'I had debilitating anxiety for a decade. Until I did this one thing.'

There are plenty of things about pregnancy I didn't love. Needing to wee all the time. Going up a shoe size. Having nipples so big you could find them in the dark. But there was one unexpected upside: When I stopped drinking while I was pregnant, my crippling anxiety evaporated. Poof! It was gone.

I didn't lay in bed at night with insomnia, replaying my worst moments and biggest failures at three in the morning. I no longer beat myself up about that stupid thing I'd said at dinner after half a dozen drinks. I wasn't worried about whether or not a mate was mad at me.

Image: Supplied.

Was it hormones? A coincidence? Or was it the fact I'd given up booze for the first time in over a decade?

A pregnant pause.

You see, before embarking on motherhood, I was what you'd call a 'default drinker.' If someone offered me a glass of rosé, it was an automatic yes, without a second thought about whether I truly wanted it or how it might make me feel later.


Like many of us, my relationship with alcohol started at a young age, around 16, and it quickly became a fixture in my life. Growing up in a family where a glass of Shiraz with dinner was the norm, it seemed natural to jump on the bandwagon into my university years and beyond. I cracked open a bottle regularly, relishing the confidence and connection it seemed to offer.

However, as the years went by, it seemed to do more harm than good. Sure, it eased my social anxiety, but it also had its downsides. I found myself making regrettable decisions, saying things I later wished I hadn't, and waking up with a sense of shame and anxiety that lingered far longer than the hangover.

Image: Supplied.

When I was diagnosed with clinical anxiety at the age of 21, I experimented with medication, therapies and habits along the way, yet in over a decade, not one health professional suggested alcohol might be contributing to how I felt.

Instead of blaming the booze, I blamed myself, convinced that others could handle alcohol better than I could. It wasn't until later, when forced into this sober state during pregnancy, that I began to question the role alcohol played. After the birth of my first baby, I went back to pouring a glass of red once bedtime was done and dusted, only to have the anxiety return. 

It wasn't until after the birth of my second child that I decided to give alcohol a break, with my anxious brain returning to calm. No dread. No angst. No catastrophising. No over-analysing. It couldn't be a coincidence.

Watch: When your work wife says they're going to stop drinking alcohol. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Saying 'bye for now' to the bottle.

It wasn't an easy transition, and I grappled with fears of losing my identity as the 'fun' party girl. But as I embarked on what was meant to be a temporary break from alcohol, I discovered a sense of freedom and empowerment that I hadn't known before. What started as a short hiatus turned into a year and a half of saying 'no thanks', during which I realised that I didn't need alcohol to have fun or feel connected to others.


Today, I embrace a healthier relationship with alcohol, one where I have the power to choose when and how much I consume. I've learned that true connection and enjoyment come from within, not from sharing a bottle of bubbly. And while I still indulge occasionally, it's on my own terms, without the pressure. I've opted out as my default, instead of opting in. 

If you find yourself relying on a cold glass of savvy b to have a good time or bounce back after a bad day, consider taking a break. It doesn't have to be forever, it can just be a little booze break that gives you a few handy insights into your drinking habits and their impact on your life. You might be surprised by how good you feel.

Keen to drink less but not sure how? This easy-to-listen-to audio guide is designed to help you have a healthier relationship with booze.

Dietitian and best-selling author Lyndi Cohen would rather count happy memories than almonds. As the founder of the Back to Basics App and Keep It Real, an online program for ending binge and emotional eating, Lyndi offers serviceable expert advice without the wellness wankery. 

She also has a loyal Instagram following @nude_nutritionist where she regularly serves up Photoshop-free body love, recipes, health tips and more. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

Do love easy and simple skincare? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.