This week I reached 6 months alcohol free, and it’s perfect that it falls on International Women’s Day, as I truly have my menstrual cycle to thank for my success!

You see I didn’t use AA, counselling, regular blogging or medication (all excellent support tools that I have attempted before. This time I just pulled out my charting tool and started.

Drinking was a big thing for me. I have tried to stop before, but always returned to alcohol within a few months. This time there was no dramatic incident where I woke up the next morning dreading the day. This time it was just a few signs that showed it was getting out of control. I did a quiz one day and realised I was consuming on average around 55 units of alcohol a week! But the moment I stopped was when I was sitting in a park, waiting to go on an amazing life changing retreat… and joined a local lady who was having a beer….at 10am.

Looking back alcohol has impacted my life hugely, I have changed jobs and roles at places I really have loved, I have been overlooked for opportunities as I look like I have too much on. But truthfully it was just the alcohol was holding me back.

6 months later, I am more confident, more effective, less anxious and more positive. And a few physical changes have helped, the usual better skin, brighter skin and eyes and I’ve lost 5 kilos.

So how?

I knew my cycle impacted my life, so I wanted to use my cycle to support me through this huge challenge. I downloaded some of my charts (literally I did this!), popped them in a folder beside my bed and started to chart.

The first month of charting I really focused on how I was feeling. I charted my cravings, when I was really craving a drink and when I wanted sugar or chocolate instead. I also charted my emotions, I charted the days I was feeling amazing and positive, frustrated and moody and days I was a down right bitch about it (believe me there was a few of those!).

The second month I continued to chart this information, but I really started to listen to my body and energy levels, when I was waking up feeling great and days that I didn’t feel that crash hot.

You see giving up alcohol is the simple task of stopping and you feel brilliant. You have times when you body has moments where you wonder why you are stopping at all. And this was strongly influenced by where I was in my cycle.

By month 3 I could see the patterns, I was feeling great days 5 to 10, not really needed the booze, feeling strong and determined and focusing on things I really wanted to get done. I noticed an increase in my cravings around ovulation (days 12 to 14) a time when the body is feeling spectacular and is looking for a bit of a reward. Days 18 to 27 I really noticed how charting was helping me. I had days when I was cool, calm and collected and days when I could smash down a litre bottle of chardy.

Charting supported me in a way I truly never thought possible. It allowed me to download my thoughts, process how I was feeling and prepare myself for what I knew was coming each day.

At 6 months in, I can honestly say I don’t think I will ever drink again. I feel amazing, my body is healing from the inside, I am treating myself with love and respect and my family, my friends and I are all reaping the benefits.

If charting can do this more me, I wonder what you would like to challenge you cycle to help you with?