked off a little project at the start of 2019 called Friday Drinks Club.
Once a month on a Friday Night we set up a small group of people that would get together and have a few drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic , and share a space for safe and inclusive conversation around boozing.
2019 & The 3 Month Peak
The first 3 months of not drinking were the hardest although after I crossed that 3-month hump, all the benefits started really kicking in and the pace was set for the rest of the year.
For anyone thinking of taking an extended period of time off the booze I would say go for 3 months or longer. The first 2-4 weeks will be the hardest but you need to remember it’s just a mental game and you have the power to make the decisions.
Try setting up a trigger point that will allow you to easily engage that mental power. I actually didn’t have a trigger but because I’d been practicing meditation and mindfulness for years I was easily able to bring my awareness into the present moment.
When I was tempted by a beer I made the mental switch to the present moment and reminded myself of the commitment I had made to myself which was far more important than the temporary joy a beer would have brought.
Once you get past that first couple of months you will really start to see increased energy levels and increased mental clarity and that will just snowball on after the third month.
I found that with each extra month off the grog my momentum was building and I was actually less and less tempted by alcohol because of how elevated my state was.
About 6 months in, I came up with a crazy idea to cycle a solar-powered electric bike around Australia and hold community events that were focussed on regenerating our environment here in Australia and connecting Australians with one another.
My work in 2019 was mostly running environmental community events so it seemed like a natural progression, a great way to see the country and do a bit of traveling without having to fly abroad.
Having so much extra energy and mental clarity really allowed me to explore this gnarly idea and I spent the back end of 2019 laying the foundations for this epic trip which would be called…
The Big Bike Ride
Essentially the ride was born out of an energetic year off the grog and it was planned to be a positive environmental impact tour of Australia on a solar-powered electric bicycle that’s focus was on regenerating and connecting with country through traditional and modern methods.
The way that I planned to facilitate this process was by sharing time with Australians at community activations where we would focus on current environmental solutions and the importance of the connection between humans, indigenous and non-indigenous, as well as our natural environment.
COVID – 19 Handbrakies
Come March 2020, when I was supposed to leave on the bike ride, corona virus really started to kick in and the universe pulled a big hand brake on my plans.
It’s been a tough year for everyone I think but for me personally, it’s allowed me to focus on my ability to adapt, be resilient and practice regeneration as opposed to just preaching it. I was lucky enough to get out of Sydney and land myself on an organic farm on the Sunshine Coast where I’ve been learning the art of managing land and crops.
And about the beers?
I’m back on ‘em. The first one after not drinking for the whole year was super tasty. It was a Kosciuszko Pale Ale. The year off was massive for me in that it fully reset my relationship with alchohol. I now view it and am able to manage my consumption of it much better than before.
I’m not perfect though, I’ve had one blinder since I started again and that hangover was just as bad as I remember ’em.
Before I stopped I was experiencing these hangovers way more than was good for me and now that I’ve readjusted my drinking habits I feel a lot lighter mentally.
If you’re doing a year off the booze I salute you. Go for it. You won’t regret it and you can do it!