Do you worry you drink too much? Can't help yourself? Prefer being sober? Drinking alcohol is a normal part of life, isn't it? It is usual for thirty-somethings to collapse in the evening with a glass or two of something sophisticated to diffuse the stress of the day and calm their buzzing brains, whether they be professionals, mothers, wives or homemakers. Rachel was no different. She juggled her many roles and responsibilities well and rewarded herself with wine at the end of each day; after all, she deserved it. But, gradually her wine intake began to increase each night and soon it had gone from being a little treat to an absolute necessity. As wine invaded more and more areas of her life, it became harder to cope. In turn it meant she drank more wine, firmly believing it was the cure, never considering for a moment that it could be the problem.
Eventually, when wine was dictating everything she did and did not do, Rachel realised that something had to change. However, as soon as she attempted to restrict or moderate her drinking, she seemed to want it even more. Her best intentions fell quickly by the way side after the first bottle was opened and the first drink took control, compelling her to have more. Drinking would continue until there was none left or Rachel 'fell asleep'.
The following day consisted of a hangover, depression, overeating, remorse, worry, despair and self-hatred, until the time came around when the next bottle could be opened and these awful feelings could be blotted out. This pattern of trying and failing to control her wine drinking brought Rachel to acknowledge that it was not possible to do so, and she decided that she had to remove alcohol from her life forever. Despite being sick and tired of the drinking-hangover-drinking cycle of failure, giving up was not easy and it was only after a few more failed attempts that Rachel managed to do so.
This book details her life in that first year of going alcohol-free. It describes in detail how her everyday pursuits became challenging and changing. Her outlook on the whole point of life turned on its axis when alcohol was removed, leaving her with a whole different sense of self and being. The changes that occurred were astounding and beyond anything she believed could be possible. She thought that removing alcohol from her life was all about giving up; she had never considered what she might gain.