READER REPORT:

Why I quit drinking at 19

CHLOé MILNE
Last updated 10:35 03/11/2014
Water
123rf.com

ALCOHOL-FREE: Chloe says giving up alcohol left a huge void that she's filled with other passions.

Does NZ need an alcohol overhaul?

Share your stories, photos and videos.

Related Links

Does NZ need an alcohol overhaul? Share your news and views

Relevant offers

Share your news and views

The job market is cruel to graduates The real cost of curtailing free speech Abortion: A tragic response to lack of choice Want equality? Curtail free speech I'm 18 - stop asking me if I want kids My anxiety is called Walter Too many fish in the sea: Why dating apps have ruined dating Poor team unity undoing the Wellington Phoenix Breaking free from my Facebook addiction Christchurch's cathedral conundrum continues

I don't often talk about my five-year long sobriety, but after almost being attacked by a man with a steel baseball bat last night near my East London apartment, I thought it was about time to answer the most frequent question I'm asked on a night out: "Why don't you drink?"

I initially gave up drinking for health reasons. I had an unrelated illness and decided to detox for a couple of months. Before I knew it, eight months had passed, and it hit me one day - my life was now so much happier, healthier and more fulfilling.

I was studying law at Canterbury University at the time and up until then my life had revolved around drinking. Any time I wasn't studying I was drinking, or talking about drinking, or hungover from drinking.

The lack of alcohol in my life left a huge void that I started to fill with interesting and fulfilling things. I picked up my passions again. I started writing and within a couple of months became a columnist. I picked up flying lessons that had previously seemed too hard to accomplish and within a year I became a private pilot.

I celebrated my 21st birthday by flying the length of New Zealand landing at 21 airports - something that was much more fulfilling than downing 21 shots.

I also reignited my passion for travel and have since visited 12 different countries, including living in New York City for a year with a dream job at a digital design firm.

Now I live in East London and work for a creative agency and it was here in East London where I was reminded of another good reason why I don't drink - safety.

I was walking home with my housemates from a party in a very quiet area. I was aware it wouldn't be safe to walk alone there, so I had waited for them to leave so we would all walk together. Even so, a menacing man with a metal baseball bat, who had two accomplices, began following us.

By some miracle, a police car was driving past moments later and because I was sober and aware, I was able to run (from behind a car where I was now hiding) and tell them about the man who was now running away with the bat.

I do feel somewhat secure in the knowledge that I was able to assess the situation and would probably have been able to run away and get help if the police hadn't fortuitously arrived. If I was under the influence I'm not so sure.

Ad Feedback

It feels great to have control over your own life. Since I quit drinking I only do things I actually want to do. No artificial fun.

I get my highs naturally from success, adrenaline activities and my passions. My life has been completely renewed; it's hard for me to imagine why anyone would want to drink.

So when I'm asked that oft-asked question, I'm always tempted to ask the never asked question: "Why do you drink?"


View all contributions

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content